Stephen Troskey, AICP
Iowa law is very clear about when the public must be given a chance to speak during Planning Commission items. When participation is required the meeting item is called a Public Hearing. When a public body meets to discuss regular business but the public is not mandated by law to have an opportunity to speak, it is called simply a Public Meeting.
The standards on how to run a Public Hearing are specified in Iowa State law. Make sure your Commission knows the requirements, including:
- A vote to open the Hearing
- A chance for the public members to speak
- A vote to close the Hearing
- The actual vote on the agenda item
Unlike typical municipal public hearings that require notice in the newspaper 4 to 20 days prior to the hearing, public hearings related to zoning regulations or zoning district boundaries require the notice in the newspaper to be published 7 to 20 days in advance of the public hearing.
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