Consider the following things in order to be successful in presenting to a planning commission.
The planning system exists to ensure that all development is in the public interest. Planning proposals are reviewed against local and state laws and often require presentation before a planning commission and city council. The application and planning commission meeting are part of the initial steps to getting your project approved. A good recommendation from the planning commission sets you up for an effective city council meeting. Consider the following things in order to be successful in presenting to a planning commission.
Know your facts
First, you need to know your project and proposal. Planning commissions need to know the facts and particularly any facts that directly touch on local codes or ordinances. You need to show how your proposal fits within the current system, whether it is a new development, redevelopment, a conditional use, etc.
Know the criteria for approval
Next you need to know the process and criteria the planning commission uses in reviewing your proposal. The Utah League of Cities and Towns has compiled several checklists for planning commissions to review when considering various land use proposals and actions. It would be helpful to review the checklists that are applicable to your proposal, which will ensure that you cover all the necessary points in your presentation.
Prepare well before the meeting. Planning commissions will take the opportunity to ask questions that are not answered. So prepare your presentation to be concise and comprehensive so that you leave the commission time for questions. When those questions come, you will be ready because you know the facts and you know how they fit into the laws and ordinances that govern the commission. Effectively answering questions, giving the commission the right facts, and pointing out how your proposal fits within the public interest will not only help to persuade the commission to recommend your proposal, but your preparation and presentation will help the commission in preparing their report to the city council. The better informed you help them be, the more beneficial it will be for your future meetings.
Local government meetings have the ability to dramatically impact communities and cities. If your proposal is met with heavy opposition, you will suffer a long process of persuasion, amendments, and struggle. Before going to the planning commission, talk to your neighbors (residential and commercial), post some flyers, and gain support in written form. Even ask some to attend the meeting to express their support in person. Having more people on your side increases the viewpoint that your proposal is in the public interest and will benefit the community. If you are considering a project, or are preparing a proposal for your local planning commission, consider contacting a land use attorney who can help you prepare your proposal, and even help present it to the commission for you. Attorneys are trained to think quickly on their feet and know their case in and out. They have the ability to clearly explain the facts of your project and show how they fit within the local law. These qualities work very well when presenting your project to the local authorities for approval.
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