Friday, February 8, 2008

The Planning Commission

Thanks to BenJoe Markland for posting a comment and asking "What does the Planning Commission discuss?" So with that introduction I'll do my best to explain the Planning Commission and what they do.

Who serves on the Planning Commission?

The South Ogden Planning Commission consists of seven members who are all appointed by the Mayor with advice and consent of the City Council. It is important to understand this distinction because they are not elected officials. Therefore their role is substantially different than the City Council.

What issues do the Planning Commission discuss?

The Planning Commission mainly deals with land use issues. This ranges from subdivision approvals, amendments to the General Plan or Zoning Ordinance, annexations, non-conforming uses, etc.

How are they different from the City Council?

Their main function is to be an advisory body to the City Council. Most decisions that the Planning Commission make are sent to the City Council as a "recommendation". The City Council then has final say as the legislative body of the city. If the issue is minor in nature i.e. a conditional use permit then the issue does not go before the City Council.

When do they meet?

Our Planning Commission meets on the second Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. in the South Ogden Council Chambers at City Hall.

Is the public invited to attend?

YES. This is an open government meeting. Their agendas are posted at City Hall and in the Standard-Examiner.

Can the public participate?

Often times agenda items require a public hearing. The public is allowed to speak at that time.

Does the Planning Commission have an advisor?

The Planning Commission is advised by a professional city planner. The planner for South Ogden is Ken Jones. Ken will put all the information together including his recommendation to the Planning Commission on each agenda item.

Can you walk us through a typical Planning Commission issue?

Let's say a developer wants to put in a commercial building. They make application with the city and then the plans are sent to the City Planner. The Planner reviews the plans and makes his recommendations of changes that might be needed. The plans are also reviewed by other city departments as needed.

The City Planner makes a recommendation to the Planning Commission on the site plan. The Planning Commission will review the site plan and possibly make additional changes as they think necessary. This could include the look of building, the parking requirements, ingress and egress, landscaping etc. They can grant preliminary approval to the developer pending the requested changes.

Once the developer makes the changes necessary then final approval is granted and the site plan is approved for development.

I hope all this information helps as the Planning Commission is an important function of any city. If you have any further questions then post a comment or send me a email and I'll do my best to answer them.