§ 5. Meeting Procedures  


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  • A. Appearances. An applicant may appear in person at the meeting or may be represented by an attorney or by a duly authorized agent having a power of attorney. Any reference herein to the term "applicant" shall be deemed to be inclusive of applicant's attorney or authorized agent. In the event that the applicant fails to appear as scheduled before the Commission and has not requested a postponement, the Commission shall have the right to continue the matter to the next regularly scheduled meeting or proceed to make a decision on the application. All persons wishing to appear before the Commission shall sign in on a sheet or on speakers cards provided by the Secretary and located at the entrance to the meeting room. The Commission shall have the right to exclude testimony of anyone who has failed to sign in at the meeting.

    B. Ex Parte Communication. Commission members may discuss procedural matters related to the Commission with members of the public outside of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission. Furthermore, Commission members may discuss broad policy matters before the Commission with members of the public outside of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission. Commission members are discouraged from discussing the merits of any specific application pending before the Commission with the public or the applicant outside of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission. Applicants should be discouraged from discussing the merits of any application with any Commission member outside of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission.

    C. Criminal Attempts. A Commission member shall immediately report to the City Solicitor any instances or attempts of bribery, intimidation, retaliation or obstruction of official business (as those terms are defined by Chapter 29 of the Ohio Revised Code), or any other instances or attempts of influence by an applicant or any other party.

    D. Oath. All persons providing testimony before the Commission (i.e. on matters subject to review by the Zoning Board of Appeals) shall be sworn by the Chair at the beginning of the meeting or prior to testifying. Persons providing public comment before the Commission (i.e. on recommendations to City Council) need not be sworn. An attorney shall not be sworn by the Chair unless the attorney is acting as a witness or providing testimony rather than acting as an advocate and providing argument.

    E. Decorum. It shall be the duty of the Chair to maintain decorum at all times during the meeting. Prior to testifying at a Commission meeting, all persons appearing before the Commission shall clearly state their first and last name and their personal address or business address for the record. All speakers shall speak clearly into the microphone provided on the speakers table or podium and shall refrain from speaking over other parties. No one shall be permitted to speak from the audience. The Chair shall have the right to expel from a meeting any person exhibiting a lack of decorum or causing disruptive or combative behavior.

    E.[F.] Meeting Procedure. The order of business of a regularly scheduled meeting shall be as follows:

    1. The Chair shall call the item being considered in the order set forth on the Agenda.

    2. Staff from the Department of City Planning and Buildings shall present their staff report to the Commission. Staff's presentation shall be no longer than three (3) minutes and may include a brief PowerPoint presentation. The use of additional written handouts are discouraged unless necessary to evidence a change to a document which was included with the Agenda that was provided to the Commission.

    3. The Chair shall next ask whether the Commission members have any questions of staff.

    4. The Chair shall next ask the applicant, if any, if they would like to make a statement. The time limit for applicant's statement shall be a total of three (3) minutes. If there is more than one applicant, then the applicants may determine the length of time each appellant will have to present their arguments; otherwise, the Chair, in his or her discretion, will divide the allotted time evenly between or among the applicants. Upon the expiration of the above referenced allotted time limits, the Chair, in his or her discretion, may grant a time extension. The Chair may entertain discussion and input from the other Commission members regarding any time extension.

    5. After an applicant's presentation, the Chair will next ask those Commission members present whether they have any questions of the applicant.

    6. The Chair shall next determine whether there is any party or any parties who wish to speak on an item. If so, each party shall have a total of three (3) minutes to present their statement. If there is more than one party speaking on an item, such parties may determine the length of time each party will have to present their statements; otherwise, the Chair, in his or her discretion, will divide the allotted time evenly between or among the parties. In the event that a group attends the meeting who wishes to address a matter before the Commission, the Chair may request that one (1) spokesperson from the group address the Commission. The Chair, in his or her discretion, may grant one (1) extension of a combined total of three (3) minutes for any parties to present their position. The Chair may entertain discussion and input from the other Commission members regarding any time extension. Commission members may interrupt any speaker to ask questions or to make any comments; provided, however, the time for such interruptions shall not be deducted from the time limitations set forth above.

    7. The Chair will then entertain a motion. All motions shall be stated clearly and shall list any proposed conditions. All motions require a second by another member of the Commission to be eligible for a vote.

    8. If a motion is eligible for a vote of the Commission, the Chair shall request a vote in accordance with the rules set forth herein. If a motion is not seconded and is not eligible for a vote of the Commission, the Chair shall entertain further discussion of the Commission until a motion is made and seconded.

    F.[G.] Hearing Procedure. In cases where an appeal from a decision of the Commission may be made to the Zoning Board of Appeals, the order of business shall be as follows:

    a. Planning staff shall have a total of ten (10) minutes to present any advice or recommendations provided by any other body or by staff. The Commission may ask questions of planning staff. Planning staff will not be providing sworn testimony and shall not be subject to cross examination.

    b. Applicant shall present its application. The time limit for applicant to present its application shall be a total of forty-five (45) minutes, including any opening statement. If there is more than one applicant, each applicant shall determine the length of time each will have to present their arguments and testimony within the aforementioned time limit; otherwise, the Chair, in his or her discretion, shall divide the allotted time between or among the applicants. Upon the expiration of the allotted time for an applicant to present its application, the Chair, in his or her discretion, may grant one (1) extension of a combined total of fifteen (15) minutes for an applicant to present its application. The Chair may entertain discussion and input from the other Commission members regarding any time extension.

    c. If there are unrepresented persons in attendance in favor of the application, the Chair shall allow two (2) minutes for each such person to testify until all such persons have testified. The Chair reserves the right to cut off such testimony at any time in his or her discretion. Any Commission member may also move to cut off such testimony at any time.

    d. Counsel for any group or person opposed to the application shall have a combined total of thirty (30) minutes to undertake cross-examination of any person who has testified in favor of the application. The scope of such cross-examination shall be limited to testimony taken at the hearing or in a prior proceeding.

    e. Any group or person represented by counsel shall have a combined total of forty-five (45) minutes to present their arguments and testimony, including any opening statement. If there is more than one represented group or person opposing an application, each shall determine the length of time each will have to present their arguments and testimony within the aforementioned time limit; otherwise, the Chair, in his or her discretion, shall split the allotted time evenly between or among them. The Chair, in his or her discretion, may grant one (1) extension of a combined total of fifteen (15) minutes for any organized or represented persons to present their arguments and testimony in opposition. The Chair may entertain discussion and input from the other Commission members regarding any time extension.

    f. If there are unrepresented persons in attendance who oppose the application, the Chair shall allow two (2) minutes for each such person to testify until all such persons have testified. The Chair reserves the right to cut off such testimony at any time in his or her discretion. Any Commission member may also move to cut off such testimony at any time.

    g. Counsel for the applicant shall have a combined total of thirty (30) minutes to undertake cross-examination of any person who has testified in opposition to the application. The scope of an applicant's cross-examination shall be limited to testimony taken at the hearing or in a prior proceeding.

    h. The applicant shall then have the right to present rebuttal argument or testimony for a total of fifteen (15) minutes.

    i. Applicant's counsel and counsel for any opposing group or person shall have a total of five (5) minutes each to make a closing statement. Applicant's closing statement shall follow the any closing statement by counsel for any opposing group or person.

    j. After all presentations have been made on the application, the Commission may entertain a motion to deliberate on or off the record, a motion for a determination of the outcome of the appeal, a motion to continue the hearing, or such other action as permitted by applicable law.

    k. The Commission may interrupt any speaker to ask questions or to make any comments; provided, however, the time for such interruptions shall not be deducted from the time limitations set forth above.

    l. Proof shall be established by a preponderance of the evidence. All interested and proper parties may present competent and relevant evidence before the Commission. The Commission seeks facts, not opinions, and those facts shall have a direct bearing on the particular issue(s) before the Commission. The Chair may limit or exclude any testimony that the Chair deems, in the Chair's discretion, does not have any tendency to prove or disprove any issue in the case before the Commission and is irrelevant.

    G.[H.] Parliamentary Rules. The Commission shall follow rules and procedures set forth herein in the conduct of its meetings. Where these rules and procedures are silent, the Chair may apply Roberts' Rules of Order.