Public Hearing Procedures

Before the Hearing
  • If you have questions about an item on the agenda, feel free to contact the Planning and Development Services Department prior to the hearing. Knowing the answers to some of your questions in advance may help you prepare your testimony.
  • Plan your presentation. It is not necessary, but if you have handouts or a long document you can save time by making it available to the Planning Commission Clerk at least 14 days before the public hearing. That way it can be made available to the members of the Planning Commission in their meeting packets, which they read prior to the hearings.
  • Sign the speaker list at the entrance to the hearing room.
At the Hearing
  • Plan on introducing yourself, giving your name and address, and stating whether you are in favor or against the proposal. For example: "I’m John Doppler, my address is 101 Acoustic Way, Everett, WA, 98201 and I approve of this proposal for the following reasons..." If you are officially representing a group such as the Audubon Society, Chamber of Commerce, homeowner’s association or others, state that for the record as well.
  • To ensure that everyone who wants to testify is able to, the chair usually limits oral testimony to three minutes. As a result, you should organize your comments so that the major points are clear and concise. You may want to make a statement such as "I agree with the previous speaker(s)," and then elaborate on any new or additional information you want to provide. Another time saving measure is to mention that you represent others, and then ask everyone in your group to stand.
  • Since part of the official record of the hearing is a taped recording, ensure that you are adequately heard by adjusting the microphone to your height and speaking directly into it.
Decorum
  • The Planning Commission understands that hearings about plans that could impact your property or way-of-life can be very emotional. However, a hearing should be a civil proceeding and it is inappropriate to cheer, boo, or applaud while a speaker has the floor. Citizens of Snohomish County won’t always agree on an issue, but can make an effort to respect the public hearing process where all viewpoints can be heard.
  • All comments should be addressed to the chair. Questioning and arguing between individuals in the audience is not only inappropriate, it is a less than effective way to make a case to support your views on an issue.
  • Refrain from reading long documents that can just as easily be submitted in advance and made a part of the record. Summarize your comments wherever possible and avoid repeating prior testimony.
  • Thank you for helping make the public hearing process successful for everyone by following these simple rules.