Public Safety Building housing Council Chambers, Yelm
* City of Yelm holds Public Hearing on Comprehensive Plan Update
* Tuesday, January 10th at 6PM, City Council Chambers
* Public notice posted during holiday week, then only 1 week after that for hearing
* Harding-era policies of public hearings’ short lead times omitted public interests
* The days of “Old Guard” councilors voting in lockstep to stifle public discourse are over
* Time to change this procedure to “foster” a healthy public exchange in Yelm
– From the City of Yelm Community Development Dept.
Public Hearing – Comprehensive Plan Update
January 10th at 6 PM
City Council Chambers – Public Safety Building
In the spring of 2015, the Yelm Planning Commission presented to the public the proposed City of Yelm Comprehensive Plan update. Since that time, comments have been received from the public, local stakeholders, and three State, and one Federal agency. The Planning Commission has incorporated public comments and recommended approval of the Plan to the Yelm City Council.
The Yelm City Council will be holding a Public Hearing on the Plan at 6:00 p.m., January 10, 2017, at the Yelm Public Safety Building, 206 McKenzie Street SE.
If you have any further questions, please contact me at email@example.com. Comments may also be submitted through the website at http://www.ci.yelm.wa.us/comprehensive_plan.
Read more from Tami Merriman, Associate Planner, City of Yelm.
– About the Comprehensive Plan
“The Yelm Planning Commission has finished its review of the Comprehensive Plan and has recommneded the City Council adopt the plan.
The Plan establishes the vision for the ongoing and future development of Yelm. The required update is an opportunity to make sure the Plan continues to reflect the vision of the community, and was last updated in 2009,” quoting the City of Yelm website.
– Editor’s Note
So the City of Yelm posted the Comprehensive Plan Update information on the city’s website on Wednesday, December 28, 2016, then sent an e-mail of this to “Commenter’s, Stakeholders, and Interested Parties” on Friday, December 30, 2016, the very eve of a three day holiday weekend, and during a week when many have off and are away on holiday. While I so appreciate the difficult position and challenges of Associate Planner Merriman, as usual, the City of Yelm expects the public to read and digest this information within a week after that holiday weekend when they return to work Jan. 3rd, and then comment to the Council on the 10th.
I have a comment for the city – this is not in the public’s interest. No wonder there has been such lack of participation in Public Hearings here for so many years.
The public “gets it” that such procedures were designed in the Harding era to omit and/or limit public interactions. Harding knew the public would not even know about the Comp. Plan in such a short length of time and then not comment, stifling public participation. Plus “The Old Guard” councilors formerly voting in lockstep with Harding’s Agenda led to suffocating dissent here. As an example on this Comp. Plan Public Hearing, there would only be one notice in the newspaper of record about this public hearing between Dec. 28th and January 10th. And the City of Yelm does this with the Budget hearing every Fall, annually holding the first budget public hearing the 1st Tuesday in November and expecting the public to read, dissect, and comment by the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving when most are leaving for the holiday. Even city councilors have stated on-the-record this is too short of a time for even them to understand, much less, pass the budget.
Oh, and interestingly, the Yelm City Council has on their Agenda to vote to approve an ordinance directly at the close of the Public Hearing, with no time for them to digest, pause and contemplate the comments, another Harding-era left-over.
I certainly hope Interim Mayor Foster, the Yelm City Council, and new City Administrator Grayum see the folly of this kind of timeline, which is anathema to openness in government, transparency, and fostering a healthy public exchange.