ARTICLE III


ST. TAMMANY PARISH     PLANNING COMMISSION


EDITORIAL NOTE: Sections 18-036.00 through 18-036.12 repealed and replaced by Section 18-036.00 through 18-036.16 under the authority of Ord. No.04-0880, adopted 05/06/2004.

SEC.

18-036.00 Planning Commission Membership


     A. The membership shall be composed of eleven (11) members.

     B. The Parish President shall have the unilateral and exclusive right to nominate and appoint two (2) members to be considered At-Large members. These exclusive appointments by the Parish President do not require action by resolution or ordinance.

    C. The Parish Council, by resolution, shall have the unilateral and exclusive right to nominate and appoint nine (9) members.

    D. Any member who fails to appear at two (2) consecutive Planning Commission meetings shall be automatically removed. Members appointed by the Parish Council may also be removed at any time, with or without cause, by a majority vote of the Parish Council.

    E. Any vacancy created herein, and as specifically to the nine (9) Parish Council appointments, shall be filled by Council resolution.


    F. Any vacancy created by the death, resignation or replacement of an at-large member may be filled unilaterally and exclusively by the Parish President at any time.

    G. Terms of all Planning Commission members shall be concurrent with the terms of office of the Parish President and Parish Council.

    H. Planning Commission members shall receive a per diem of FIFTY DOLLARS ($50.00) for each meeting of the commission attended, for a maximum of twenty-four (24) meetings per year.

    I. No member shall run for or hold an elected public office while seated as a Planning Commissioner.

    J. Each person newly appointed and serving on the Planning Commission shall receive at least four (4) hours of continuing education credits. Each year thereafter, the Commissioner shall attend the mandatory four (4) hour training sessions provided by the St. Tammany Parish Government. Should a Commissioner be unable to attend the mandatory training session, that Commissioner will not take part in Commission functions until the training requirement has been met. Should the Parish sponsored training session not be available, an alternative training session as determined by the Director of Planning with concurrence of the Parish President and Chairman of the Parish Council may be substituted.

Sec.

18-036.01    Chairman and Vice-chairman



    A.     At the first regular meeting of each calendar year, the members of the Commission shall elect one of their number as Chairman and one of their number as Vice- Chairman, and the terms shall commence at that meeting.
    
    B.     In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman shall act as Chair and shall have all the powers of the Chairman.
    
    C.     In the absence of both the Chairman and the Vice Chairman, a quorum of the Commission may select an additional member to preside over the meeting.

     D.     The Chairman may appoint committees, comprised of members of the Commission, as well as other persons, to serve the Commission as deemed necessary.
    
     E.     The Chairman may engage in discussion and vote in the same manner as any other member of the Commission. If the Chairman does not declare a vote, it is assumed that the Chairman has voted with the majority.

    F.     The Chairman may suggest motions but may neither make nor second motions.

Sec.

18-036.02 Secretary


    A.     The Director of the Department of Planning, or his designated representative, shall serve as the Secretary to the Commission.

    B.     The Secretary shall keep the minutes of the proceedings of the Commission, and maintain all records of the Commission meeting, hearings and proceedings. The minutes shall show the vote of each member upon each question, or if absent or failing

to vote, indicating that fact. A copy of the minutes and actions of the Commission shall be filed with the Parish Council.

    C.     The Secretary shall provide notices of hearings and meetings as may be required by law, and shall prepare all agendas.

    D.     The Secretary shall receive, determine the completeness of, and review all applications.

    E.     The Secretary shall serve as the point of contact for all applicants, and shall collect and compile information and report recommendations to the Commission. Said recommendation shall be considered and ruled upon by the Commission following the required public hearing.

Sec.

18-036.03 Planning Staff


    The staff of the Department of Planning shall serve as the support staff of the Commission and may be called upon to provide assistance in the performance of the duties of the Commission by the Chairman for the entire Commission or upon the request of any member of the Commission. Staff members shall also be designated as needed from the Department of Engineering and the Department of Environmental Services.

Sec.

18-036.04 Powers and Duties


    The Commission shall have the following powers and duties:

    A.     To hear, review and propose amendments to the adopted St. Tammany Parish Subdivision Regulatory Ordinance No. 499, as amended;

    B.     To hear, review and approve or disapprove all plats of subdivision, as required in the St. Tammany Parish Subdivision Regulatory Ordinance No. 499, as amended. No plat of a subdivision of land within St. Tammany Parish, or a part thereof, shall be filed or recorded until it has been approved by the Planning Commission and the approval entered in writing on the plat bearing the signatures of the Planning Commission Chairman, Secretary and Parish Engineer.

    C.     To adopt a master or comprehensive plan or elements thereof, including graphics, narrative description and policies to guide and accomplish the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious development of St. Tammany Parish;

    D.     To make careful and comprehensive surveys and studies of present and future growth of St. Tammany Parish and to make periodic reviews and updates to the master plan or comprehensive plan or portions thereof;

    E.     To review and report on any matter referred to it by the Parish President or the Parish Council (i.e. Transportation Improvement Plan, Capital Improvement Program).

    F.     To make its special knowledge and expertise as a Commission available, upon reasonable written request to any official, department or board.

    G.     To exercise all of the powers and duties conferred by Louisiana Revised Statutes 33:102 through 33:119 inclusive, where applicable.



Sec.

18-036.05 Parish Council As Final Authority on Appeal


    Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a decision of the Parish Planning Commission, except an approval in final subdivision review, may appeal to the Parish Council, through the Parish Department of Planning, in written form within ten (10) days following the Commission's hearing. The appeal may be heard by the Parish Council at its next regularly scheduled meeting following the ten-day appeal period. The Parish Council shall have the exclusive right to overturn any Planning Commission decision by a majority vote of the membership of the Parish Council, with the exception of overturning a Planning Commission denial in subdivision review which shall require a 2/3 vote of the membership of the Parish Council.

Sec.

18-036.06 Quorum and Necessary Vote


    A.     No business shall be conducted by the Commission without a quorum being present. Unless otherwise herein specified, a quorum shall consist of six (6) members.

    B.     To constitute final action on any matter before it, a majority vote of the membership of the Commission is required.

Sec.

18-036.07 Meetings, Hearings, and Procedures


    A.     The regular Planning Commission Meeting shall be held at 6:00 P.M. on the second Tuesday of each month at the St. Tammany Parish Administrative Complex, except where holidays or other conflicts shall require rescheduling.

     B.     Special Meetings may be called by the Chairman, or at the request in writing of any six (6) members of the Commission, subject to proper legal notice.

    C.     All meetings shall be open to the public and shall be conducted in accordance with State Open Meetings Laws and these Rules of Policy and Procedure.

    D.     The Commission shall sit only as a Planning Commission for all Planning applications authorized by St. Tammany Parish Subdivision Regulatory Ordinance No. 499.

    E.     If necessary, the Planning Commission and the Zoning Commission may meet on the same day. Separate agendas must be maintained for each Commission. If both meetings are held on the same day, one meeting must adjourn before the second is commenced.

    F.     The Agenda for hearings and meetings of the Commission shall be prepared by the Secretary with the approval of the Chair.

    G.     Matters that have arisen subsequent to the established filing deadline may be placed on the next appropriate Commission meeting agenda by the Chairman provided that the request is made to the Secretary prior to the deadline for final legal notice of the meeting and that all other requirements for legal notification have been met.

    H.     The agenda shall constitute the fixed order of business for the particular public hearing or meeting, and items shall be considered in the order of their appearance on the Agenda.


    I.     The Chair, without objection from the Commission, may arrange individual items on the particular Agenda if necessary for the expeditious conduct of business, however, items shall not be transferred from one Agenda to another

    J.     Applications for amendments to the Subdivision Regulatory Ordinance No. 499 or developmental reviews under these ordinances shall not be considered by the Commission unless properly and completely filed for placement on the Agenda with the Secretary, in accordance with the applicable filing procedures and provisions for public notice and the filing deadlines established herein.

    K.     Other items of business (discussion items) not requiring action by the Commission may be introduced under “Approval of the Agenda” and placed on the Agenda under “Discussion Items” by the Chair with majority vote of the Commission

    L.     Any person wishing to introduce and/or distribute written or graphic materials at the public hearing or meeting shall hand materials to the Secretary for proper recording and distribution to the Chair and Commission.

    M.     The Commission shall review the draft minutes of their meetings as prepared by the Secretary and approve or amend said minutes as is necessary to accurately reflect the actions described. Upon adoption, these minutes become part of the public record.

Sec.

18-036.08 Parliamentary Rules


    A.     The latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order is hereby designated as the official Manual of the Commission. If the Manual is in conflict with these Rules of policy and Procedure, the Rules shall govern.

    B.     A Parliamentarian shall be appointed by the Chair.

    C.     The Chair shall be familiar with the contents of the manual and may consult with the Parliamentarian of the Commission and to answer parliamentary inquiries directed to the Chair.

    D.     The Chair shall determine when a motion, person or remark is out of order and shall use the following procedure following such a determination:

        1) Declare the motion, person or remark as “Out of Order”
        2.    Explain why the motion, person or remark is “Out of Order”
        3)     Tell the Commission what is now “In Order”
    
Sec.

18-036.09 Voting


    A.     The usual method of voting will be by machine vote. Should any confusion arise or should this method be unavailable, then a roll call vote shall be taken.

    B.     Once the vote of the Commission is announced by the Chair, it shall be considered final until and unless a motion to reconsider (in accordance with the Manual of the Commission) is carried and a new vote is ordered by the Chair.

    C.     In the event of a conflict of interest which does not require a resignation in accordance with the State of Louisiana Code of Government Ethics, Louisiana Revised Statutes

Title 42, Chapter 15, as amended, the involved Commissioner shall announce the conflict and shall recuse himself from voting on or participating in the discussion of the matter giving rise to the conflict.

    D.     Voting by Proxy will not be allowed.

    E.     The Chairman may engage in discussion and vote in the same manner as any other member of the Commission. If the Chairman does not declare a vote, it is assumed that the Chairman has voted with the majority.

    F.     The Chairman may suggest motions but may neither make nor second motions.

Sec.

18-036.10 General Rules of Public Participation


    A.     Any person may appear at the public hearing and give testimony or submit written materials, either individually or as a representative of an organization. Each person who appears at the public hearing or who submits written materials shall provide their name, address, and the name of the organization which they represent.

    B.     Prior to the introduction of agenda items, the Chair shall inform the assembly of the order of business at hand and the order of the presentation in consideration of agenda items, and shall instruct the assembly on the appropriate procedures for addressing the Commission.

    C.     The following order of presentation will normally be observed at public hearings after the introduction of an agenda item by the Chair. Members of the Commission may pose questions only after being recognized by the Chair. Unless otherwise impractical, members should hold all questions until the conclusion of the presentation and the hearing.
        
        1.    Presentation of staff report and recommendations
        2.    Comments by applicant and proponents (Ten minutes)
                3.    Comments by opponents and interested citizens (Ten minutes)
                4.    Additional comments by applicant and proponents (Five minutes)
        5.    Additional comments by opponents (Five minutes)
        6.    Hearing closed
        7. Commission questions, discussion, consideration and action, if necessary

    The Commission may extend the public hearing, by majority vote, to accommodate larger crowds or complex cases. Notwithstanding the expiration on time, any person who desires to be heard and who has not previously been recognized, may be accorded the opportunity to be heard once for a period of no more than two minutes at the discretion of the Chair.

    D.     The public is invited to speak on any item under discussion by the Commission in a public hearing after receiving recognition by the Chair, and in accordance with the instructions given by the Chair.

    E.     When recognized by the Chair, speakers shall walk to the podium and state their name, address and purpose for appearance before addressing the Commission.

    F.     Speakers shall confine their comments and arguments to the essential points relative to the item of business addressed, and shall refrain from repetitious information. They

shall also refrain from making abusive remarks or indulging in any offensive behavior. The Chair shall caution speakers who do not comply and may ask them to leave the podium or the auditorium.

    G.     All comments and requests for information shall be directed through the Chair.

    H.     Written comments, documents, photographs, plans, drawings, reports, petitions, letters and written argument and questions are encouraged to be submitted to the Commission at or prior to the hearing by delivery to the Secretary.

    I.     Items which have been the subject of a public hearing shall not receive further comment by the public or applicants at the time the public hearing is closed by the Chair or the items are acted upon by the Commission, unless the Chair so orders, or there is a majority vote of the Commission to do so.

    J.     Members of the audience at public hearings and meetings shall observe the following rules of conduct and decorum while the meeting is in progress;

                1.    Refrain from talking to other members of the audience in a loud or otherwise disruptive manner.

                2.    Refrain from initiating private conversations with Commission members, staff or legal counsel.

                3.    Refrain from approaching the podium unless invited to do so by the Chair.

                4.    Refrain from engaging in any behavior which is not in keeping with proper and courteous conduct.

                5.    Refrain from cheers, jeers, applause, or any expressions of approval or disapproval of comments made by any speakers or any actions taken by the Commission.

    K.     The Chair shall take whatever action is necessary to insure that these rules are observed and the meeting proceeds in an orderly fashion.

Sec.

18-036.11 Seminars


    A.     From time to time the Commission may schedule informal study/work sessions designated as seminars.

    B.     Workshops shall be open to the public and the rules of proper notice of regular meetings shall apply.

    C.     The only order of business at a workshop shall be the presentation, familiarization and discussion of the particular agenda study topics. No application for a subdivision review shall be considered at a workshop meeting.

    D.     The Planning staff and/or guest presenters shall moderate the discussions and observe the following order of presentation:

        1.    Presentation of study item
                2.    Discussion interaction between the Commission members


        3.    Public input (if scheduled as part of the seminar)
        4.    Concluding remarks

    E.     No official action shall be taken by the Commission on items presented at the seminar.

    F.     Public comment at the seminar shall be limited based upon the topic and agenda. Interested parties are welcome to listen and learn from the presentation and discussion with no participation in the discussion unless scheduled as an agenda item.

Sec.

18-036.12 Committees


    A.     In fulfilling its various charges, the Commission shall utilize committees at its discretion.

    B.     The Commission may appoint committees, comprised of no more than three (3) Commission members and other persons as deemed necessary.

    C.     Staff personnel will be made available upon reasonable request to provide any assistance required by the committee.

    D.     At the time of the creation and appointments, the Commission shall provide the committee with a written scope of work to include the following:
    
        1.    A statement of specific purpose and objective
        2.    Approximate length of term
        3.    Authorized activities / actions
        4.    Required number and timing of status reports
        5.    Required final report/deadline

    The committee may supplement the scope of work with a work plan should it choose to develop one.

    E.     Committees shall not take any action, which may be construed as an official act of the Commission, but instead may make recommendations for action by the Commission. Committees shall not publically advocate or promote committee recommendations as an official position of the Commission, unless the Commission has first acted on the matter.

    F.     Committees shall conduct business by an agenda and keep minutes of all proceedings as a matter of public record.

    G.     Committees shall forward the minutes of their proceedings to all Commission members and the Secretary of the Commission as a part of the regular monthly submission. The general public shall have access to committee records upon request.

    H.     Committees shall present orally and file written interim and final reports with the Commission as required in the scope of work. The Secretary shall place reports on the agenda of the first regularly scheduled meeting subsequent to the report.

    I.     The Commission shall act upon committee recommendations within sixty-four (64) days of its receipt of the committee's final report. The final report shall be considered received at the regularly scheduled meeting at which it is presented.


    J.     The Commission shall have the authority to dissolve committees after the Commission has taken action with respect to the final committee report or when it is determined that a committee is unable to fulfill its charge.

Sec.

18-036.13 Executive Session


    A.     For time to time, the Commission may find it necessary to discuss matters of personnel or litigation pertaining to the business of the Commission and shall enter Executive Session to do so.

    B.     When an Executive Session is allowed by the applicable State Law, the following rules shall apply:

                1.    The Commission shall enter into Executive Session only from a regularly convened meeting.

                2.    The motion to enter into Executive Session must carry a two-thirds vote of Commission members in attendance.

        3.    No action may be taken in Executive Session.

                4.    After leaving an Executive Session, the Chair shall reconvene the regularly scheduled meeting so that all scheduled items, including any considered in Executive Session, may be disposed of and the meeting may be properly adjourned.

Sec.

18-036.14 Rules of Conduct for Commissioners



    A.     Each member of the Commission shall abide by the State of Louisiana Code of Government Ethics, Louisiana Revised Statutes Title 42, Chapter 15, as amended. Each member shall certify in writing that they have read and understand the “Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics” prior to being seated as a Planning Commissioner.
    
    B.     A Commission member shall not meet or communicate in any fashion with any applicant, proponent, opponent or other interested party, excepting members of the Parish Administration, Parish Council and/or the Commission staff, to discuss any matter before the Commission prior to the legal public hearing.

    C.     Each member may visit the site in question, but may not have discussions concerning the site or project with any interested party prior to the legal hearing, except as outlined in Section18-036.013b

    D.     Following the initial required public hearing, the Commission may form a Committee for the expressed purpose of attempting to better understand the issues raised in the review of the Application, in accordance with Section 18-036.012 of these Rules.

    E.     Commission members shall not in any way pledge himself or herself to any party on a matter before the Commission, prior to the legal public hearing.

    F.     Any Commission member who has knowledge of the fact that he/she will not be able to attend a scheduled meeting or hearing, shall notify the Secretary at the earliest possible opportunity, and in any event before 4:00 P.M. on the day of the meeting.

    G.     Once a meeting is called to order by the Chair, the Commission members shall take special care to conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner and remain attentive to the members of the public testifying before the Commission.

    H.     Commission members requesting information or clarification relative to an application or business item that is before them for consideration may directly contact the Secretary for assistance.

    I.     The Commission may request information or specific actions from the Secretary and such request will be reflected in the minutes.

Sec.

18-036.15 Representation


    A.     The Chair shall serve as the official spokesman and representative of the Commission in all matters that have been acted upon by the Commission. The Chair may appoint a member of the Commission to serve as spokesperson or representative. Any member who officially represents or speaks for the Commission shall report to the Commission on any statements made or actions taken while serving in that capacity at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

    B.     In the absence of an official spokesman as described above, the Secretary shall act on behalf of the Commission before the Parish Council and shall inform the Council of all final decisions and recommendations, along with supporting records and documentation, rendered by the Commission.

    C.     Commission members shall refrain from making statements or taking action which may be identified as or construed to be an official act or position of the Commission, unless the Commission has first acted upon the matter and the member is acting as the official spokesperson or representative.

    D.     Commission members shall not publically advocate or promote individual positions or opinions as an official position of the Commission, unless the Commission has first acted on the matter.

Sec.

18-036.16 Violation of Rules


    Any violation of these rules may be deemed as cause for removal of the offending member by the appointing authority.
(Ord. No. 04-0880, adopted 05/06/2004)
    

SECS. 18-036.18- 18-050.99 Reserved.