The Planning Commission is the hearings body for several types of land use decisions that cannot be made at the administrative level, most of which are quasi-judicial in nature. The Planning Commission also hears legislative requests to make recommendations for the Board’s consideration and final decision. Additionally, the Planning Commission serves as the community advisory team for long range planning projects and policy level discussions. Click here to view active long range planning projects. Click here to view the bylaws of the Planning Commission. Current members of the Planning Commission can be viewed on this page, in the brown box to the left.
Planning Commissioners are volunteers strategically made up of a diverse cross-section of the community. They are not typically professional planners, as they are meant to represent the community in much the same way a jury does. Planning Department staff, on the other hand, are skilled professionals that work directly with applicants on inquiries, produce staff reports, and generally do the day to day work.
Planning Commission Meetings
The Planning Commission typically meets monthly, on the first Tuesday of the month. These meetings, and other special meetings of the Planning Commission, are open to the public. Attendance of the public is encouraged. To view upcoming meetings, please view the Planning Calendar.
What to Expect From a Planning Commission Hearing or Work Session
As a member of the audience, you can expect to have access to the agenda and discussion materials at least 7 days in advance, accessible from our website or in person at our office. A typical agenda will include the opening of the meeting or hearing by the Chair; time for public comment for items not listed on the agenda; a presentation by staff, followed by a presentation from the appeal parties or guest presenters; public comment for items on the agenda; deliberation or discussion by the Planning Commissioners; and a decision or agreement about next steps and action items. Most meetings last about two hours, but it depends on the complexity of the agenda items. The public is welcome to attend for some or all of the meeting.
Its important to note that public testimony is only allowed during specific portions of the agenda. Questions from the audience, comments or rebuttal about testimony, or speaking without being recognized are typically not allowed. See below for some tips on how to testify and tips for testimony.
How to Testify at Land Use Hearings
We encourage your attendance and participation! Oregon’s Statewide Planning program, as well as the Wasco County Comprehensive Plan and development ordinances, recognizes the importance of citizen involvement in all phases of the planning process. One of the principal ways for citizens to be involved is by testifying at local land use hearings. The brochure linked here is provided by the State of Oregon to help citizens prepare and deliver testimony, and be effective in these public venues. If you cannot attend the meeting, submitting comments in writing is also possible. Please click here to view additional information about how to submit comments to the Planning Commission.