Citizen's Guide to Public Hearings

Citizen's Guide to Public Hearings at the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals

Purpose of Public Hearing:

A public hearing is a meeting providing the official opportunity for public discussion regarding petitions for rezoning, annexation, variance, and special use. Interested parties may express their views and submit evidence supporting those views at the public hearing. The information shared will become part of the Village's permanent record of the meeting and may be used by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals in forming it conclusions and if making recommendations to the Village Board. 

The Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals are charged with conducting a fair and impartial fact finding hearing. Board members must remain open minded, objective and impartial in considering testimony and forming a decision. The Board is responsible for ensuring the request complies with the Village Zoning Law unless granting a variance which would still have to adhere to the Village Comprehensive Plan.

The Planning Board meets as needed on the 4th Monday of each month at 7 pm at the Village Hall, 115 Main Street, Altamont. The Planning Board reviews requests for Sub-divisions and Special Use Requests. Special Use Permits are required to operate a business or for a fence or accessory use in the front yard of a residential lot.

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets as needed on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7 pm. The Zoning Board of Appeals reviews area or use variance requests and is charged with the final interpetation of the Village Code relating to Zoning.

 A brief outline of the agenda (if any) is listed on the Village website's homepage. Members of the public are welcome to view application materials under review for either board prior to the meeting by visiting the Village offices during regular business hours prior to the meeting. 

Once an application is received and approved by the Chairman, a public hearing will be set on the next regular scheduled meeting night. A legal notice must be submitted to the Altamont Enterprise and published a minimum of 10 days prior to the public hearing. Written notifications are mailed first class to all adjacent property owners within 500 feet of the subject property.

Public Hearing Process:

The Chairman will call the meeting to order and introduce each agenda item before it is discussed. The Chairman ensures that everyone is heard and maintains control of the meeting. There are typically several parts to a public hearing.

Staff Report Presentation:

Prior to the meeting, The Zoning Officer, prepares a report reviewing the request for conformance to Village Ordinances, unique conditions, and other concerns. If these concerns relate to Streets, Water or Sewer, the Superintendent of Public Works may be asked to review and prepare a report. The same may be asked of the Fire Chief if the request affects delivery of emergency services. 

Applicant's Testimony:

The petitioner or designated representatives give a presentation relating to their request. Board members may ask some follow-up questions.

Public Testimony/Comment:

Following the Applicant's testimony, the Chairman asks if any members of the public wish to speak about the request. Individuals are asked to state their name and address for the recording secretary. The recording secretary may ask the individuals to spell her name. Comments and questions must include facts relevant to the application in front of the Board and should be directed to the Board. The Board may ask the applicant for a response if necessary. The public may also submit written comments. Respectful conduct is expected. Outbursts are not appropriate. All persons are entitled to express their opinions.

Board Determinations:

The Public Hearing is officially closed when no additional members of the public wish to speak about the petition. Once closed, public comment will no longer be accepted. The Board will then deliberate. There are instances where the Board will need more information or need to verify certain aspects of the application. In those cases, it is not unusual for the Board to carry over the application until the next meeting. Once the Board makes a decision, the applicant will be notified in writing.