Planning Commission Description of Duties

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The Planning Commission is an advisory body to the City Council, which is responsible for reviewing and acting on matters related to planning and development. The Commission is composed of five members who shall be residents of the City, serve without compensation and be appointed by the City Council. Each Commissioner will be appointed to a three-year term.

Typical Duties

To implement the General Plan, the Planning Commission is empowered to administer the City’s zoning laws, ordinances, rules and regulations which:

  • Regulate the use and appearance of buildings, structures and land.
  • Regulate location, height, and size of buildings and structures; the size and use of lots, yards, courts, and other open spaces; the percentage of a lot which may be occupied by a building or structure; and the intensity of land use.
  • Regulate signs and billboards.
  • Establish requirements for off-street parking and loading.
  • Establish and maintain building setback lines.

The Planning Commission also reviews environmental documents, municipal code amendments and specific plan or other policy documents, and makes recommendations to the City Council on issues pertaining to Annexations, General Plan Amendments, Zone Changes and policy issues regarding development.

Desirable Qualifications

A Planning Commissioner’s primary job is to make land use decisions that are consistent with the policies and plans formally adopted by the City Council. Therefore, the priority of a Planning Commissioner must be to develop decision-making skills and knowledge of City policies. It is not critical to have training in fields such as planning, architecture, law, civil engineering, geology, economics, or demography. These are skills that are available to the Commissioner from staff, consultants, and the applicant. The commissioner’s job is to weight the professional input given in staff reports, environmental reports, and consultant reports. A commissioner is much like a judge who is trained to render a legal decision based on the testimony of experts and others who appear as witnesses in a trial.

Suggested qualifications for a Planning Commissioner include:

  • A willingness and ability to research and report on issues, programs and policies related to    development issues.
  • A willingness to attend night meetings on a regular basis. The regular meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.
  • A willingness to assist in implementing projects as decided upon by the City Council.
  • The ability to sustain harmonious working relationships with Commission members, the City Council, staff, residents, and the public.
  • A willingness to attend extracurricular meeting and training seminars related to regional planning uses.