The Planning Commission encourages applicants to meet with all community groups and parties interested in their application early in the entitlement process. In many cases, this is required as part of the Pre-application process. Department staff is available to assist in determining how to contact interested groups. Neighborhood organization lists are available on the Department’s website. Notice of the hearing will be sent to groups in or near the neighborhood of the project. The applicant may be contacted by the Planning Department staff with requests for additional information or clarification. An applicant’s cooperation will facilitate the timely review of the application.

The Commission requests that applicants familiarize themselves with the procedure for public hearings, which are excerpted from the Planning Commission’s Rules and Regulations.

A public hearing may be held on any matter before the Commission. This is the typical procedure:

  1. A thorough description of the issue(s) by the Director or a member of the planning department staff along with the Planning Department’s recommendation.
  2. A presentation of the proposal by you or your team (includes your lawyers, architects, engineers, expediters, and/or other advisors) would be for a period not to exceed 10 minutes, unless a written request for extension not to exceed a total presentation time of 10 minutes is received at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing, through the Commission Secretary, and granted by the President or Chair.
  3. A presentation of opposition to the proposal by organized opposition for a period not to exceed 10 minutes (or a period equal to that provided to the project sponsor team) with a minimum of three (3) speakers. The requestor advises the group that the Commission would expect the organized presentation to represent their testimony, if granted. Organized opposition will be recognized only after written application at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing, through the Commission Secretary, the President or Chair. Such application should identify the organization(s) and speakers.
  4. Public testimony from individuals may speak for a period not to exceed 3 minutes.
  5. Director’s preliminary recommendation must be prepared in writing.
  6. Action by the Commission on the matter before it.
  7. In public hearings on Draft Environmental Impact Reports, all speakers will be limited to a period not to exceed three (3) minutes.
  8. The President may impose time limits on appearances by members of the public and may otherwise exercise his or her discretion on procedures for the conduct of public hearings.

The Commission President may authorize any person to transcribe the proceedings of a Regular, Special or Committee Meeting provided that the President may require that a copy of such transcript be provided for the Commission’s permanent records.

Is there an opportunity for appeal?

Generally, the decisions by the Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, or Zoning Administrator are final, unless appealed as follows:

  • Conditional Use Authorizations and any CEQA document (e.g., an Environmental Impact Report) are appealable to the Board of Supervisors within 30 days.
  • Certificates of Appropriateness, Large Project Authorizations, Office Allocations, or Permits to Alter may be appealed to the Board of Appeals within 15 days.
  • Variance Decision Letters may be appealed to the Board of Appeals within 10 days.