We are writing to say “Hurrah!” to the City of Olympia Council and City Manager.
At the Tuesday, August 21, Olympia City Council meeting the Council approved a resolution rescinding the 45-day limit on public communication before and after hearings on that topic.
Now community members don’t have this time restriction on commenting. They can comment any time during the public comment period at Council meetings and at meetings of advisory committees, such as the Olympia Planning Commission. However, the Planning Commission can refrain from taking public comments after a hearing until they have made their recommendation to the City Council.
The 45-day limit that was rescinded actually created a 90-day black out period (45 days before and 45 days after a hearing) where the public could not comment. This was difficult since sometimes during the planning process proposals went through multiple revisions that the public couldn’t speak to because of timing. Also residents might not have been aware of a proposal at
the time of a hearing and then, once they learned about it, they had to wait for a number of weeks before they could comment to Council.
The Local Good Governance Coalition raised this issue with the Olympia City Council recently. LGGC is an alliance of 10 organizations watching out for ways to improve community participation in local land use and budget policies as well as how governments address the environment and affordable housing.
In this case, LGGC suggested that changing the limit would signal being open to
hearing the voices of the community in a timely manner.
We thank the Council and City Manager for listening to our input and, on
Tuesday, acting to rescind the 45-day limit.
~ Loretta Seppanen and Judy Bardin on behalf of Local Good Governance Coalition.
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