Based on some COWcerns from several citizens regarding the timeliness of staff reports for COWncil, ASRB and Planning COWmission we looked into the towns requirements. We found that in 2006, the Town COWncil adopted RESOLUTION NO. 2006 – 6577 establishing a policy governing the availability of Town Council, Planning Commission and Architectural and Site Review Board ( ASRB) meeting packets.
This Policy affirms that “any and all parties having an interest in an item of business that may be before its own body, the Planning Commission, or the Architectural and Site Review Board have a right to be informed about that item and of the recommendations of the Town’s staff concerning that item on a timely basis in advance of the subject meeting date” and that “the opportunity for informed public participation in the decision-making process is enhanced for all parties if agenda packets are available on a predictable and timely basis.”
The formally adopted “POLICY GOVERNING THE AVAILABILITY OF TOWN COUNCIL, PLANNING COMMISSION, AND ARCHITECTURAL AND SITE REVIEW BOARD MEETING PACKETS” states that packets must be available no later than 5:00 p. m. on the day that is seven calendar days prior to the subject meeting date. Exceptions to the agenda packet availability deadlines may be considered only when an unusual and uncontrollable event or occurrence warrants the exception.
This Policy seems to be forgotten or ignored. The Town seems to follow the Brown Act requirements which are minimums and do not override the COWncil Policy. Adequate time is needed to allow for public input. Posting an item the Thursday or Friday before a Monday or Tuesday meeting is “legal” but absolutely inadequate for true democratic participation.