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Special Feature

Frequency & Duration of Planning Commission Meetings

We meet too often! We don’t meet often enough!

Our meetings are too long! No, they’re too short!

We all have our own perspectives on planning commission meetings. But we wanted to find out from our readers about their commission meetings … how often they meet, and how long their meetings usually last.

Here’s what we heard back:

Chart with survey results.

In considering these results, note that these do not include special work sessions or committee meetings — as a number of respondents also noted in comments such as:

  • “Subcommittees of the PC meet twice weekly if not more often.”
  • “Subcommittees can meet an additional twice a month.”
  • “There are also special meetings when their agenda is too full.”

Meeting frequency is also affected by the economy (and extent of development activities) in a community. As another respondent noted: “We used to meet up to 26 times a year … until the recession. Now we are down to maybe 6 times a year.”

Chart with survey results.

Illustration by Marc Hughes for PlannersWeb
Not everyone can stay focused when a meeting runs late into the evening. Illustration by Marc Hughes for PlannersWeb.

We were also curious about the extent to which planning commissions met with members of neighboring communities to discuss mutual concerns.

Chart with survey results.

We asked those who answered “Yes” if they’d explain what those meetings focused on. Among the comments we received, several mentioned joint training programs or other opportunities to interact:

  • “Training with two other equal size cities in our region, and learning new concepts from professional planners/developers.”
  • “An annual dinner, hosted by the regional planning group … topics vary.”
  • “Our county planning department organized a ‘chairs’ meeting twice a year for the Planning and ZBA.”

A few mentioned joint meetings focusing on shared issues, such as:

  • “Four municipalities along the same corridor, on a highway, pedestrian safety, way-finding, consistency in development standards.”
  • “Planning a bay front corridor that runs through multiple township jurisdictions.”

Editor’s Note: For some reflections on meeting length, see Ric Stephens’ “Late Nights With the Commission.”

Our Next Post: Planning Commission Dynamics