Several weeks ago we reported that a developer complained, during the town’s economic forum, that residents are asking too many repeat questions during public hearings.
A resident replied, in a comment to that report, that the questions were being asked because of the manner in which the hearings were conducted by town staff. The hearings were segmented into "booths" so that people would circulate to learn details of the request that was being heard. As a result, residents asked the same questions.
This confusion and lack of information exchange results because Oro Valley is not following its agreed-upon public hearing procedures.
Oro Valley has standard operating procedures for conducting public hearings. These were created by Resident Bill Adler, wrote them in 2009. We understand from bill that the town agreed to implement these procedures. This has not been the case with recent requests.
Under these procedures, neighborhood meeting facilitation is determined by the level of complexity of the request. Very complex requests, such as the one that's currently pending for the west side of LaCholla between Naranja and Lambert and along the northern side of Lambert west of LaCholla. These are supposed to be facilitated by a "credentialed professional". This has not been the case for hearings to date for that property. In addition, often times public hearings are turned over to the applicant who presents the request.
Under the procedures, the two initial neighborhood meetings were to have separate purposes. The first meeting was to be an "Educational Session." The second meeting was to be an "Applicant Presentation Meeting." Often times these two meetings have been combined into one meeting, done twice.
Tonight, the Oro Valley Town Council will discuss public hearing procedures. Councilmembers Garner and Zinkin requested that this item be heard.
We suspect that most members of the Town Council are not familiar with these procedures. We hope that they read them before tonight's meeting so that they can assess what is supposed to be done and then determine if they would like to see it re-implemented or changed in some manner.