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Policy on audience outbursts reviewed

Planning board wants to ensure civility

POSTED: April 18, 2014 12:04 a.m.
 

CUMMING — Forsyth County’s planning board is continuing to monitor public outbursts.

During a work session Tuesday night, the board reviewed its audience policy, implemented about a year ago after a loud response to an issue affecting the Daves Creek community,

“We kind of got caught off guard with that,” said Tom Brown, director of the county’s planning department. “It was pretty vocal. It was really loud and just yelling out of turn. There’s a long list of reasons why we don’t want that. No. 1, we just don’t want to give people the impression that’s what our decision is based on.

“Our decision is based on the hearing and the facts and not just a show of hands and an angry bunch of people that show up.”

The board’s policy involves a four-tier structure, with the first line of defense simply being reading the rules of how the public should conduct comments, followed by a warning from Pam Bowman, who chairs the panel.

Since the policy was drafted, Brown said, officials have “never gotten past two.”

Added Bowman: “Hopefully, we will never get past two.”

The board also discussed signs, something new member Greg Dolezal said he was passionate about and wanted to address as a “concerned citizen.”

He is particularly interested in the aesthetics of LED signs in overlay districts, as well as those that change frequently, such as one he cited in the Vickery area.

“That’s a conversation I’ve had with some folks,” Dolezal said of the possibility of having the county commission review the matter.

Brown said it would take just two of the five commissioners to raise the issue and it would be up to them to “decide if it’s something they had interest in.”

The planning board also voted to cancel its Dec. 30 meeting and voted to hold its November meetings on the same night, with the work session beginning at 5 p.m. and the public hearing at 7 p.m. Nov. 18.

 

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