Public Hearing Process
PUBLIC HEARING PROCESS OVERVIEW
To assist the public in understanding the public hearing process for land use applications, the following information is provided as an overview.
Kern County Planning Commission Hearing
The Kern County Planning Commission is appointed by the Board of Supervisors to consider and take action on certain land use and planning issues in addition to making recommendations on other types to the Board of Supervisors. The Commission conducts public hearings, considers proposals by members of the public and reviews the recommendations of Staff.
The Planning Commission meets the second and fourth Thursday of every month in the Board Chambers, on the First Floor of the Kern County Administrative Center at 1115 Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield. All meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.
Items to be considered are posted on the Commission’s agenda, which is available for public review on the Friday prior to the hearing on the Planning & Natural Resources website: https://www.kernplanning.com/hearings/planning-commission.
There are two categories of agenda listings: Consent and Non-consent, the latter are also known as “regular” agenda items.
Consent agenda items are those cases which are recommended for approval by Planning & Natural Resources Staff and considered to be routine or non-controversial. All Consent Agenda items are noted on the agenda with a (CA). The Consent Agenda is considered at the beginning of the hearing, and approved in one motion if there are no questions or opposition.
Any member of the public or a Commission member may remove an item from the Consent Agenda, at which time, the item will be considered in the numerical order in which it appears on the Public Hearing portion of the agenda.
If an item remains on the Consent Agenda and is approved by the Commission, the applicant may leave the hearing room following the Consent Agenda vote.
If an item is scheduled on the non-consent, or regular agenda, it will be considered during the Public Hearing portion of the agenda in the numerical order in which it is listed.
For cases scheduled on the regular Public Hearing agenda, County staff will read the report that has been prepared for the case. Following the reading of the report, the Commission will ask the applicant, or their representative, questions regarding the applicant’s understanding of Staff’s recommendation and any applicable conditions of approval. The Commission will then take testimony from members of the public who wish to speak in opposition or in support of the proposal. Following the close of public testimony, Commissioners may ask additional questions of Staff or the applicant. Following discussion, the Commission will vote on the proposal.
If there is a strong turnout from members of the public who wish to speak on an item, the Commission Chairman has the discretion to establish a time limit for each speaker. Any time limit would be announced by the Chairman prior to the hearing, or prior to discussion of the particular case.
All Planning Commission hearings are broadcast live on Kern Government Television (KGOV).
For projects where the Planning Commission’s action is final, actions are subject to appeal by any interested person or the applicant. An appeal may be filed with the Kern County Planning & Natural Resources Department with the requisite fee of $420 within 14 days of and including the date of hearing. If no appeal is received, the action of the Planning Commission is final. If an appeal is filed, such requests are set for consideration by the Kern County Board of Supervisors at the earliest available hearing.
Individuals who wish to use visual or electronic displays in their presentation during the consideration of a proposal must notify Planning Staff in advance, no later than noon on the Friday, preceding the Planning Commission hearing date. PowerPoint presentations must be reviewed by KGOV and the Director of the Planning & Natural Resources Department prior to the hearing. The file can be submitted to the Staff Planner who is assigned to the project case.
If written material of the presentation is to be provided to the Planning Commission, 15 copies of the material should be submitted to the Staff Planner by no later than 5:00 p.m. Monday of the week of the Planning Commission hearing to facilitate distribution. However, such material can also be submitted up to and including the time of the hearing.
PowerPoint Tips for television broadcast:
Due to increased usage of PowerPoint presentations at public hearings, KGOV has developed guidelines in order to develop a format that is legible on all screens. These PowerPoint tips are available from KGOV’s website at KGOV@kerncounty.com
For further information regarding the Planning Commission hearings, please contact the Kern County Planning & Natural Resources Department at (661) 862-8600.
FORM 724 (3/2017)