Council meetings often contain a number of different types of hearings. These hearings are held for specific purposes, most often to do with land use and development.
Development Permit Hearings
Development permits are required by the City in special areas, designated by the City of Prince George Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 8383, 2011. Hearings are sometimes required prior to the issuance of these permits to allow the applicant to convince Council to issue the permit, or to allow the owners or residents of adjacent properties to put forward arguments in favor of or against the issuance of the permit.
This hearing is a relatively informal process, during which the Mayor or Acting Mayor will call on the Corporate Officer to read into the record any correspondence received in regard to the application, ask the Director of Planning and Development for further information, and ask the applicant if there is anything to add to the information presented. The Mayor will then ask if there are any people in the gallery wishing to speak to the application. After the informal hearing is over, Council will move to approve or deny the application.
Development Variance Permit Hearings
Development variance permits allow for variances of certain provisions of the Zoning Bylaw or the Sign Bylaw; for instance, to allow a homeowner to build a sun deck or outbuilding closer to the property line than is allowed by the Zoning Bylaw, or to allow for additional signage on a piece of commercial property. Because the provisions of certain bylaws are being varied, a hearing must be held to allow both the applicant to make a case to Council and for other land owners and residents to speak to the application.
These hearings follow the same process as that followed for development permit hearings.
The Local Government Act requires that a Public Hearing be held regarding various land use applications such as zoning amendments, official community plan amendments and development permits. Public Hearings are meetings of Council which are held to provide the public with an opportunity to convey their views on proposed land use applications.
Submissions to Council
Any correspondence/petitions received before the public hearing is closed will be provided to Council. All submissions received prior to the close of the hearing will form part of the permanent record of the public hearing.
Comments/correspondence can be directed to Corporate Officer in the Legislative Services Division. You can comment by:
Attending the public hearing and providing verbal comments to City Council
Submitting written comments prior to the close of the public hearing
Speaking at a Public Hearing
All persons who believe to be affected by the proposed land use application, may make a presentation or submit written comments to be heard during the Public Hearing. Comments should be limited to the subject of the proposed land use application. This is not an opportunity for debate, but rather to voice perspectives, support, opposition and/or concerns to Council on any application that is the subject of the Public Hearing.
Members of the public will be asked to provide their name and address for the record of the public hearing.
An initial submission for all speakers is limited to fifteen (15) minutes.
After all speakrs have been heard for the first time, a speaker may speak for a second time with new information.
A second and further submission for all speakers is limited to ten (10) minutes.
When Speaking to Council
1. Proceed to the presenter's table, introduce yourself, and provide your civic address for the record of the hearing
2. Direct all comments through the Mayor, who is addressed as "Mayor ___" or "Your Worship"
3. Speak slowly and clearing into the microphone
4. Be prepared - speaking time is limited
5. Council may ask questions following your presentation
The Public Hearing is not a question and answer period - it is an opportunity for your views to be heard. No person should feel discouraged, intimidated or be prevented from making their views heard. Decorum must be maintained at all times. Inappropriate language, outbursts, criticisms or generalizations aimed at an individual or group will not be tolerated.
Process for a Public Hearing
1. The Mayor adjourns the regular meeting of Council and opens the Public Hearing
2. The Corporate Officer reads into the record any items of correspondence received regarding the issue before Council
3. The General Manager of Planning and Development provides information regarding the issue and COuncil has an
opportunity to ask questions of the General Manager.
4. The Applicant is provided an opportunity to addres Council; Council may ask questions of the Applicant at any time
5. Those in attendance in the Council Chambers gallery are invited to speak to the issue. This opportunity will be provided
three times. Council may ask questions of the presenters.
6. After comments from the Gallery are complete, the Applicant is given an opportunity for a brief statement to answer
7. The Hearing is closed and no further submissions regarding the issue can be made. After the hearing is closed, Council may consider giving the bylaw third reading, or choose to defer its discussion of the bylaw to a future meeting.
Council is required to hold a number of other hearings, which can follow different formats. These include hearings regarding:
- Unsightly premises
- Nuisance or dangerous property
- Appeals of denial of request for chauffeur's permit
- Appeals of denial of business permit
For more information about these hearings, please contact
Other Related Documents
Local Government Act
Development Procedures Bylaw No. 7635
Council Policy: Public Hearing Procedure and Guidelines
Public Hearing Brochure