One of the principal functions of municipal government is to encourage citizen participation within the framework of local government operations and decision making. During a public hearing, the applicant and people in favor of or opposed to the zoning request may present their views. In addition to speaking at the public hearing, you may also send letters to the Commission and Council either directly or through the Planning and Development Office, or you may discuss the case with the Planning and Development Staff. A petition is a more formal process of registering your support for or opposition to a zoning request. A petition may influence the Planning and Zoning Commission and/or the City Council’s decision. A petition becomes a permanent part of the case and must be filed with staff. Regardless of the type of petition, there is no legal effect on the Planning and Zoning Commission’s vote. A simple majority vote recommending approval or denial of a zoning request is all that is required of the Commission. However, the Commission’s decision may be influenced by petitions of support or opposition. Petitions of support may influence final Council action, but they have no legal effect. Petitions of opposition submitted to staff, that are properly notarized and meet state and local criteria will invoke a required three-fourths vote of approval to permit a change. In order to invoke the mandatory three-fourths approval, the petition must be signed by the owners of at least 20 percent of either:
- the total area of the land (whether platted or otherwise) included within the boundaries of the proposed change; or,
- the total area of the land (whether platted or otherwise) outside of the boundaries of the proposed change and within 200 feet of any point of the land proposed to be changed. Only one vote per lot in support or opposition per owner is permitted. The "owner" is the owner shown on the city’s most recently approved ad valorem tax roles. For example, if John Doe appears as the owner on the tax rolls, then the signature on the petition should be John Doe. If joint ownership appears on the tax rolls, i.e., John and Mary Doe, then John Doe and/or Mary Doe should sign the petition. Additionally, the person who collected the petitioners’ signatures should sign a sworn notarized statement that he/she witnessed the petition being signed by the petitioners.