Meetings and Procedures - Planning Commission


The Planning Commission holds approximately 75 meetings per year and usually meets every Wednesday and Thursday evening, beginning at 8:15 p.m. Commission meetings vary in length, depending on the number and complexity of agenda items, as well as the number of citizen speakers. The Commission generally does not meet during scheduled Board of Supervisors budget hearings, and holiday periods, such as the first week of July, the month of August, Thanksgiving week, or the last half of December.

Meetings are held in the Board Auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, and broadcast live on Fairfax County Government's Cable Television Channel 16. Meetings are also recorded on videotapes and audiocassettes, both of which are available for review at the Planning Commission office, by appointment.

The Planning Commission Office is located in Suite 330 of the Government Center. County Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. Commission members are employed elsewhere during the day; therefore, questions and correspondence should be addressed to the Planning Commission Office, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 330, Fairfax Virginia 22035-0042. You may also contact Commission members and Planning Commission office staff via email by sending a message to plancom@fairfaxcounty.gov

Persons interested in testifying at a Planning Commission public hearing should call the Planning Commission Office at 703-324-2865 (TTY at 703-324-7951) or register online by filling out the questions on the Speaker's List section of the web site.

Conduct of Public Hearings

The Planning Commission establishes its own rules for the conduct of public hearings to ensure a smooth and orderly process. The public hearing procedures and policies adopted by the Planning Commission are listed below for your convenience.

All persons planning to testify should sit in the front several rows of the Board Auditorium to help expedite the public hearing process.

When called upon to speak, or as an unlisted speaker approaching the Commission after all of the scheduled speakers have spoken, you must be recognized by the Chairman, and you must state your name and address for the public record. Our Planning Commission Office staff needs to clearly understand this information to accurately note your testimony in the public record.

Please remember that all presentations are timed. A light on the podium will illuminate green at the beginning of each speaker's testimony. A buzzer will sound and the red light will indicate that your allotted time has expired. All speakers exceeding the time limit will be asked by the Chairman to immediately conclude their remarks. If you do not finish your presentation, be sure to provide a copy of your statement to the Planning Commission Office as soon as possible. The entire presentation will then be entered as part of the public record.

In order to minimize repetitive testimony, organizations are encouraged to have only one person speak for the group, with other members of the organization standing to show their support.

Each person may testify only once per application, unless called back to the podium at the request of a Commission member.

The Board Auditorium is equipped with a variety of audio-visual equipment you may use to assist your presentations. Materials, such as slides, maps, graphs, blueprints, and videos can be presented simultaneously to both the Commission and the audience. If you need to use any of the audio-visual equipment, please contact the Planning Commission Office at 703-324-2865 (TTY 703-324-7951) no later than 3:00 p.m. on the scheduled public hearing date.

Time Limits for Speakers

3 Minutes • Unregistered Speakers: All persons who are not listed on the Speakers List will be allowed to address the Commission after the pre-registered list is completed. They will be allotted three minutes.

5 Minutes • Registered Individuals: All persons who are appearing on their own behalf or on behalf of a business shall be allotted five minutes to address the Commission.

10 Minutes • Registered Associations: A representative of a civic, citizens or homeowners' association; a business or professional association; or similar organization shall be entitled to a ten minute presentation in front of the Commission. Other members of the same group may register as individuals, and speak as individuals, on the Speakers List.

Area Plans Review (APR) Public Hearings

After staff and the task forces review the nominations, the Planning Commission will hold public hearings beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Board Auditorium to receive public comment about the proposed Plan amendments. At the public hearing, the task forces' recommendations will be presented by the task force Chairmen, DPZ staff will present its recommendations, and then the public will be invited to comment. To sign-up to speak, call the Planning Commission Office at 703-324-2865, TTY 703-324-7951, or register online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning by 2:30 p.m. on the day of the public hearing. Persons will be recognized in the order in which their names appear on the Speakers List.

APR Speaker Presentation Times

5 Minutes • Registered Association - a representative of a civic, citizen's or homeowners association. Each group is entitled to only one five-minute presentation, but other members of the same group may register as individuals.

3 Minutes Registered individuals on the Speakers List

2 Minutes Anyone not registered on the Speakers List

After all names have been called, anyone not on the Speakers List will have an opportunity to address the Commission. To submit written copies of public hearing testimony, provide 13 copies to the Clerk. After questions and comments from the Commissioners, the Chairman will close the public hearing. Commission action on APR items will not be taken until the scheduled mark-up sessions.

APR Mark-up Sessions

The Planning Commission will take action on individual APR nominations at a mark-up session. Held in the Board Auditorium beginning at 8:15 p.m., the mark-up session is open to the public and televised on Cable Channel 16. However, public testimony is not permitted. Nominations that receive a recommendation for approval go forward to the Board of Supervisors. Nominations also may be recommended for deferral. Nominations that are denied will no longer be considered during the APR process and will not be subject to further review.

If the Planning Commission does not act upon a proposed nomination within one year of the Planning Commission's scheduled public hearing for the nomination, the nomination expires and will receive no further consideration. This policy does not apply to nominations deferred to special studies or authorized by the Board of Supervisors to be separately considered outside the APR process. The Planning Commission Office will notify nominators if their nomination has expired.

Public Hearing Procedures for Applications

The following is an outline of the public hearing procedures followed by the Commission when a land use application is presented. The items are listed in the order in which they usually occur.

The Chairman will call for the public hearing by naming the specific case and the application by its proper name. At this time, the Chairman will ask the applicant, or the authorized agent for the application, to reaffirm that the affidavit is correct and accurate as of the hearing date. The Chairman will then recognize any members of the Commission who need to make disclosures based on the information contained in the affidavit.

After the affidavit is confirmed and all required disclosures have been made, the Chairman will ask the County Planning Staff to present the case. The staff coordinator will describe the property, comment on the application, and present the staff's recommendation.

The Chairman will then allow the applicant, or authorized agent, to make his\her presentation. The time limit for the applicant's presentation is normally ten (10) minutes; however, the Chairman may allow up to fifteen minutes (15) for complex cases.

After reviewing the public hearing procedures, the Chairman will call for citizen testimony. Persons will be recognized in the order in which their names appear on the Speakers List. After all names on the Speakers List have been called, the Chairman will recognize any additional speakers in the audience wishing to testify. Remember, you can submit a written statement to the Planning Commission Staff if you do not want to speak directly to the Commission. All written correspondence is entered into the public record for each application.

Following the completion of the citizen testimony, the applicant will have the opportunity to respond to questions and/or issues raised by the Commission and/or citizens. The time limit for the applicant's rebuttal testimony is normally five minutes.

After the applicant's rebuttal, the Chairman will recognize the staff coordinator for closing comments and/or responses to questions. In addition to the closing remarks from staff, Commission members will be recognized for their questions, concerns, or comments on this application.

Following all comments, the Commissioner handling the application will offer a motion for Commission action.


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