10 Tips for Effective Public Comment on Land Use Decisions
Your public comment can go a long way when it comes to land use decisions. As a land owner, future land owner, or someone who uses the land, you may have experiences and insights that no one else has had. Giving public testimony sharing your knowledge is a great way to help policy makers make well informed decisions.
You can enter your testimony in writing or vocally through attending the hearing. Here are some tips to make your testimony beneficial and persuasive.
- Before the meeting be sure to research what changes are on the table. Search the municipal website, review the ordinances, and look for other resources such as Project 7B.
- If you have a lot of facts or examples put them in writing and submit a copy to each of the committee members.
- Write your comments previous to the meeting and practice them until you can cover them while making eye contact with the committee members.
- Come early to the meeting. This allows you to sign up to comment early, to hear all of the background, and committee discussion previous to your comment.
- Identify yourself, where you live, and if applicable, the organization you represent.
- If your comment is in writing or if there are multiple decisions on the table, be sure to be clear as to what ordinance and change you are commenting on.
- Be brief. Limit your speaking to three to five minutes.
- Say what is most important to you first. This is likely to be the most heard portion of your comment.
- Use personal stories, but do not make it personal about the committee members. Disrespectful comments are not effectively heard.
- If your comment is the same as someone before you either try to adapt your comment so that you offer a little bit of new insight or just state that you are in agreement with the change or the person who spoke before. It is good to state your stance, but not necessary to repeat lengthy points.