The Greensboro City Council is scheduled to meet virtually at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 21, and it’s going to be another long one.
The agenda includes 62 items and, if this meeting is similar to the previous virtual meetings in the past couple of months, several items will be added at the last minute.
Although it isn’t posted on the agenda, the public is allowed to speak on public hearing items on the agenda, which includes several controversial rezoning requests. The agenda, which is easy to find on the city website, has no information about how a person goes about speaking at the virtual public hearings, but the official notice of the meeting, which is difficult to find if you’re not on the city’s email list, does provide that information.
If you would like to speak on a public hearing item, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, July 20 at noon. By state law, the city has to accept written public comments on public hearing items sent to the same address for at least 24 hours after the public hearing.
Other jurisdictions, including Guilford County, have interpreted this law to mean that the governmental body cannot take a vote on the public hearing item until after the time has expired for the public to comment. However, Greensboro City Attorney Chuck Watts has ruled that the City Council may go ahead and vote on the item at the meeting, even though the public still has 24 hours to comment.
So people may send in written comments for up to 24 hours after the public hearing, but the City Council will have already voted on that item at the meeting, so there doesn’t seem to be much point in sending in a comment after the vote has been taken, unless the commenter simply needs to vent.
The agenda states that for the public forum portion of the meeting, “Comments will be summarized during the meeting and will be posted at www.greensboro-nc.gov the day following the meeting.” At previous meetings comments have not been summarized. The number of comments received has been noted and sometimes the basic positions of commenters on an issue are included. But so far comments have not been read, nor summarized.
The meeting will be streamed live on the Greensboro Television Network (GTN).