Planning Commission By-Laws

Planning Commission By-Laws


Effective: April 26, 2012 


The goals of the Planning Commission of Prince George County are as follows: 

    - to improve public health, safety, convenience and the welfare of its citizens; 

    - to plan for the future development of communities to the end that transportation 
      systems be carefully planned; 

    - that new community centers be developed with adequate highway, utility, health, 
      educational, and recreational facilities; 

    - that the need for mineral resources and the needs of agriculture, industry and business 
      be recognized in future growth; 

    - that residential areas be provided with healthy surroundings for family life; 

    - that agricultural and forestal land be preserved; and 

    - that the growth of the community shall be consonant with the efficient and economical 
      use of public funds. 

                                                        ARTICLE I. OBJECTIVES 

The objectives and purposes of the Planning Commission of the County of Prince George, Virginia are those set forth in Section 15.2-2200 and 15.2-2210 of the Code of Virginia (1950, as amended) and those powers and duties delegated to the Planning Commission by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Prince George by Chapter 62, Article II of the County Code adopted in accordance with the enabling laws and all amendments and changes thereto. 

                                                        ARTICLE II. MEETINGS 

    1.     All meetings of the Commission shall be open to the public, and all persons shall be encouraged
            to attend any meeting of said Commission except as otherwise provided in these by-laws or by

    2.     Regular meetings of the Commission are held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in
             the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room, Third Floor of the County Administration Building, 6602
            Courts Drive, Prince George, Virginia located at the intersection of Laurel Springs Road and Courts
            Drive in the County Government Complex or at such location as designated by the Commission. If 
            at any time any regular meeting falls on a holiday, such regular meeting shall be held on a date as
            determined by the Commission. The Commission, by resolution adopted at a regular meeting, may
            also fix the day or days to which any meeting shall be continued. If County Government operations are
            deemed to be closed by the County Administrator or his designee the day of a scheduled meeting due
            to inclement weather or other unforeseen instances then the meeting shall be cancelled and
            rescheduled to the next available meeting date. Such cancellation shall be communicated to the
            members and to the press as promptly as possible. All hearings and other matters previously
            advertised for such meeting shall be conducted at the continued meeting and no further
            advertisement is required. The Commission shall cause a copy of such resolution to be inserted in a
            qualified newspaper having general circulation in the locality at least seven days prior to the first
            meeting held pursuant to the adopted schedule. Workshops will be held on that Monday prior to the
            regular meeting date or as otherwise determined by the Commission. The Workshops will be held in
            the Planning Conference Room on the first floor of the County Administration Building at the address
            above or at a location as determined by the Commission. 

    3.     The Planning Commission may adjourn any meeting to a time and place specified. If all members
             are absent from any regular meeting, the Secretary may declare the meeting adjourned to a stated
             time and place and he shall cause a written notice of the adjournment to be given in the same
             manner as provided in the following section for special meetings, unless such notice is waived as
             provided for special meetings. When a regular or adjourned regular meeting is adjourned as
             provided in this section, the resulting adjourned regular meeting is a regular meeting for all
             purposes. When an order of adjournment of any meeting fails to state the hour at which the
             adjourned meeting is to be held, it shall be held at the hour specified for regular meetings. 

    4.     Special meetings of the Commission may be called by the Chair or by two members upon written
             request to the Secretary. The Secretary shall mail to all members, at least five days in advance of a
             special meeting, a written notice fixing the time and place of the meeting and the purpose thereof. 

            Written notice to members of a special meeting is not required if the time of the special meeting has
             been fixed at a regular meeting, or if all members are present at the special meeting or file a written
             waiver of notice. No other business shall be considered at such special meetings by the Planning
             Commission than that for which the special meeting was called. 

    5.     The annual meeting for the election of officers for Chair and Vice-Chair shall be held on the regular
             meeting date in January of each year, under the order of New Business and the newly elected officers
             shall immediately preside upon election. 

    6.     A quorum is a majority of all members. A quorum must be present at all meetings. A majority vote of
             those members present and voting is necessary to take any official action including, but not limited to
             rezonings, reclassifications, special exception uses, amendments to the zoning regulations or official
             map, subdivision plats, site plans, general plan, and these by-laws. In case of a tie vote, or deadlock,
             the chair shall have the item of business placed on the next agenda of the Commission as a matter
             under old business for reconsideration and vote, but not for rehearing. If the returned matter again
             results in a tied vote it will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors with no recommendation. 

    7.     The Commission shall keep minutes and records of all its meetings, resolutions, transactions,
             findings and determinations, and the vote of each member present shall be recorded with each
             motion, order or resolution and the minutes, records, resolutions, transactions, findings and
             determinations shall be of public record. 

                                                       ARTICLE III. OFFICERS, DUTIES OF 

    1.     The officers of the Commission shall consist of a Chair, a Vice-Chair and a Secretary. 

    2.     Chair. 

                The Chair shall have the following duties: 

                a.     The Chair shall preside at meetings of the Commission. 

                b.     When authorized by the Commission, The Chair shall execute in its name all contracts, bonds,
                         and other obligations. 

                c.     The Chair shall appoint all committees and subcommittees. 

                d.     The Chair shall have general supervision of the conduct of the affairs of the Commission and
                         shall instruct the Secretary in conducting Commission business. 

                e.     The Chair shall perform such other duties as are usually exercised by the Chair of a
                         Commission or a Chief Officer of a corporation. 

                f.     The Chair shall sign all communications of the Commission and all recommendations to the
                         Board of Supervisors of Prince George County unless otherwise authorized by the Chair. The
                         Chair may authorize the Secretary to sign official Commission communications. 

                g.     The Chair shall have the discretion to set time limits on public speakers, not to exceed 5
                         minutes. Those matters raised by citizens not set for public hearing shall be included only in
                         the Citizens Comment Period or by discretion of the Chair for additional public comments. 

    3.     Vice-Chair. 

            The Vice-Chair shall have the following duties: 

            The Vice-Chair shall perform the duties of the Chair during the absence or disability of the Chair. 

    4.     Temporary Chair. 

            a.     In the absence or disability of the Chair and Vice-Chair at any regular or regular adjourned
                    meeting where a quorum of the membership is present, the most senior member, alphabetically
                    shall preside at said meeting until the Chair or Vice-Chair is present. 

           b.     The Temporary Chair shall perform the duties of the Chair during the absence or disability of the
                    Chair or Vice-Chair. 

    5.     Secretary. 

            The Secretary or the Secretary’s designee shall have the following duties: 

            a.     The Secretary shall attend all regular, regular adjourned, special adjourned meetings and public
                     hearings, and keep or supervise the keeping of a record of same and transcribe same properly
                     in the minute books of the Commission. 

            b.     The Secretary shall send all notices of all meetings of the Commission required to be sent under
                     these bylaws, State law, zoning ordinance or subdivision ordinance or as directed by the Chair. 

            c.     The Secretary shall have charge of all official books, papers, maps, and records of the
                    Commission and shall conduct all official correspondence relative to hearings, meetings,
                    decisions, and other business of the Commission. 

            d.     The Secretary, or his assigned staff personnel, unless otherwise directed, shall attend meetings
                    of the committees and, when directed, transcribe and preserve the records thereof. 

            e.     The Secretary shall prepare the agenda and staff reports for items of business on the
                    Commission’s agenda. The reports must contain factual background information and
                    professional planning guidelines to guide the Commission in its actions. 

            f.     The Secretary shall notify the Vice-Chair, by phoning or in person, on the day the Chair informs the
                   Secretary that he will not attend a future Commission meeting. 

                                                    ARTICLE IV. COMMITTEES 

    1.     Committees shall be appointed by the Chair at the time deemed necessary or advisable by him so as
             to conduct Commission business properly. 

    2.     Each committee shall consist of no fewer than two (2) and no more than three (3) Commission

    3.     Subcommittees may be appointed by the Chair of any committee and may consist of non-members of
            the Commission and shall be advisory to the entire committee. 

    4.     The Chair of the Commission shall appoint one (1) member of each committee as the Chair and the
            committee shall meet at such time and place as directed by the Chair of the committee. The Chair of
            the Commission shall serve as an ex-officio member of all standing or temporary committees. 

    5.     The members of committees shall serve for the duration of the committee unless a reassignment is
            made of the committee personnel by the Commission Chair, in which case they shall serve until their
            successors are appointed. The Commission Chair shall fill any vacancy in committees. 

    6.     All reports of committees shall be made at the direction of the Chair of the Commission; however, no
            committee shall be required to make a formal report prior to the next regular Commission meeting
            following that meeting at which the committee was directed by the Chair of the Commission to report
            on the matter of business referred to such committee. 

    7.     Reports of subcommittees shall be made orally or in writing at the request of the Committee related
            to the subcommittee or by the Chair of the Commission, and if in writing, the original copy thereof
            shall be filed with the Secretary and become a part of the records of the committee. 

                                        ARTICLE V. ELECTIONS AND APPOINTMENTS 

    1.     The Chair of the Commission shall be elected by the members of the Commission at each annual
             meeting thereof and shall hold office for one (1) year. 

    2.     The Vice-Chair shall be elected by the members of the Commission at each Annual meeting of the
             Commission, immediately after the election of the Chair, and shall hold office for one (1) year. 

    3.     Any Vacancy in the office of Chair or Vice-Chair of the Commission may be filled by the members of
             the Commission at any meeting called for such purpose after such vacancy has occurred in a
             manner prescribed in Article II, Section 3 of these bylaws. 

    4.     The Director of Planning or the person acting in this capacity shall serve as Secretary of the

    5.     No later than the next regular meeting after the January meeting, the Chair of the Commission,
             elected at the annual meeting in January, shall appoint members to standing committees and the
             Chair thereof. Such appointments may be made before this meeting if the Chair so desires. 

                                                                ARTICLE VI. ORDER OF BUSINESS 

     The order of business at regular meetings shall be as follows:         

    1.     Call to Order 

    2.     Invocation 

    3.     Pledge of Allegiance 

    4.     Roll Call 

    5.     Approval of Minutes 

    6.     Citizen Comment Period 

    7.     Old Business 

    8.     New Business 

    9.     Secretary Reports 

  10.     Communications 

  11.     Adjournment 


    1.     Every matter on which the Commission is authorized or required to act or brought before the
            Commission by any person, official, organization or agency, shall be presented in writing or on forms
            provided by the Commission for a specific presentation and shall include all information necessary
            for a clear understanding and informed action by the Commission. Such information, when requested
            by the Commission, shall include maps, surveys, drawings, plans, charts, and descriptive

    2.     All matters for Commission consideration and recommendation shall be filed in the Planning Office
            with the Secretary at least twenty-one (21) days prior to a meeting of the Commission at which the
            item is to be on the agenda. Final revised proffers shall be submitted ten (10) days prior to the
            Planning Commission Meeting on which the matter is to be on the agenda. The time limits provided
            for in this section may be waived if the Commission, by unanimous vote of those present, suspends
            the application of this section for a specific case. All proffers must be signed by the owner, or a
            representative of the owner authorized by a valid power of attorney, and by a Notary Public. A proffer
            statement submitted by an attorney representing the owner is not sufficient. Deferral is appropriate to
            resolve late submittals and other inadequacies under this policy. The Secretary shall not accept
            presentations unless they are properly made, or on prescribed forms properly filled out and with all
            required information attached. 

                                            ARTICLE VIII. THE DOCKET AND AGENDA 

    1.     Each matter or presentation shall be filed under the proper heading and shall be placed upon the
            docket and remain upon the docket until placed upon the agenda or withdrawn by the applicant,
            presenter, sponsor, or other duly authorized agent or attorney. 

    2.     All matters docketed at least ten (10) days prior to a meeting of the Commission shall appear on the
            agenda at that meeting unless regulations or requirements necessitate a greater length of time
            between the date of filing a matter and the date it appears on the agenda. 

    3.     The agenda shall consist of all those cases which, by reason of time of filing or continuation or other
            order of the Commission, are to be heard at subject meeting of the Commission and the Agenda
            shall state that it is the agenda for the (date) _____ day of (month) and the year. 

    4.     All matters where a publication of notice is required by law, shall be docketed for the next regular
            meeting in accordance with the notice of hearing following the publication of notice thereof. 

    5.     When all matters cannot be disposed of on the date set, the Commission may adjourn from day to
            day, or until the next regular meeting as it may order. 

    6.     The agenda of cases to be heard shall be posted in the Planning Office not less than four (4) days
            before each regular meeting, and the agenda of cases to be heard at a special meeting shall be
            posted in the Planning Office and on the door of the meeting place not less than twenty-four (24)|
            hours before such special meeting. 

    7.     Any matter that comes before the Commission orally, except Secretary reports, which would not be
            shown on the posted agenda shall not be acted upon by the Commission until it is placed on the
            agenda of the next regular or special meeting. 

                                                              ARTICLE IX. HEARINGS 

    1.     Hearings shall be held in the Board of Supervisors Meeting Room, Third Floor of the County
            Administration Building, 6602 Courts Drive, Prince George, Virginia located at the intersection of
            Laurel Spring Road and Courts Drive in the County Government Complex or at such location as
            designated by the Commission. 

    2.     Only those cases set for hearing on a given date will be heard and they shall be heard in the order in
            which they appear on the agenda unless otherwise directed by the Chair. 

    3.     When a matter is set for a public hearing pursuant to advertisement the matter shall be heard even
            though no one in favor of or in opposition to the application appears at the hearing, unless the
            Commission, for good and sufficient reason, directs otherwise. 

    4.     Each person who speaks at the public hearing shall furnish his name and address to the
            Commission and shall thereby become a party of record; however, a member of the public shall not
            be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of the Commission, to register his name and
            other information, to complete a questionnaire, or otherwise fulfill any condition precedent to his

    5.     Each zoning matter in the public hearing shall be heard in the following order: 

            a.     The Chair of the Commission, the Secretary or a designated person shall read the notice of
                     hearing, agenda reports, and the findings of the planning staff. 

            b.     The applicant, or his representative, may make a statement in support of the application. 

            c.     Other persons in favor of the application shall be heard. 

            d.     Those persons opposed to the application shall be heard. 

            e.     The applicant or his representative may be heard in rebuttal. 

            f.     The Secretary or other staff member may summarize pertinent information and present the
                    recommendation of the staff. 

    6.     After the close of the public hearing, no person shall testify before the Commission and no other new
            evidence shall be received by it; provided, however, this rule shall not prohibit the members of the
            Commission from examining: 

            a.     The subject land and its surroundings, either before or after the public hearing, and reporting to
                    other members of the Commission. 

            b.     Any part of the Comprehensive Plan previously adopted or being considered. 

            c.     Any public record. 

            d.     Any file, report or map already in the Planning Office. 

            e.     Or requesting additional information from staff. 

    7.     Any applicant may voluntarily submit restrictive covenants with respect to the use of land in question.
            The applicant may impose conditions on the use and effectiveness of said restrictive covenants. Any
            restrictive covenants or conditions must comport with the same requirements as to form, signature
            and timing of submission for proffers in Section VII, paragraph 2 above. 

    8.     The applicant may withdraw any matter pending before the Commission at any time prior to the
            Commission acting on such matter. 

    9.     Within sixty-five (65) days following the closing of a public hearing, the Commission shall make a
            specific finding as to whether the change is consistent with the “Purpose of Chapter” of the zoning
            regulations prescribed in Chapter 90 of the County Code, or any subsequent amendments of the
            County Code and shall recommend that the application be granted, granted in modified form, or

  10.     No Commissioner shall participate, as a Commissioner, in any discussion or voting if his
            participation would violate the Virginia Conflict of Interest Act. 

  11.     Within fourteen (14) working days following the date of a decision, the Secretary shall transmit a
            written notice of the decision and the entire record to the Board of Supervisors, via the County
            Administrator’s Office. 

  12.     The Commission shall be allowed to table a request for up to 65 days from the meeting date of the
            public hearing so long as the Commission will hear such matter within applicable time limits. 


The foregoing bylaws and rules of procedure, or any part thereof, may be amended at any Meeting of the Commission after not less than twenty-four (24) hours notice has been given to all members of the Commission and a copy of the proposed amendment sent with the notice; provided, however, it shall require the concurring vote of a majority of the entire membership. 

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