Public Hearings

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At the Town of Cary, we believe an involved citizenry is the hallmark of a strong community and an effective government, as is shown on the Town’s organizational chart depicting citizens at the top. Cary’s Town Council and staff provide many opportunities for citizens to  get involved in our local government, including the opportunity to participate in public hearings.


WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE MEETING AND DURING A PUBLIC HEARING

When you arrive in the Cary Town Hall Council Chambers (316 N. Academy St.), look for the seating area reserved for speakers. Underneath these reserved seats you’ll find a contact card and a pen. Please complete this card before speaking; information on this card is a public record and will be shared with others if requested as required by North Carolina law. The main purpose of providing this information is to make sure we spell your name correctly in the minutes (the written record of the meeting) and give us a way to follow up with you if necessary.

The mayor and the chair of the appointed boards serve as the group’s presiding officer. For all public hearings, the presiding officer will call on a staff member to present details about the case, and then allow the applicant, if applicable, to present the case. The presiding officer will then open the public hearing for individuals who want to speak to come to the podium one at a time.

Please bring your contact card with you as you approach the podium from the aisle directly behind the clerk, and give it to the clerk. You’ll speak from the podium closest to the clerk. Thanks for following these public hearing guidelines:

  • If you have handouts to share, please bring 11 copies, and give the copies to the clerk as you approach the podium. Do not approach Council with the handouts; the clerk will distribute the copies for you.
  • Adjust the microphone on the podium as necessary to ensure it’s at the appropriately height for you.

  • Speak into the microphone by first stating your name.

  • Be concise with your remarks; it may help to write your comments before the meeting to ensure you capture your important points.

  • Avoid repetition; if other speakers before you have already made a certain point, then please don’t repeat those comments.

  • Designate a spokesperson for groups; this is the most effective way to relay the points of groups to avoid repetition. The spokesperson may recognize the group by asking them to stand.

  • Limit comments to five minutes or less. There’s a timer on the podium. You’ll see a green light the first 4 minutes and 30 second, a yellow light the last 30 seconds, and a flashing red light when your time has expired. The presiding officer will politely interrupt you to remind you that your time has expired and will call the next speaker to the podium.

  • Direct comments to the full Town Council and not to an individual Town Council member.

  • This is your opportunity to make your comments. The group conducting the hearing will listen and take your comments into consideration; they do not engage in two-way dialog during the hearing.

Thanks for helping us ensure a successful business meeting and a productive public hearing. In doing so, please refrain from applauding and speaking from the audience.

The Town of Cary is committed to providing everyone the opportunity to fully participate in the public meeting process. Please contact the town clerk at least 48 hours before the meeting if you need an auxiliary aid or other accommodation in order to participate in a public hearing. The email is virginia.johnson@townofcary.org; the phone number is (919) 460-4941; the TDD number is (919) 469-4012.


WHY HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING

Public hearings are often required by federal, state or local law. These hearings allow the decision-makers, including the Town Council and some of the Town’s appointed boards, to receive and consider public views before deciding or making recommendations on important issues that impact Cary citizens. This process is an opportunity for members of the public to share their thoughts before decisions are made. Below are a few examples of Town Cary public hearings:
  • The Town’s budget, including property tax rate
  • The Town’s comprehensive plan, which includes the following plans: land uses; parks, recreation and cultural resources; growth management; affordable housing; transportation; open space; and historic preservation
  • Rezonings, when a property owner or developer wants to change the use of the property from one use or density to another
  • Owner-initiated annexations, when property owners want their properties to be part of the Town of Cary corporate limits
  • Amendments to the Land Development Ordinance, which is a compilation of the Town of Cary’s local laws regulating how land may be developed within Cary and its planning jurisdiction (including zoning, subdivision of land, building appearance, landscaping, signs, parking, and other aspects of development)

Notices of all Town of Cary public hearings will be posted to the Town of Cary’s Public Notices Portal in advance of the meeting date to meet federal, state and local notification requirements. A detailed staff report will be linked to the notice prior to the meeting and will include a contact person in the event you have questions about the particular case. We encourage you to seek answers to your questions before the meeting.

Citizens who wish to receive notification of upcoming public hearings may sign-up to join the Town’s email subscription service and will receive a weekly email of all the upcoming public hearings.


WHEN THERE IS A PUBLIC HEARING

The elected Town Council and the appointed Planning and Zoning BoardZoning Board of Adjustment, and Historic Preservation Commission conduct public hearings. The Town Council meets three times in most months—two regular meetings and one quasi-judicial meeting, all of which may contain public hearings. The Planning and Zoning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, and Historic Preservation Commission each meet once per month, and all of their meetings may include public hearings. Refer to the Town’s Meetings and Events Calendar for specific dates, times and location.


QUASI-JUDICIAL PUBLIC HEARINGS

Quasi-judicial public hearings are different from other public hearings in that they resemble a court hearing where testimony is presented. There are special rules that pertain to these hearings. Learn more about development plan quasi-judicial hearings and special use quasi-judicial hearings.

SPEAKING AT MEETINGS ABOUT TOPICS THAT ARE NOT PUBLIC HEARINGS

At the beginning of each regular Town Council Meeting agenda, up to one hour is reserved for “Public Speaks Out.” This is the time for the public to make comments on any issue that’s not a public hearing at that meeting. The guidelines (shown above) for public hearings apply, except speakers have up to three minutes to make their remarks.

Additionally, you’re always welcome to email the Town Council at town.council@townofcary.org.

There is no public speaks out opportunity at the Town Council quasi-judicial meetings or the Planning and Zoning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment meetings.


QUESTIONS?

Contact
Virginia Johnson
Town Clerk
Town Clerk's Office
(919) 460-4941
(919) 469-4012 (TDD)
virginia.johnson@townofcary.org