The Council provides opportunities for public comment at all Regular Meetings. If warranted, the Council may vote to suspend its rules to allow for more public comment.
Regular meetings are opportunities for Council discussion and for the Council to gain information on particular items from staff. These items are listed on the agenda as Study Items. The Council may also take final action on business listed on the agenda under Action Items. Usually, when an item is scheduled for action on a meeting agenda, it is the second time the item has been before the Council. The Council has had the opportunity to hear from staff and the public and to discuss the item in detail and is prepared to make a final decision.
At the beginning of regular meetings, the public is invited to provide input on agenda items, which are not of a quasi-judicial nature, or any topic not on the agenda. Below are the procedures that will be followed for public comment:
- During the “Public Comment” portion of regular meetings, members of the public may address the City Council for three (3) minutes on any topic including agenda items.
- The total “Public Comment” period will be no more than 30 minutes.
- If more than 10 people are signed up to speak each speaker will be allocated two (2) minutes.
- Individuals will be required to sign up prior to the start of the Public Comment period and those individuals wishing to speak to agenda items will be called to speak first, generally in the order in which they have signed.
- If time remains, individuals wishing to speak to items not listed on the agenda will be called to speak.
During election season, no person may use the public comment portion of a meeting to promote or oppose any candidate for public office.
Sometimes the City Council acts on land use requests, such as subdivision requests, street vacations, and small rezones. These are called quasi-judicial items since Councilmembers act as judges and consider evidence for and against the proposal. To be fair, the City Council only takes public input on such items during a public hearing. Often, the City’s appointed Hearing Examiner has already conducted a public hearing before the item comes to the Council. In these cases, the Council acts on the record made before the Hearing Examiner and does not hear further public comment.
Public hearings give citizens a chance to tell the City Council what they think about the subject of the hearing. Some hearings are required by law because of the subject matter and some may be scheduled to obtain as much public input on a subject as possible. After everyone has spoken, the hearing is closed and Councilmembers discuss the issue. They may make a decision at that time or may continue the item to another meeting for the ultimate decision.
Executive SessionThe only portion of a City Council meeting that is not open to the public is the executive session. State law authorizes executive sessions to be held when confidentiality is required and public disclosure would harm individual interests or the legitimate interests of the City. Executive sessions are conducted to discuss issues such as buying or selling property, personnel matters, litigation or pending litigation. Before the City Council conducts the executive session, the Mayor must announce the reason for the executive session and the approximate length of time it will take.
Guidelines and Tips
- When your name is called, step to the podium and speak clearly into the microphone.
- Please be advised that each speaker's testimony is being recorded.
- Give your name and city of residence.
- Remember time limits and make sure you have time for your most important points.
- Speakers are strongly encouraged to write their remarks down and submit them to the City Clerk.
- Try not to repeat what others have said, but highlight those issues that have not been already raised.
- If more than five (5) speakers wish to speak on the same topic and hold the same position, pick one or two spokesperson(s) and have all those who agree raise their hands.
- All comments should be addressed to the Presiding Officer, not individual Councilmembers, staff or members of the audience.
- Questions will usually not be answered during a speaker’s turn at the podium, but may be addressed by the City Manager at the end of the public comment period.
- Most issues have multiple solutions. Offer constructive suggestions and listen to what the other side has to say.
Online Comment - A Convenient Alternative to In-person Testimony
The Shoreline City Council Values community input and looks forward to hearing from you on agenda items. If you are not able to attend a council meeting, you may comment electronically by submitting a comment form. Your comments will become part of the official meeting record as public testimony. If your comments are submitted before 4:00 p.m. on the day of the City Council meeting, your comments will be distributed to the City Council and appropriate staff prior to the Council meeting that evening as well as posted on the City's website under public comment in the Document Library.
NOTICE OF DISCLOSURE
The City of Shoreline will enter all comments received into the the public record and may make these comments, and any attachments or other supporting materials, available unchanged, including any business or personal information (name, email address, phone, etc.) that you provide available for public review. This information may be released on the City's website. Comments received are part of the public record and subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56.
Do not include any information in your comment or supporting materials that you do not wish to be made public, including name and contact information.
Other Ways to Communicate with Council and City Staff
It is important to remember that public comment is only one of many ways in which the public can communicate with Councilmembers and City staff. Below is a list of other ways:
- Mail: City of Shoreline, 17500 Midvale Avenue N, Shoreline, WA 98133-4905
- Contact the City Council Comment Form
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Comments: To provide input on agenda items online via the web, simply complete the form that is part of the online agenda. Your comments will become part of the official meeting record as public testimony.
- Council: (206) 801-2213
- City main line: (206) 801-2700
- ShorelineWA.Gov Contact Us Form: Individuals can also use the web Contact Form.
- Public Comment Cards: Public comment cards are available at the back table during Council meetings. Individuals are encouraged to write their comments on the cards and leave them with the City Clerk.