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CAMARILLO : City Considers Limits on Comments by Public

August 30, 1993|MAIA DAVIS

Camarillo residents who like to complain early and often to the City Council about proposed development projects or other city matters may have to hold their tongues until the council holds formal hearings on those issues.

City Atty. Thomas J. Flandrick is suggesting that council members consider restricting public comment to help protect against lawsuits from people unhappy with city decisions.

Flandrick said he became concerned after opponents of a proposed Gold Coast Recycling Co. plant began protesting at council meetings months before the project was due to come up for a vote.

In the case of Gold Coast, the company dropped its plans for the recycling center before the council considered the project.

But Flandrick said such advance protests could cause problems in the future.

Legally, councils are required to decide on projects only on the basis of information and public comments presented in public hearing, Flandrick said. When council members listen to protests outside of a scheduled public hearing, they may open themselves up to charges that their decisions were influenced by early complaints.

Flandrick's suggestion will be considered by the council's policy and procedures committee before going to a full council vote.

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