Guidelines for Public Participation

Public participation is an important aspect of the planning process. Public input at public hearings can be given as verbal and/or written testimony, and while the time for verbal input is often limited to a few minutes for each speaker, there is no limit on written submissions.

The Planning Commission webpage provides helpful guidance on giving public input, including links to the Brown Act, the Governor's Office of Planning and Research, and to the agendas and minutes of the commission.

The 1982 Citizens Handbook (PDF) provides more information about public participation opportunities.

General Plan Update
When a general plan is written or amended, state law requires that the planning agency provide opportunities for involvement of public agencies, public utility companies, community groups and the general public through hearings or other appropriate methods (Government Code §65351).

State law requires at least 2 public hearings before a jurisdiction can adopt or amend a general plan; 1 by the Planning Commission and the other by the legislative body (in this case, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors).

Chapter 2 (Public Guide) 
Chapter 2 (Public Guide) of the draft General Plan is a guide to reading and using the plan. It describes the organization of the plan, the layout of a typical chapter, and the relationship of this document to other planning documents.

Chapter 3 (Governance)
Chapter 3 (Governance) of the draft General Plan describes the county's governance policies related to this plan, including public participation, environmental justice, sustainable development, and inter-governmental coordination. The stated goal for public participation is to have an "open, inclusive, and responsive process for public participation in county land use decision making."

Key Issues & Alternative Comparison Charts
Key issues and alternative comparison charts are being provided for each chapter of the draft General Plan to assist the public and decision makers. The key issues outline the major policy differences among the alternatives, and the alternative comparison charts clearly define the alternatives, in terms of goals, policies, standards, and implementation.

Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
State law requires that all state and local government agencies consider the environmental consequences of programs and projects over which they exercise discretionary authority before taking action on them. The public, along with local, regional, state and federal agencies, are invited to review the draft EIR and to provide comments.

The preparation of the draft General Plan requires review of environmental impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA provides information on several types of environmental analysis that can be used to analyze a project, and 1 of these is a program EIR.

Purpose & Requirements
The purposes of this EIR is to inform agencies and the public of significant environmental effects associated with the proposed program, identify ways to minimize significant effects of the program, and describe reasonable alternatives to the program that would avoid or reduce the program's significant effects (State CEQA Guidelines §15121[a]).

The draft EIR, comments and responses will all be presented to the county Board of Supervisors for consideration as they review the proposed General Plan. Prior to approval of this or any version of the General Plan, the Board of Supervisors must certify that an EIR (complete with comments and responses) adequately addresses the General Plan's potential environmental impacts in compliance with CEQA.

Opportunities for Comment
There will be numerous opportunities for public comment on both the EIR and the General Plan hearing drafts. The county is committed to providing draft hearing documents in a timely manner so that all interested parties have time to review and comment prior to the Planning Commission workshops and hearings. Our goal is to make meeting materials available for review 30 days prior to the meeting date.

View public comment documents and public meeting dates.