Speaking at Public Hearings

Local governments are sometimes required by state law to hold public hearings. A public hearing is primarily intended to obtain public testimony or comment before significant decisions are made.

The issues addressed in these public hearings may be contentious, may involve due process rights of private parties, and can generate litigation, so it is important for the city to follow proper hearing procedures.

Public Notice about City Council Meetings

Pursuant to Gov. Inslee’s Proclamation 20-28, in an effort to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus, City Council Meetings and Work Sessions are now taking place by teleconference. Councilmembers and the public will not attend in person.

To listen to the meeting without providing public comment:
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/92977133971
Or dial in at 1-888-475-4499 with meeting ID 929 7713 3971

Providing Testimony During a Public Hearing

Anyone wishing to provide written or verbal public comment must pre-register before noon on the day of the meeting using our Remote Public Comment form.

When applicable, the public hearing format is explicitly set forth on the agenda.

Speakers must give their name and address so that comments and speaker identification become part of the official record of the meeting.

The Mayor may indicate the amount of time available for each hearing. So that all persons shall have an opportunity to speak, the Mayor may limit the amount of time permitted each speaker until all persons have had an opportunity to speak.

Further testimony from those who have spoken will be taken in the remaining time. The public hearing may be continued at another date to take additional testimony when the existing available time is not sufficient.

Suggested Public Hearing Presentation Model

Suggested presentation model for precise, well-organized proposals:

  • Purpose: What is the idea you wish to present? Begin with an "I" statement outlining your idea, such as, "I am here to (support/oppose)..."
  • Reason: Why are you making this point? This is an important step so the listener does not make assumptions about your motives.
  • Example: Brief and relevant example to clarity and make your point concrete.
  • Summary: What condition will be changed or improved if your point is adopted?
  • Action: (If appropriate, depending on the situation) What needs to be done and who would do it?