At their recent meeting on Monday, Feb. 5, the Rolla City Council had several items of old business to address, the first of which was the continued discussion on improving the way the council notifies residents about public hearings, specifically those held for changes in land use within the city.

The topic has come up at several recent city council meetings, with several ideas being discussed by council members and residents alike. It was concluded in the Dec. 18 meeting the Community Development Department would “provide the City Council with a new notification method proposal,” according to council documents.

The department recommended several notification procedures be adopted.

*Notifications made through Rolla’s Government website and social media
*The posting of physical signs on each street on each side of the subject parcel
*Mailings sent out to the owners of the subject parcel, and property owners within 300 feet of the property. The current mailing range is 185 feet.
* The continued advertisement in an official paper, including the time and place of the hearing, and if space allows, a description of the proposal.

The council documents relating to the change in notifications said the new methods would increase the costs of notifications by either $100 or $200, depending on the type of notification. It was proposed the fees for the proposals be increased by an equal amount.

To post online, post signs and increase the mail perimeter, the increased cost is about $100, according to council documents. The current cost of posting an advertisement is approximately $100, bringing the total cost to the city for these notifications to $200. Variances and major subdivisions, according to council documents, are the only land use action proposals that do not currently receive newspaper advertisements. These two types of actions are proposed to receive $200 increases are proposed to receive $200 increases in fees while all other types are proposed to receive $100 fee increases.

According to council documents, “the average recovery rate of the cost of processing land use action proposals is 26 percent.” The term “processing” includes staff review, which includes report and presentation creation, presentations made to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council and conducting the actual notification and communicating with the applicant.

“Public notification helps to ensure that the public is aware of such proposals and has the appropriate opportunity to provide input on the government’s regulation of the use of private property,” reads the document relating to the matter. It also said that because this regulation is considered a public service, the city does not expect the full costs to be recovered. However without an increase of fees, the recovery will go from an average of 26 percent to 23 percent.

It has been more than ten years since the city has examined all of the application fees, according to the council documents. It was also recommended that the cost recovery for application processing be examined during the next evaluation of the city’s budget.

The council members elected to pass the ordinance, implementing these methods and increasing the ways they keep residents notified about changes in public land use.

The council discussed several other items of business, including the closing out of the Terla Inc. Chapter 100 project and the enacting of a Bicycle Pedestrian Committee, which will be discussed later this week by the Rolla Daily News, along with special presentations made by the Rolla Public Library and Brewer Science.