Rules of Procedure

The following rules of procedure are adopted by the Planning and Zoning Commission to facilitate the performance of its duties and the exercising of its powers, as outlined in Article XI of the City Charter of the City of Springfield, Missouri.

Section 1 - Officers
1.1 Selection
During the first meeting in January of each year, the Commission shall select from the membership a Chairman and a Vice Chairman.  The Director of Planning and Development shall serve as Executive Secretary of the Commission.                                                                              

1.2 Tenure
The Chairman and Vice Chairman shall take office at the first meeting in January immediately following their selection and shall hold office for a term of one year or until their successors are selected and assume office.                                                                                                                           

1.3 Duties
The Chairman shall preside at all meetings, appoint committees, and perform such other duties as may be ordered by the Commission.

The Vice Chairman shall act in the capacity of the Chairman in his absence and in the event the office of the Chairman becomes vacant, the Vice Chairman shall succeed to this office for the unexpired term.

The Executive Secretary shall execute documents in the name of the Commission, perform the duties hereafter listed, and shall perform such other duties as the Commission may determine.

In the absence of the Director, the Zoning Administrator shall act in his capacity as Executive Secretary.

Section 2 - Meetings
2.1 Regular Meetings
The meetings of the Commission shall be held at 6:30pm in Room 315, City Hall. The first meeting of the month shall be held on the third Thursday preceding the last City Council meeting of each month. A second meeting shall also be held each month. The Commission shall determine the meeting dates for the following calendar year at their first meeting in December.  The second meeting of each month shall normally exclude from its agenda Subdivision Plats, Zoning District Amendment requests, Use Permits, Planned Unit Developments, Easements, and Vacations. The items on the table and items that in the discretion of the Executive Secretary warrant expedient action may be placed on the agenda of the second meeting.  Agendas for the regular meetings shall be given by the Executive Secretary to the members of the Commission at least seventy-two (72) hours prior to such meetings.              
2.2 Special Meetings
(a) Special meetings shall be called at the request of the Chairman, or at the request of five members of the Commission. Notice of special meetings shall be given by the Executive Secretary to the members of the Commission at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to such meeting and shall state the purpose and the time of the meeting.
(b) Meetings shall be automatically rescheduled to the following Thursday, unless such Thursday is a scheduled City holiday and then for the Thursday after such holiday, for the same time and location as previously noted on an agenda, advertisement or other notice of public hearing when:

1. There exists within the City of Springfield a state of emergency declared by the Mayor, the Director of the Springfield-Greene County Emergency Management Office, the Governor or the President, or their respective designees; or

2. Weather or other condition threatens safe travel to and from the meeting for the public, staff and commission members as determined solely at the discretion of the City Manager, the Director of the Springfield-Greene County Emergency Management Office, the Chair, or the Executive Secretary to the Commission, or their respective designees; or

3. The location of the meeting is not considered habitable or safe to remain within the structure at the discretion of the City Manager, the Director of the Springfield-Greene County Emergency Management Office, the Fire Chief, the Directors of Public Works, Building Development Services, or Health, the Chair, or the Executive Secretary to the Commission, or their respective designees. 

4. Should a meeting be automatically rescheduled under this Rule, the continuation of such shall be posted on at least two locations, at least one of which shall be the main entrance, at the address where the meeting was to be held unless posting itself poses as danger to staff to go to the location. If such danger exists, then posting notice at the two closest locations available to the public as determined by the Executive Secretary to the Commission, or his designee, shall be deemed sufficient notice. All practical methods to contact the applicants and public about the changes or cancellation will be used. In addition, upon such rescheduling, all public hearings and other proceedings requiring public notices shall be deemed to be continued and extended to such rescheduled date and time without need for new notices or advertisements with the exception of Chapter 610, RSMo.  

5. In the event the conditions leading to the rescheduling have not been alleviated by the rescheduled date and time, such hearings and proceedings shall be noticed and re-advertised in the same manner as previously done under the Land Development Code of the City of Springfield or other law or rule. (2/20/14)
2.3 Public Hearings
All regular and special meetings, hearings, records, and accounts shall be open to the public.  After presentation of testimony and exhibits at public hearings, the Public Hearing of the Commission shall be declared at an end by the Chairman, so that the Commission may make its decisions.
2.4 Quorum
Five (5) members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
2.5 Action by the Commission
Five (5) votes shall be required to either approve or disapprove any action on which the Commission has final authority and to approve or amend any plan or policy.  In the event the five (5) votes cannot be obtained, the item is automatically tabled and voted on at the Commission’s next scheduled meeting. If five votes are not obtained after three such votes, the item shall be deemed denied.

On actions on which the Commission acts as a recommending body to the City Council or to any other governmental body, a majority of those present at the time the vote is taken shall prevail.  In the event of a tie vote, the item shall be automatically tabled.

2.6 Order of Business, Agenda
The Secretary shall prepare an agenda for each meeting and the Order of Business therein shall be as follows:  
1.    Roll Call
2.    Approval of Minutes
3.    Communications           
4.    Finalization and Approval of Consent Items
5.    Unfinished Business
6.    Hearings
         a.    Vacations
         b.    Zoning Cases
         c.    Planned Developments
d.    Use Permits
         e.    Other Public Hearings
         f.     Subdivisions
g.    Other Business
7.    Reports
8.    New Business
9.    Adjournment

The Secretary shall place items that do not require a public hearing such as renewal of Subdivision Plats, Relinquishments of Easements, Offers to Dedicate and other similar requests, under Consent Items.  Any item placed under Consent Items may be removed from that portion of the agenda and moved to the appropriate portion for discussion, debate, and vote upon the request of a citizen, Commission member, or Executive Secretary.  Removal of any Consent Item shall be done prior to the Finalization of Consent Items.  After the Consent Items are finalized, no item of business shall be removed there from except by temporary suspension of Commission’s Rules of Procedure.  A Consent Item shall not be discussed unless the item is removed as stated above.  A single vote by the Commission shall recommend for approval or denial all Consent Items.  (7-1-1999) (9-9-1999)
2.7 Motions
Motions shall be made orally and such motions shall be restated by the Chair before a final vote is taken, and all oral motions shall be recorded by the Executive Secretary for the minutes of the Commission.
2.8 Staff Reports
At all hearings, the report and recommendations, if any, of the staff on the matter involved shall be presented to the Commission before action on any item is taken.
2.9 Commission Action
Action by Commission on any matter on which a public hearing is held shall not be taken until the hearing has been concluded.
2.10 Parliamentary Procedures
Parliamentary procedure in Commission meetings shall be governed by “Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised” except as specifically modified herein.
2.11 Recommendations Forwarded to Council
  1. Items receiving Commission recommendations whether positive or negative shall be automatically forwarded to City Council for final action.  It shall be the duty of the Executive Secretary, provided all notice requirements are satisfied, to place such items on the City Council agenda no later than the third Council meeting following the Commission meeting at which action is taken. (6-4-2015)
  2. Commission shall not forward a recommendation to City Council when the applicant or a person acting in his behalf did not appear and present evidence in regard to the applicant’s request for a change in zoning classification.

Section 3 - Duties of the Executive Secretary
3.1 Minutes
The Executive Secretary shall keep the minutes of each meeting of the Commission.
3.2 Communications, Petitions, Etc.
All communications, petitions, and reports shall be addressed to the Commission and delivered or mailed to the Executive Secretary.
Section 4 - Hearings
4.1 Regular Hearings
The Planning and Zoning Commission shall hold a public hearing on all proposed changes in classification.  Notice of the public hearing shall be given in accordance with the requirements of the Springfield City Code.  
4.1.1 Personal Notice
In addition to the above forms of notice of public hearing, notice of such hearing shall also be provided by regular mail no later than ten (10) days prior to the hearing to the record owners of property within the area proposed to be rezoned and within 185 feet of the property to be rezoned.  Reliance upon the information submitted by the applicant shall be deemed in compliance with this paragraph, and failure to give notice by mail or to actually receive such notice by mail without a clear showing of prejudice shall not be grounds to invalidate actions for which notice was to be provided.


1. Plats. For any preliminary plat application, notice of the hearing shall be posted at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing in conspicuous places on or in the immediate vicinity of the property which is the subject of the application.  One (1) sign shall be posted for each one hundred fifty (150) feet of street frontage, or part thereof, up to a maximum of three (3) signs, provided at least one (1) sign is posted on each frontage of the subject property.  Further provided, for preliminary plat applications involving more than one (1) block, one (1) sign is required for each street bounding or contained within the area to be platted.  Additional signs may be posted at the discretion of the Secretary of the Commission.  Signs shall conform to the requirements for posted notices contained in the Zoning Ordinance.  
4.1.2 Applicant
The applicant, or person acting in his behalf for consideration of items before the Commission, shall appear at the scheduled public hearing.  Failure to appear on requests for a change of zoning classification shall not bar the Commission from acting on the item.  Commission may, at its discretion, conduct the public hearing as scheduled, taking public comment from those in attendance.  Following public comment from those present, the Commission shall continue the public hearing for one meeting to allow the applicant to comment.  If no one is present to make comments on the change of zoning classification, the public hearing shall be continued for one meeting.  Commission may make its recommendation on change of zoning classification following the close of the public hearing at the following meeting.  Agenda items not involved a change in zoning classification may be acted upon at the discretion of the Commission in the absence of the applicant.  In the event the Commission does not elect to take action, the item shall be automatically continued once, and thereafter the Commission may act on the item.  (10-8-1998)
4.1.3 Requests for Tabling
Any applicant may request that the Commission table their application by submitting such request in writing to the Executive Secretary at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the scheduled meeting at which the applicant is to be considered.  If a request is made less than forty-eight (48) hours in advance of such meeting, the Commission may, upon good cause shown, table such item upon its own motion.            

4.1.4 Removal From Table by Applicant
If an applicant desires to have an application removed from the table, the applicant shall notify the Executive Secretary in writing at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting date.  If tabled to a specific meeting date, the applicant does not have to request removal for that date.  The Commission shall determine at the meeting whether or not it is appropriate to remove the application from the table as requested by the applicant.  

4.2 Recommendations
After such hearings, the Planning and Zoning Commission may, within its discretion, make one or more recommendations, together with pertinent principal reasons, in connection with each proposed change in zoning classification.  The recommendations will be in one of the following forms:

    1.  Recommend against the change in zoning;
    2.  Recommend the change in zoning;

    3.  Recommend the change in zoning for such area;


together with its recommendation as to requirements for the paving of streets, alleys, and sidewalks; means of ingress and egress to the public streets, provisions for drainage, parking spaces and street layouts, and protective screening in open spaces, and any other requirements which, within the discretion of the Planning and Zoning Commission, will protect adjacent property and secure substantially the purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance.


The recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission shall expire and cease to be valid if it is not reported to the City Council after ninety (90) days shall have passed immediately following the date it was made, thereby requiring the filing of a new application with the Commission in each instance.  Recommendations reported to City Council within ninety (90) days shall not expire, but shall continue to be valid so long as the case remains pending on the City Council agenda, active, or tabled.                   
(11-4-1993) (7-1-1999)

4.2.1 Reconsideration of Cases
The Planning and Zoning Commission may reconsider a case which it has previously denied, only when an applicant aggrieved by a final negative vote of the Commission delivers a written request for reconsideration to the Commission, as follows:


    1.    The request shall state that there is new or additional evidence not previously considered by the Commission which pertains to issues which caused the Commission to vote negatively on the case.  The request shall outline the substance of the new or additional evidence, and shall be delivered to the Executive Secretary of the Planning and Zoning Commission no later than 30 days after the date of the Commission’s negative vote, and no later than 20 days prior to a regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission.


    2.    Based solely on the reasons stated in the written request for reconsideration and testimony limited to the matters stated in the request for reconsideration, Commission may vote to allow reconsideration only upon an affirmative motion by a Commission who had previously voted against applicant’s case, passed by a majority of the Commission.  If reconsideration is approved, the case shall be heard only after full public notification in the same form and manner as would pertain to a new case.  The applicant shall bear the costs of all publications and notifications.               
4.3 Report of Action Taken
Each such recommendation made by the Planning and Zoning Commission, whether orally or by other methods, shall be reported by the Secretary of said Commission to the City Council, by applicable administrative procedure, and the applicant notified of the action of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Executive Secretary of the Planning and Zoning Commission shall set up and maintain a separate file for each application received and all records and files herein provided shall be permanent and official files of the City of Springfield. 
4.4 Report of Action Taken - When Filed
The Planning and Zoning Commission shall take action upon all matters before it following the close of the advertised public hearing upon such matter within two (2) regular meetings of the Commission at which such matters may be considered by the Commission.  An applicant to the Commission may waive this provision by filing in writing, a request that his matter be tabled or by requesting in person or by legal representative, that this matter be tabled, which personal request shall be followed by an identical request in writing.  If the Commission tables a matter upon such a request, Commission is required to take action upon such matter following bringing such matter off the table within two (2) regular meetings of the Commission at which such matter may be considered.  All matters tabled for a period of 180 days without substantive amendment or final action shall be denied and removed from the agenda without further action by the Commission.  The Commission shall file the report of action by it with the appropriate persons within twenty (20) days following the day action was taken.  In all cases, failure to meet the requirements of this section shall cause a matter to be considered approved by the Commission as submitted. 
4.5 Hearing Exhibits
Any part to any proceeding before the Commission shall, insofar as it may be possible, prepare and submit in advance for hearing, any exhibits proposed to be used in the proceeding, which said submission shall be made to the Commission by filing the same in the office of the Planning and Development Department of the City of Springfield.  The applicant and other proponents shall submit exhibits at least ten (10) days in advance of the hearing; the Planning and Development Department, other governmental agencies and departments, and opponents of the applicant’s request shall submit exhibits at least five (5) days in advance of the hearing.  Such exhibit shall be identified as to the party who intends to sponsor the exhibit and shall be consecutively numbered or lettered.  All material so submitted shall be deemed a public record and shall be open for inspection and copy by any person whomsoever.  Any exhibit not so filed shall be admitted by the Commission only upon a clear showing as determined by a majority vote of the Commission that such filing was not in good faith reasonably possible.
4.6 Hearing Testimony
It shall be the burden of the applicant in any case before the Commission to present sufficient facts and testimony that an affirmative decision by the Commission in favor of the applicant will be based upon substantial evidence upon the whole record of proceedings before the Commission.  Nothing shall prohibit any member of the Commission inquiring of any witness or party at any time during the proceedings upon any fact of matter relating to the proceedings, but it shall not be the duty of the Commission to supply any deficiencies in or to seek to provide facts in any proceedings.
4.7 Manner of Addressing Commission - Time Limit
Each person addressing the Commission shall step up to the podium, give his name and address for the record, and unless further time is granted by the Commission, shall limit his address to five (5) minutes.  All remarks shall be addressed to the Commission as a body and not to any member thereof.  No person, other than the Commission and the person having the floor shall be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through a member of the Commission without the permission of the Chairman.  No question shall be asked of a member of the Commission except through the presiding officer.
4.8 Decorum
1.    No person shall make personal, impertinent, or slanderous remarks, nor otherwise disturb the order and decorum of any Commission meeting.

2.    No person shall carry or display a sign inside the room wherein the Commission is meeting, or any other similar type of written communication which is carried or displayed, except nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit a person from using visual materials when presenting a matter to the Commission.  The Commission hereby determines that signs or displays in the meeting room may obstruct the view of citizens, can cause injury, and affect the decorum of Commission meetings, and are hereby prohibited for such reasons.  The Sergeant-at-Arms shall inform citizens when signs or displays violate this section and shall remove the signs or displays from the meeting room or may cause citizens carrying such signs or displays to be removed from the meeting room.

3.    The Sergeant-at-Arms, at the direction of the Chairman, shall remove any person violating the provisions of this section.  The Chief of Police, or such members of the Police Department as he may designate, shall be Sergeant-at-Arms of the Commission meetings.  He shall carry out all orders and instructions given by the Chairman for the purpose of maintaining order and decorum at the Commission meetings.  

Section 5 - Standing Committees

5.1 Council Liaison Committee
shall be composed of not less than three (3) members. Its duties shall be to communicate with the Council regarding plans, policies, procedures, work programs, budget requests, and other items of mutual interest.

5.2 Governmental Liaison Committee
shall be composed of not less than three (3) members. Its duties shall be to communicate with the Greene County Planning Commission and other local governments regarding plans, policies, programs, regulations, and other matters of mutual interest.
5.3 Special Committees
From time to time and as circumstances warrant, the commission may establish special committees to assist the commission in the conduct of its business.
5.4 Appointment: Reassignment
The Chairman shall appoint all committee members and shall designate one member as Chairman, for one year, expiring with the calendar year, and until his successor has been appointed and qualified.  The Chairman may reassign members or re-designate chairmen, when, in his discretion, the situation requires anything hereto, to the contrary notwithstanding. 
5.5 Meetings of Committees
All committees shall meet at the call of the Chairman, provided that the Chairman of this Commission shall request the chairman to call a special meeting of any committee at any time upon such notice as he may specify and in the event of noncompliance may issue the call in his name.  The Executive Secretary shall issue notice of meetings at the request of the Chairman. 
5.6 Quorum Ratification
A majority of the members appointed shall constitute a quorum of all committees.  When it appears that a quorum may not be present at any committee meeting, the Chairman of this Commission may designate other members of this Commission as temporary members of such committee with full rights for that particular meeting.  In the absence of a quorum, any member who was present may join in making a recommendation to the Commission, and if, by so doing, a majority action results, same may be received; but such ratifying action shall be called to the attention of the Commission at the time of presenting same.
5.7 Cooperation with Interested Groups
When thought to be helpful, the Chairman of any Standing or Special Committee may request the Director to invite any interested party to appear before the Commission.
Section 6 - Behavior / Ethics
6.1 Member Service
Membership on the Planning and Zoning Commission is accepted as public service.  Members are appointed by the City Council for a term of four (4) years and until their successors are appointed and qualified.  Any member who misses three (3) consecutive regular meetings of the Planning and Zoning Commission shall be deemed to have resigned unless the City Council reaffirms such appointment.  Any member may be removed from the Planning and Zoning Commission by action of the City Council.  The removal of any such member shall be in accordance with Article IV, Section 15.6 of the Charter and notification of such removal shall be made in writing stating the reasons for such removal and sent to such member at his residence address by United States Mail.
6.2 Commissioners Unpaid
Commissioners are unpaid.  When Commissioners attend meetings for the benefit of the Commission, staff or City Planning for Springfield generally, expenses may be paid in full or in part by the City of Springfield as provided by current rules and regulations; such reimbursed travel must be indicated in the annual budget officially approved by the City Council.
6.3 Case Discussion
Except at public meetings of the Commission, its members do not discuss the resolution of specific cases scheduled or likely to come before the Commission, with applicants, their representatives, or others with a direct interest.
6.4 Personal Interest
A member of the Commission who has some personal or financial interest in any case presented to the Commission shall disqualify himself as the particular case is concerned, shall not sit as a member of the Commission during the hearing of the particular case, and shall not participate in the Commission’s hearing and decision in such case.
6.5 Implied Conflict
In cases where an implied conflict of interest exists, a Commissioner abstains from voting and from participation in the hearing.
6.6 Representing Commission
Each Commissioner decides which invitations to attend or participate in public and private functions, he can appropriately accept as a member of the Commission.  He is careful to indicate when he is representing the Commission, rather than acting or speaking for himself.  Such allied efforts, contributing to the work and purposes of City Planning in Springfield are unpaid, except when infrequently acceptance of out-of-pocket expenses is necessary to make possible the constructive participation; in such instances, the Commission is officially consulted or advised.
6.7 Employment not Qualification
Commissioners do not engage in any private or profitable employment, or in any personal business transaction in which the fact of membership on the Commission or any knowledge of its actions unique to membership would be qualification for such employment or a significant reason for the personal business transaction.
6.8 Gifts
Commissioners do not accept gifts from applicants, their representatives, or other persons and institutions concerned with matters which have been or might come before the Commission. However well intended acceptance of such gifts could lead to misconceptions by prospective donors or the public generally.
6.9 Meeting Conduct
City Planning and Zoning Commissioners shall conduct themselves at Commission meetings in a fair, understanding, and as gracious a manner as circumstances permit.  They shall seek to be considerate of all individuals, attitudes, and the difference of opinion almost always involved.
6.10 Commissioner Responsibility
In his behavior and actions, each City Planning and Zoning Commissioner is keenly aware of the Commission’s responsibility, together with the City Planning staff, to plan for Springfield as a whole in all primary aspects, both with respect to the present and long-range future.  Numerous organizations and individuals contribute significantly to one or several elements of the City, but very few are obliged to continuously consider the entire physical City, its present population and condition, and its future development and inhabitants.
Section 7 - Miscellaneous
7.1 Amendment to Rules of Procedure
The rules of procedure of this Commission shall be amended only with five (5) affirmative votes.  Any proposed amendment or rescission of rules shall be voted upon only after the same has been reduced to writing, filed with the Secretary of the Commission and read at the regular meeting immediately preceding the meeting at which the same is voted upon.  Debate on the proposed amendment or rescission shall be permitted at both the meeting where the proposed amendment or rescission was read and at the meeting where it is to be voted upon.

7.2 Forms
In all cases, the application shall contain the name, address, and telephone number of the applicant, the name and address of the record owner of property proposed to be rezoned, a plot plan with accompanying legal description of the property proposed to be rezoned and a list of the record owners of property within 185 feet of the property proposed to be rezoned properly certified by a recognized abstractor.
Passed April 22, 1957. Last Amended August 6, 2015