A proposed sunshine ordinance for Avon, 12-02

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AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING MEMBERS OF THE AVON PLANNING COMMISSSION, ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS, AND CITY COUNCIL FROM HAVING EX-PARTE CONTACT WITH COMMERCIAL DEVELOPERS HAVING APPLICATIONS BEFORE THEIR RESPECTIVE BODY

[Proposed by Councilmen Gerald Gentz and Mark Julius;

EX-PARTE (or ex parte) (Latin) means 'By or for one party.' It refers to situations in which only one party meets with a public official, excluding those with other opinions and avoiding public scrutiny.]

WHEREAS, Council deems it necessary for the governance of the City that all business with commercial developers be executed in open forum in full view of the public; and

WHEREAS, Council believes that governmental business must be conducted openly if government is to maintain its integrity and credibility and earn the public's unqualified trust; and

WHEREAS, the City Council, Planning Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals may, by law, only meet following due notice to the public with the clear intent being that all matters before those bodies be subject to public overview, scrutiny, and comment;

Now, therefore, be it ordained by the Council of avon, Lorain County, Ohio:

Section 1: Members of the City Council, Planning Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals shall not have ex-parte contact with a commercial developer applicant or his or her representative(s) with business before their respective body. If an applicant or his or her representative(s) makes any such contact, the member shall refer the applicant to the appropriate City staff person. If the applicant or his or her representative(s) persists in offering information by way of ex-parte contact, the member shall report these contacts and may decline to participate in the deliberation and discussion of the case.

Section 2: Whenever a member of City Council, Planning Commission, or Zoning Board of Appeals receives any ex-parte material or representation regarding any concept plan, rezoning, preliminary development plan, or original plat, such member shall disclose the identity of the person providing such material or representation on the record at the regular meeting of their respective body at which the matter is considered.

Section 3: That it is found and determined that all formal actions of this Council concerning and relating to the passage of this Ordinance were adopted in an open meeting of this Council, and that all deliberations of this Council and of any of its committees that resulted in such formal actions were in meetings open to the public, in compliance with al legal requirements, including Section 121.22 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Section 4: That this Ordinance shall take effect and be in force at the earliest date allowed by law.

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