Shawnee County Planning Department

Enforcement Support Development.


Article I

Section 1. Name.

The name of this organization, established by Shawnee County Home Rule Resolution No. 2003-14, is the Shawnee County Planning Commission. The term “Commission” in the following sections shall mean the Shawnee County Planning Commission. The Planning Commission’s purpose is to promote the orderly development of the county, hear appeals and variances from the administration of zoning regulations and advise the County Commission. As per Resolution No. 2004-45, the Planning Commission is also designated as the Shawnee County Board of Zoning Appeals with all the attendant duties as prescribed in KSA 12-759. The Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals (hereinafter referred to as “Board”) shall convene as separate bodies for the transaction of business.

Section 2. Membership.

Membership of the Commission/Board shall be as established by the above-cited resolutions, which specifies the number, method of appointment, and term of office.

Section 3. Duties.

  1. As provided for by State and County law, the duties of the Planning Commission shall be:
    1. To cause to be prepared, adopted and maintained an official Comprehensive Plan;
    2. To annually review the Comprehensive Plan and to report any conclusions to the Board of County Commissioners (KSA 12-747);
    3. To determine the conformance to the Comprehensive Plan of public improvements, facilities or utilities of a type embraced within the recommendations of the Plan which are proposed for construction or authorization and to report upon such conformance or nonconformance within 60 days to the Board of County Commissioners (KSA 12-748);
    4. To prepare, adopt and maintain Subdivision Regulations for the unincorporated area of the County, to recommend the approval of such regulations to the Board of County Commissioners, and to process and approve plats and to transmit them to the Board of County Commissioners for its action thereon (KSA 749,750,751,752);
    5. To prepare, adopt and maintain Zoning Regulations, to recommend the approval of such regulations to the Board of County Commissioners, and to hold hearings and make recommendations on all amendments and rezoning applications (KSA 12-752,753,754,755,756,757,758);
    6. To submit to the Board of County Commissioners on or before the first day of June of each year a proposed budget for the ensuing year to carry out the planning program (KSA 12-746); and
    7. To hold hearings, provide plans for and/or make recommendations on such other matters as may be periodically assigned to the Commission by the Board of County Commissioners or as may be otherwise provided by law.
  2. Board of Zoning Appeals duties shall be:
    1. To hear and determine appeals by any person or governmental body affected by a determination of any officer administering the provisions of the zoning regulations (KSA 12-759(d)); and
    2. To hear and grant variances from the specific provisions of the zoning regulations where owing to special conditions a literal enforcement of said provisions will, in an individual case, result in an unnecessary hardship. (KSA 12-759(e))

Article II

Purpose of By-Laws

Section 1. By-Laws.

The purpose of these by-laws is to establish rules for the internal organization of the Commission/Board and for procedures of operation. Unless otherwise noted, the by-laws apply when the Commission sits as the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Section 2. Commission.

The function, powers, and duties of the Commission are as authorized by state law and by county resolution. With some exceptions, actions of the Commission are recommendations only and subject to approval by the County Commission. The Commission, however, adopts its own rules and policies for procedure, consistent with its powers.

Section 3. Board.

The function, powers, and duties of the Board are as authorized by state law and by county resolution. Actions of the Board are appealable to District Court as provided by State law. The Board shall adopt procedural rules and policies consistent with its powers.

Article III


Section 1. Officers.

The officers of the Commission shall be a chairperson and a vice-chairperson. The initial Commission shall elect a chairperson and vice-chairperson at its first meeting who shall serve terms of office until January 2005. Thereafter the Commission shall elect a chairperson and vice-chairperson in January of each year. Their term of office shall be one (1) year. No person may serve more than two (2) consecutive terms. The Director of Planning or his/her selected representative shall serve as secretary to the Commission.

The Board officers shall be those officers elected as Commission officers.

Section 2. Chairperson.

The chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Commission/Board. The chairperson shall appoint all committees and be an ex-officio member of all committees. The chairperson shall also be a voting member of the Commission/Board. The chairperson shall perform all the duties assigned to his/her office by law and by the County Commission.

Section 3. Vice-Chairperson.

The vice-chairperson shall act as chairperson in the absence of the chairperson. In the absence of both the chairperson and vice-chairperson, the members present at such meeting shall elect a chairperson pro-tempore. In the event the office of chairperson becomes vacant, the vice-chairperson shall succeed to that office for the unexpired term, and the Commission/Board shall select a new vice-chairperson for the unexpired term at the next regular meeting.

Section 4. Secretary.

The secretary of the Commission/Board shall be the County’s Planning Director. The secretary shall prepare the agenda and the order of business for each regular meeting of the Commission/Board in consultation with the chairperson. Specifically, the secretary shall record all votes taken by name, indicating whether the member voted in the affirmative or negative or abstained, and shall transmit a copy of said record to the County Commission following each meeting of the Commission/Board. The secretary shall also keep the Commission/Board informed on all communications. The secretary shall record the minutes of all meetings and shall provide copies to all members of the Commission/Board, the County Commission and other public agencies involved. The secretary shall act on behalf of the Commission/Board in the following matters, provided that matter shall first be presented to the Commission/Board if there appears to be a serious conflict of interest, public controversy, or the like:

  1. Represent the Commission on planning matters at all meetings of the County Commission;
  2. Prepare or present plans, policies or procedures established by the Commission/Board;
  3. Prepare the annual budget and review it with the Commission;
  4. Accept and prepare all routine communications on planning matters;
  5. Give or serve all notices required by law, these by-laws or adopted procedures; and
  6. Maintain complete records of all matters coming before the Commission/Board.

Further, the secretary shall be responsible to advise the chairperson directly, and the Commission/Board as a whole, on matters regarding annual requirements for document reviews and deadlines and content requirements for submission of various reports and documents to local governing bodies, the State of Kansas, and federal offices.

Section 5. Committees.

The chairperson of the Commission/Board may appoint special study committees.

Section 6. Attendance.

Any member who is absent from three (3) consecutive regular meetings without having been previously excused by the chair shall have such absences reported by the chairperson to the County Commission. Members who accrue more than four (4) unexcused absences within any 12 consecutive month period may be removed for cause by the County Commission.

Section 7. Planning Department.

The Planning Department shall provide professional and technical assistance to the Commission/Board. Staff planners shall present recommendations of the Commission to the County Commission. Recommendations of the professional staff, minutes of the Commission meeting, and other relevant material shall be presented to the County Commission with the recommendations of the Commission. The Planning Department shall also provide technical assistance to the County Commission and to other boards, commissions and agencies as is deemed appropriate by the Planning Director or County Commission.

Article IV


Section 1. Regular Meetings.

Commission. The Planning Commission shall convene for its first meeting at such time and place as shall be fixed by the Chairperson of the County Commission, and shall therefore proceed to organize and elect officers and fix and determine time and place of future meeting, which meetings shall not be less than four (4) times per year. These meetings shall be held at such time and place as designated by a majority of the entire Commission or respective standing committee and shall be announced through notice provided to the Executive Secretary of the Shawnee County Board of Commissioners. If the regular meeting falls on a holiday, that meeting shall automatically be held on the next day which is not a holiday unless the Commission, by formal action, sets a special meeting day. All regular and special meetings of the Commission shall be open and the public shall be permitted to attend.

Board. The Board of Zoning Appeals shall meet at least annually and otherwise shall meet as necessary to consider applications. Meetings shall be held at such time and place as designated by a majority of the entire Board and shall be announced through notice provided to the Executive Secretary of the Shawnee County Board of Commissioners. All regular and special meetings of the Board shall be open and the public shall be permitted to attend.

Section 2. Informational Meeting.

The Commission may conduct an informational meeting to review and become familiar with issues appearing on the next regular meeting agenda. The meeting is between the Planning Department staff and Commission solely for the purpose of familiarizing Commission members with individual items appearing before them at their next regular meeting. No action shall be taken nor indication of the manner in which the Commission or individual Commission members intend to vote. The Commission may request additional information be provided at the regular meeting regarding an individual agenda item. The Planning Director shall give notice of an informational meeting not less than three (3) business days in advance of the meeting. These study sessions, while open to the public, are not public hearings and, as such, public comment will not be permitted.

Section 3. Special Meetings.

Special meetings of committees or the Commission/Board may be called by the respective chairperson. Such meetings shall also be called at the request of a majority of the committee or Commission/Board. The Planning Director shall give notice of special meetings not less than three (3) business days prior to the meeting. The notice shall state the purpose, time and place of the meeting. Notice shall be by mail or e-mail to the address provided by the member to the secretary.

Section 4. Agenda.

Agendas for all regular meetings shall be available at the Planning Department at least one (1) week prior to the meetings. Between meetings of the Commission/Board, the planning staff will be available to provide information on matters which come or have come before the Commission/Board.

Section 5. Quorum Requirements.

A quorum of the Commission/Board shall consist of four (4) members. A quorum of a special study committee shall consist of a majority of the members of the study committee. No official business shall be conducted by the Commission/Board or committees in the absence of a quorum. Study committees may meet if at least two (2) members are present but no recommendation shall be made except by a majority vote of a quorum of such committee. In the absence of a quorum at any meeting, the presiding officer after consultation with those members present may adjourn the meeting to a specified date, time and place. A quorum is not lost when a member or members abstain from voting.

Section 6. Open Meetings.

All meetings of the Commission/Board and study committees shall be open to the public except that closed sessions may be held in accordance with the provisions of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Section 7. Voting Requirements.

Except as otherwise provided by state law requiring a higher number of affirmative votes, any matter requiring that a recommendation be made to the County Commission shall require the affirmative votes of not less than a majority of the quorum present at such meeting. Matters pertaining to Board actions, administration of the planning department and action of a study committee shall require only a simple majority vote of a quorum.

Article V

Conduct of Meetings

Section 1. Parliamentary Authority.

Meetings shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order in all cases where they are applicable and not inconsistent with these by-laws and the Commission’s/Board’s adopted Rules of Procedure. The County Counselor shall interpret all issues arising under Robert’s Rules.

Section 2. Staff Reports.

Staff reports on all agenda items shall be prepared and transmitted to the Commission/Board members a minimum of three (3) days prior to the time of the meeting.

Section 3. Order of Business.

The order of business at regular meetings shall be as follows unless the chairperson desires to rearrange individual items for the expeditious conduct of business:

  1. Call to Order and Announcement of Hearing Procedure
  2. Roll Call and Declaration of a Quorum
  3. Approval of Minutes
  4. Declaration of Conflict of Interest by Members of Commission or Staff
  5. Communications
  6. Public Hearing Items
  7. Public Comment of Non Agenda Planning and Zoning Items
  8. Discussion of Planning Related Issues
  9. Adjournment

Section 4. Order of Public Hearing.

The chairperson shall announce the public hearing item and shall proceed in the following order:

  1. Presentation of staff report and recommendation.
  2. Questions of staff by the Commission/Board.
  3. Presentation by applicant and representatives.
  4. Questions of applicant/representative by the Commission/Board.
  5. Public hearing opened by chairperson for public comment:
  6. Call for comments of proponents; questions by Commission/Board.
  7. Call for comments of opponents; questions by Commission/Board.
  8. Rebuttal comments of applicant/representative.
  9. Public hearing closed by chairperson.
  10. Commission/Board discussion, motion and second, and action taken.

Section 5. Appearance Before the Commission/Board.

Petitioners or their representatives, members of the community at large or individuals or their representatives who feel they will be affected by any action may appear before the Commission/Board to present views and statements either for or against agenda items. The public may address their comments or concerns to the Commission/Board in person or in writing. The chairperson may at his/her discretion limit the length of presentation or discussion to ensure the orderly conduct of Commission/Board business provided that the decision of the chairperson may be overridden by a majority vote of those commissioners/board members present.

Following the Call to Order, the chairperson shall announce the rules of conduct of the public hearing as follows: 1) All comments shall be addressed to the chairperson; 2) Each person shall be given an opportunity to be heard, but second comments will not be permitted until every person has had the opportunity to speak for the first time; 3) In the interest of fairness to the public, statements should be as concise as possible; 4) The chairperson reserves the right to terminate a presentation or ask for a summation if comments become excessively repetitive or stray from the issues at hand; 5) For large hearings, a time limit may be imposed for individual comments; 6) At all times during the public hearing, the chairperson shall expect courtesy from all participants and catcalls, booing, or other outbursts from the public shall not be tolerated; 7) Decision of the Commission/Board shall be based on facts presented in evidence at the public hearing and accepted planning principals.

Section 6. Commission/Board Action.

The Commission shall take action on each item presented at the conclusion of discussion of that item.

Section 7. Motions.

Motions before the Commission/Board shall be made in the affirmative or negative on all public hearing items and shall be restated by the chairperson before a vote is taken. Motions made should include reasons in support of such action.

Section 8. Voting.

Voting shall be by voice ballot on non-public hearing items and individual voice ballot on all public hearing items and shall be tallied by the secretary.

Section 9. Conflict of Interest.

It is the duty of each member to vote on each issue. No member of the Commission/Board, however, shall participate in, discuss or vote on a matter in which he/she has a conflict of interest or a substantial interest as defined by KSA 75-4301 et seq. A Commission/Board member shall be considered to have a conflict of interest should they have an interest, pecuniary or otherwise in any matter to be considered by the Commission/Board and shall be disqualified from considering, debating, discussing and voting on said matter. Should any member have such a conflict or substantial interest on a matter coming before the Commission/Board or its committees, the chairperson shall declare an abstention for each affected Commission/Board member for that item on the agenda. Further, no member shall appear before the Commission/Board on behalf of any party or entity on any matter under consideration.

Section 10. Ex-Parte Contacts.

It is in the public interest that all members of the Commission/Board should have an opportunity to be aware of and act upon the information that is available to other members. Individuals appearing before the Commission/Board are entitled to a fair and equitable hearing with a decision based upon the evidence presented at the hearing. Therefore, all members are discouraged from entering into ex-parte contact, however, if contact is made outside of the public meeting setting, the member shall: 1) place upon the record the substance of all written and oral ex-parte communications concerning individual agenda items; and 2) provide that a public announcement of the content of the communication and of the parties’ right to rebut the substance of the communication shall be made at each meeting where action is considered.

Section 11. Record of Proceedings.

The secretary shall record and maintain the minutes of each meeting as a matter of public record and shall present such minutes to the Commission/Board for approval.

Article VI


Section 1.

These by-laws may be amended by a majority vote of the Commission/Board at any regular meeting, provided the members have been notified one (1) month in advance and the proposed amendment has been placed on the agenda.


Adopted by the Planning Commission on this ____________ day of __________________, 2004.


By _______________________________
Commission Chairperson



Barry T. Beagle, Secretary to the Planning Commission