Council amends policy to allow for remote participation for hearings
The Albemarle City Council on Monday amended city policy to allow for remote participation for quasi-judicial proceedings.
The city staff has received requests from applicants to call in to the hearings.
The public is allowed to participate in any quasi-judicial hearings due to the state declaring a state of emergency because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Per city policy, electronic participation is permitted under limited circumstances when a state of emergency or disaster exists in an area that includes Albemarle.
Allowing remote participation can be helpful during the pandemic for applicants, property owners and other interested parties who may reside out of town or can’t make it to the twice-a-month meetings.
Mayor Ronnie Michael agreed that while remote participation is acceptable under current conditions, once the pandemic is over he wants any interested applicants who have standing for a certain matter to physically be present while speaking before the council.
Any of the applicants who wish to speak remotely for quasi-judicial proceedings would be sworn in and have to sign an affidavit beforehand acknowledging they agree to remote participation.
While remote public participation is allowed, the city policy still precludes council members from working remotely unless they are sick, absent due to work or an emergency circumstance arises.
The motion to amend the policy passed with only Councilwoman Shirley Lowder opposing.