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Public Meetings Preparation Type of Meetings Responding to Comments Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Meetings Preparation Type of Meetings Responding to Comments Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Meetings Preparation Type of Meetings Responding to Comments Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services

2 Preparation Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services

3 When? Why?  Depending on the type of project, can take place during any phase of the PDP  May be needed in later phases  Formally introduces a project  Presents feasible alternatives or a preferred alternative  Details project impacts  Participation enhances decision-making Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 3

4 Purpose  Provide project information  Receive input and engage in dialogue  Illustrate how decisions were made  Build consensus  Consider modifications and/or other alternatives needed  Focused interaction between the Project Management Team and the public Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 4

5 Strategy Meetings  Project Management Team tool  Can be implemented on high level projects  Complex Path 3 and Path 4 and Path 5  Can be instituted during the Planning Phase and conducted throughout a project’s life  Helps reduce miscommunication and ensures all aspects of PI are covered  Provides direction in developing format, materials, and agenda Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 5

6 Strategy Meeting Purpose  Review and evaluate the PI Plan, as needed  Select appropriate notification methods  Develop EJ outreach strategy  Ensure compliance with Title VI  Develop appropriate strategy  Select appropriate meeting format  Identify location and type of venue  Assign roles and responsibilities  Determine displays, exhibits, handouts, and other materials needed Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 6

7 Plan Accordingly  The majority of ODOT projects will not require a public meeting  Still must ensure PI is comprehensive  PI activities vary depending on a project’s type and complexity  For public meetings or public hearings, know the needs of the anticipated audience  Depending on the type of project, 8-12 weeks of effective planning may be required Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 7

8 Advance Preparation  Scout out the meeting facility and reserve about 3 months in advance  May need to lock in sooner based on venue popularity  Prepare and/or refine mailing list  Finalize legal notices, determine newspaper contacts and advertising deadlines  Finalize meeting agenda and exhibits  Prepare a media kit Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 8

9 Be Ready  Organize and plan in advance  Perform a dry run  Anticipate all possible scenarios  Appropriate layout  Sign in at the entrance and then naturally “flow” through the exhibits  Comment table near the entrance/exit  “Tell” the project story Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 9

10 Adequate Notice  Appropriate advertising and notification  Formulate strategy about 12 weeks out  Information about the meeting must be provided at least 2 weeks in advance  Include time, date, location, purpose, etc.  Don’t assume print material is all you need  Reach out using all appropriate means  Include appropriate graphics and illustrations Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 10

11 Day of the Event  Dress appropriately  Know the area and your audience  Suits may intimidate  Jeans/polo may be too relaxed  Business casual typically works best  Arrive early  Have a staff briefing prior to starting  Be flexible, but execute the plan Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 11

12 Type of Meetings Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services

13 Focus Groups  Typically for Path 4 and Path 5 projects  May be appropriate on Complex Path 3  Held during the Planning Phase  Does not replace stakeholder meetings  Designed to solicit specific input from select stakeholders and residents  Depending on project circumstances, several focus groups may be needed Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 13

14 Characteristics  Small group that consists of people  Gauges public opinion based on community values, needs, expectations, and concerns  Focuses on three to five main topics  Interactive with open dialogue  Major points are identified  Minimal presentation of project plans  Typically led by a professional facilitator that is a PI Subject Matter Expert (SME) Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 14

15 Workshops  Initiated Path 4 and Path 5 projects  Involves numerous and complex issues  Can be held during any phase of the PDP  Does not replace stakeholder meetings  Designed to gain opinions and perspectives  Can be useful in resolving issues or impasses that exist between groups Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 15

16 Characteristics  A wide range of stakeholders invited  May include neighborhood groups, residents, and other interested parties  Facilitated by the Project Management Team and one or more PI SMEs  Can be half-day or day-long events  Held in public or neutral sites  Can involve small group break-out sessions  Attendees are arranged at tables to encourage small group discussion Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 16

17 Project Task Force  Large and complex Path 5 projects  Held during any phase  Does not replace stakeholder meetings  Purpose is to resolve specific conflicts, improve relations, develop solutions and build consensus  Depending on the number of specific issues, more than one task force may be needed Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 17

18 Characteristics  Involves particular stakeholders  Facilitated by the Project Management Team and specialized facilitators  May involve several meetings  Can be half-day, day-long, or multiple day events  Held at neutral sites  Formal, with a specific agenda Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 18

19 Open House Public Meeting  Path 1, Path 2, and Non-Complex Path 3  Not required  Appropriate if unusual circumstances or controversy exist  As appropriate for Complex Path 3  Required on Path 4 and Path 5  Can be held in addition to other forms of public meetings Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 19

20 Characteristics  Casual, low-key environment  No formal agenda  Can be held over several hours to maximize public attendance  Presentation and Q&A, as appropriate  Attendees review materials and displays at their own pace  Project Management Team available to answer questions and discuss concerns  Encourage proactive dialogue Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 20

21 Formal Public Meeting  Complex Path 3 and Path 4 and Path 5  Can be held over several hours to maximize public attendance  Typically held for projects with multiple impacts that affect a wider audience  Assist in managing and reducing opposition, controversy, and misinformation  Strong public reaction anticipated Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 21

22 Characteristics  More structured and focused  Formal “timed” agenda  Typically lasts 2 hours or less  Attendees review materials and displays during first half  Formal presentation, followed by Open Mic during second half  Attendees have the opportunity to give comments in front of their peers Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 22

23 Characteristics  Open Mic  Strongly encouraged for CE type projects  Required for EA/EIS projects  Rules and guidelines can be: Distributed as part of advanced meeting notifications Handed out at the welcome table when attendees register Posted around the meeting room  Questions can be answered as part of open mic or deferred to a written response Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 23

24 Public Hearing  A formal proceeding in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)  Required for projects that have:  Significant ROW acquisition  Substantial changes to the layout or function of the facility being improved  Substantial adverse property impacts  Significant social, economic, and environmental impacts  FHWA can determine that a hearing is in the public interest Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 24

25 Characteristics  In Ohio, held for all EA and EIS projects  Conducted prior to a decision-making point  Specific timeframes and requirements associated with advertising, public notices, and the submittal of written comments  An official court stenographer/recorder and transcription of testimony is required  Held at the end of the NEPA process Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 25

26 Characteristics  The public is given the opportunity to provide comments and have them addressed  All verbal and written comments received, presentation materials, exhibits, displays, and handouts received become part of the official project record. Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 26

27 Meeting Tips  Account for all accommodation needs  Enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff  Everyone is on the same page  Assign a “look-out” for VIP’s  Have a media kit available  Provide equal and fair time for open mic  Follow up on questions you can’t answer  “I don’t know” or “I need to look into that” is not a bad response Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 27

28 Responding to Comments Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services

29 Why is it Important?  Required by law  Shows we value concerns and opinions  Take the time to respond appropriately  It’s the right thing to do!  What if the project was in your backyard? Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 29

30 Receiving Comments  The most common way for the public to provide ideas, arguments, or opposition  They can come in any form…   Verbal (over phone or in-person)  Fax  Comment Forms  Social media Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 30

31 Acknowledgement  Provide a response within 15 calendar days  Explain if analysis/research is needed  Provide an approximate response time  The public is usually willing to wait as long as their comment is being considered  If longer than anticipated, let them know Thank them for their patience Explain circumstances If you have partial info, share it Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 31

32 Acknowledgement  Provide a complete answer to all issues raised  Provide an explanation of any research or analysis that forms the basis of the answer  Indicate how the individual can continue to be involved in the decision making process and what next steps are anticipated Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 32

33 Four Types  General  Support or oppose a project  No facts/reason to substantiate opinions  Procedural  Related to decision-making process, NEPA procedures or PI process  Project Specific  Related to project needs, information request, project data, etc.  Non-project specific comments  Corruption, waste of taxpayer dollars Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 33

34 Documentation  It didn’t happen if you don’t have a record!  PI comments should be summarized into themes or interest areas  Include how the issues were addressed or how the project changed as a result  Information needs to be shared with public in newsletters, NEPA documents, etc. Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 34

35 Documentation Type  Public Meeting Report  Chronological or Categorized Document by date received Document by type of comment  Assign a tracking number Especially helpful for large, complex, and controversial projects  Summary Report  Includes number of comments received and a brief synopsis of key issues raised, along with responses provided Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 35

36 Documentation Type  Compilation of Comments  For public viewing  Comments received and corresponding response is shared  Distribution can occur in a newsletter, , posted on project website, or other appropriate means Public Involvement Training Class – Presented by the Office of Environmental Services 36


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