City Councilmembers Returning to Chambers
Council to Offer Virtual and In-Person Public Input Options for Residents
[COLUMBUS, OH] For the first time since March of 2020, Columbus City Councilmembers will meet in-person in Chambers at City Hall and open the doors to the public for its regularly scheduled meeting on July 12, 2021, at 5pm. While members and some staff will be in Chambers, Columbus continues to be COVID-19 cautious. Public seating in Chambers will be limited to 20 safely-spaced individuals, with limited additional seating in an adjacent conference room. Council will also continue to offer virtual online testimony to residents on regular agenda items, except zonings. Returning in a limited capacity and adhering to current social distancing and masking guidelines is an incremental return to normalcy. The regular zoning meeting is scheduled for 6:30pm.
“Council pivoted to virtual meetings to continue the public’s business at the height of the pandemic,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “As we move to reopen the ‘people’s house,’ we will work together with our local health officials to ensure the safety of residents and staff.”
To accommodate social distancing best practices, the directors and staff will participate remotely to allow the Councilmembers and residents to be appropriately spaced in Chambers. Capacity is limited to a total of 20 people at any given time.
PROVIDING PUBLIC TESTIMONY DURING THE REGULAR MEETING
Columbus City Council continues to urge residents to submit their testimony in writing rather than attend the meeting in person. Residents that wish to speak in-person or online must complete an electronic speaker slip by 3pm on the day of the meeting, indicating whether the request is to speak in person, or via WebEx. To access the form, visit www.columbus.gov/council/information/Online-Speaker-Slip/.
The first three speaker slips received for and against an ordinance will be invited to speak before Council. Those requesting to speak online will receive a WebEx invite via email. Online speaker slips can be submitted between 8am-3pm on the day of the meeting via the link above.
Residents also have the option to submit written testimony in favor or in opposition to an ordinance to the City Clerk. Written testimony must be received by 3pm on the day of the meeting, emailed to [email protected]. Testimony can also be mailed to Columbus City Council, Attn: City Clerk Speaker Testimony, 90 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43215. Residents should include their contact information and the ordinance number in their testimony.
Council will not accept incomplete speaker slips. Speaker slips addressing rezoning or variance requests must also be submitted prior to 3pm on the day the speaker wishes to speak before the council.
PROVIDING SWORN TESTIMONY DURING THE ZONING MEETING
Parties presenting testimony to Council during the Zoning Committee meeting of Council are required to be sworn in prior to giving testimony. In order to accommodate this, parties will be required to attend the meeting in person.
All parties planning to present testimony on a Zoning Committee ordinance must complete an electronic speaker slip no later than 3pm on the day of the zoning meeting to request attendance at the meeting. To access the form, visit columbus.gov/council/information/Online-Speaker-Slip/. Online speaker slips can be submitted between 8am-3pm on the day of the meeting. The Zoning Chair will swear in all parties signed up to testify on a Council Variance just prior to the reading of that piece of legislation. For more information, visit https://www.columbus.gov/council/toolkit/rules-for-speaking-at-city-council/.
In accordance with public access provisions, the meeting is open to the public. However, Columbus City Council discourages residents from attending the meeting in person and requests unvaccinated residents wear masks while in Chambers. The protocols of social distancing will be enforced, and the capacity in Chambers will be limited to 20 people based on the space of the room.
“As long as we work together, encourage others to get vaccinated and practice social distancing, we will continue to move out of this COVID-19 crisis,” said Council President Hardin.
The meeting will be live-streamed on the City’s YouTube channel and Facebook Live.