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Public Hearing FAQs

What is a Public Hearing?

Public Hearings are meetings of City Council which are held to provide the public with an opportunity to convey their views on land use applications, such as zoning amendments, official community plan amendments, and on occasion, development permit applications and temporary use permits. Public Hearings must be held before Council adopts an amendment to the Zoning Bylaw (referred to as a rezoning application) or Official Community Plan Bylaw

Public Hearings are held every second Monday at 7:00 pm in the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, located adjacent to City Hall at 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC. View the complete and current Council meeting schedule.

Council considers all information received at a Public Hearing (written and verbal) prior to making a decision on each development application. The public may also submit written correspondence for the Public Hearing. Council is not permitted to receive further input or information after a Public Hearing has been held and has concluded. View our Public Hearing video to learn more about the process. 

How would I find out about a Public Hearing?

There are various forms of notifications for upcoming Public Hearings as follows:

Postcards: Leading up to the Public Hearing, postcards are mailed to the owners and occupants of properties within a certain radius of the boundaries of the subject property (radius is determined upon the type of Amendment), providing notification of the upcoming Public Hearing, including general details of the development, how to get more information, and how to submit comments regarding the proposal.

Newspaper Notifications: Prior to a Public Hearing, notice of the time and place of each Public Hearing is also included on the City Page for two consecutive issues of the Abbotsford News. This notice provides similar information as what is included on the postcards mailed to nearby properties. Copies of the City Page ads are also available online at abbotsford.ca/citypage.

Public Hearing Agenda Notifications: In addition to postcards and newspaper ads, agendas of upcoming Public Hearings are posted on the 1st floor of City Hall, by the Friday prior to the Public Hearing. Agenda packages for Public Hearings are also available on the City’s website at abbotsford.ca/ams, also by the Friday afternoon prior to the Public Hearing.

Development Signs: After a Bylaw receives second reading, the Public Hearing information will be posted on the associated development sign, which is located on the subject property, including the date and time of the Public Hearing and the link to the corresponding Council Report.

How can I provide input?

If you believe you or your property is affected by the proposal, the following options are available to you:

  • Provide a written submission.
  • Participate at a Public Hearing.
Providing a Written Submission

Written submissions should be submitted by noon on the Monday before the Public Hearing.  Please note that all correspondence submitted to the City of Abbotsford in response to a Public Hearing matter will form part of the public record, and will be recorded in the minutes of the Public Hearing.  Written submissions can be sent by the following methods:
  • Email: CityClerk@abbotsford.ca
  • Mail: 5th Floor – 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC, V2T 1W7
  • In person: 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC, 5th Floor – Legislative Services - City Clerk’s
  • Fax: 604-853-1934
Participate at a Public Hearing

Public Hearings are open to all members of the public. If you believe that you are affected by a proposed land use application, you may make a presentation at, or submit written comments at a  scheduled Public Hearing. A five minute time limit is in effect for people who wish to speak at a Public Hearing. A further five minutes is permitted to those wishing to speak a second time on new information, provided that all members of the public who are present have had an opportunity to speak once.

What happens at a Public Hearing?

Please arrive a few minutes before the scheduled 7:00 pm start time of the Public Hearing. This will allow time to pick up a copy of the agenda, find a seat, and become familiar with the auditorium.

There will be a podium at the back of the auditorium with a sign-in sheet. If you anticipate wanting to speak and address Council regarding an item on the Public Hearing agenda, it is suggested you sign in when you first arrive.  Speakers do not need to speak in the same order they sign in.

All Public Hearings follow the same procedure:

  • The Mayor reads an opening statement to the public, indicating what will happen during the Public Hearing.
  • Staff will give a descriptive overview of what is proposed by the bylaw.
  • Members of the public are invited to address Council at the podium.
  • Speakers will be asked to state their name and address, then indicate whether or not they support the bylaw and why.
  • Speakers may also present written submissions to the Corporate Officer.
  • Once all speakers have been provided the opportunity to address Council once, they may address Council a second time at the Mayor’s direction.
  • When there is no one else wishing to speak, Council will pass a motion to terminate, ending the Public Hearing.

Please note that the Public Hearing is the public’s last opportunity to present its views to Council on these matters. Once the Public Hearing has concluded, Council is not permitted to receive any new information about the item on the Public Hearing agenda until after Council adopts, or defeats the proposed bylaw.

I want to speak at tonight's Public Hearing. What do I do?

  • Record your name and address on the sign-in sheets provided at the rear podium.
  • You can sign up at any time during the Public Hearing. You do not have to speak in the order you signed up.
How do I address Council?
  • Please state your name and address, then give Council the benefit of your views concerning the bylaws under consideration.
  • Your name and address are requested so Council understands how the proposed bylaw may affect your interests.
  • Your name and address are collected under the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will only be used for the purposes of the Public Hearing.
How much time do I have to address Council?
  • Speakers will be limited to five (5) minutes to address Council.
  • Once all speakers have been provided the opportunity to address Council once, they may address Council a second time at the Mayor’s direction.
  • Timing lights are at the podium for reference:
  • - Solid green light: speaking time
    - Solid yellow light: summation time
    - Red blinking light: time has expired
Where do I get information about the proposed bylaw?

Copies of the proposed bylaw and the relevant background reports can be reviewed without an appointment in the Planning Services Department on the second floor of City Hall during regular business hours. Council Reports are also available online on the City’s website.

Questions about the proposed bylaw and its development application should be directed to Planning Services at 604-864-5510.

What happens after the Public Hearing has terminated?

Following termination of a Public Hearing, the Mayor will immediately call to order a Regular Council meeting. It is at the Regular Council meeting where Council members will discuss the items from the Public Hearing. The public is encouraged to remain in the auditorium to hear Council’s deliberations, as questions and concerns raised by the public at the Public Hearing may be addressed by Council and staff during the Regular Council meeting.

Usually, Council will consider third reading of the bylaw on the same night as the Public Hearing, but may postpone the vote to a future Council meeting and/or request additional information from staff. At third reading of the bylaw, Council decides whether it wishes to proceed with the bylaw, make changes to the bylaw, or not proceed.

How do I obtain further information on a Public Hearing item?

By Phone: If you have questions or concerns, please call the CITY CONTACT shown on the Public Hearing notice if you received one in the mail or as shown in the Public Hearing advertisement published in the local newspaper. Otherwise, call Planning Services at 604-864-5510 to be directed to the appropriate staff member.
 
On the City Website: Public Hearing agendas, including staff reports and the proposed bylaws are available for viewing and printing the City website under City Hall – City Council - Agendas & Minutes- Public Hearing Agendas. 

At City Hall:
Copies of the proposed bylaw, supporting Council and Committee Reports and other background material, are also available for inspection at the Planning & Development Services Department at City Hall, between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, except statutory holidays, commencing 10 days before the Public Hearing and ending on the day of the Public Hearing.

By Fax or Mail: Council reports and the proposed bylaws may also be obtained by fax or by standard mail, by calling Planning Services at 604-864-5510 between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, except statutory holidays, commencing 10 days before the Public Hearing and ending on the day of the Public Hearing.

Privacy Statement

Members of the public should be aware that they may be recorded as part of the live web stream broadcast of Council meetings, including Executive Committee meetings, Public Hearings, and Regular Council meetings. By attending the meeting, you consent to your personal information being collected and disclosed under the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. 

During the Public Hearing process, names and addresses are collected under the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and will only be used for the purposes of the Public Hearing.