Public Participation Policy

General Government and Administration

Policy 15: Public Participation Policy
Reviewed by: County Attorney
Approved by: County Manager
Original Effective Date: June 5, 2019
Revisions:                                                                                            

Policy Statement

It is the policy of Orange County that all members of the Public shall have an opportunity to participate in and add value to County decisions.

Purpose

This Public Participation Policy is intended to recognize the value of public participation and create opportunities for meaningful public participation in County decisions.  This Public Participation Policy is in addition to and supplements applicable public hearing and participation statutes and laws.

Applicability

Applies to all aspects of County government not otherwise exempt by law from public participation. 

Procedure 

15.1  For the purposes of this Policy the Public refers to the residents of the County, community stakeholders, as well as other individuals, groups, organizations, or persons that may have an interest in, or are affected by, a decision made by the County. The Board of County Commissioners recognizes the Public is interested in the activities of Orange County and has needs and concerns with how those activities are conducted. For this reason the Board of County Commissioners has previously instructed the staff of Orange County to actively engage the Public in all aspects of County government. This Policy shall contain links and contact information, accessible by the Public, for all Orange County boards, commissions, and departments. 

15.2   As approved by the Board of County Commissioners, it is the public policy of Orange County that the meetings, hearings, deliberations, and actions of the Board of County Commissioners, its committees, and advisory boards be conducted openly. The Public is invited and encouraged to attend and participate in such meetings, hearings, deliberations, and actions.

The Board of County Commissioners invites Public comment and participation throughout its meetings, specifically, during a Public comment period that is set aside for that purpose and also on each individual agenda item.  The approved meeting calendar of the Board of County Commissioners listing the date, time, and location of its meetings may be viewed here

  1. Agendas, videos, and meetings for all Board of County Commissioners meetings may be accessed here
  2. Archived minutes and documents may be viewed here
  3. Any changes to the meeting schedule of the Board of County Commissioners will be posted on the Orange County website and other means in advance of such change as required by law. 
  4. For those members of the Public who cannot attend meetings of the Board of County Commissioners, all meetings are broadcast live and may be viewed on Spectrum channel 1301 or viewed via live stream here

A listing of the appointed advisory boards of the Board of County Commissioners may be viewed here. Each advisory board’s webpage may be accessed from this webpage.

Webpages for County departments associated with each advisory board may be accessed from each advisory board webpage.

Advisory board webpages describe the date, time, and location of their meetings.  Any changes to the meeting schedule will be posted in advance of such change as required by law.

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 15.2, the Board of County Commissioners, its committees, and certain of its advisory boards may hold closed sessions, not open to the public, for those purposes authorized by North Carolina General Statute §143-318.11. 

15.3   Members of the Public may directly contact departments and staff within Orange County government.

  • A department directory is available in the local telephone directory.
  • The County maintains a contact card at various County offices containing the direct contact numbers of County departments.  That contact information may be viewed on the county website here.   
  • Each department of Orange County government may be contacted via electronic mail (email).  The email contacts for each department may be viewed here.  

15.4   Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service or language translation for effective communication, or a modification of policies or procedures to participate in a program, service, or activity of Orange Countyshould contact the office of Annette Moore, ADA Coordinator at (919) 245-2487 or human_relations@orangecountync.gov as soon as possible but no later than 48 hours before the scheduled event.

15.5   Meetings of the Board of County Commissioners and its advisory boards are subject to cancellation due to extreme weather or other unexpected events.  Should any cancelations occur notice will be posted on the home page of the Orange County website (www.orangecountync.gov).

15.6  Any member of the Public who has concerns about the extent of this Policy or who wishes to recommend changes to the Policy that will result in further Public involvement in Orange County actions may contact the Orange County Community Relations Director via email or at 919-245-2302.

This policy may be reviewed annually and updated as needed by the Attorney’s Office subject to final approval by the County Manager.