Managing Public Meetings – A Conflict Resolution Consultant in Action!
Mark has managed public meetings during his entire career in dispute resolution. As Aggregate Coordinator in Jefferson County from 1987 through 1993, one of his responsibilities was to manage public informational meetings on proposed land uses, including mining, subdivisions, roads, and landfills, to name just a few.
During his private mediation career since that time, he has continued this work. Larimer County, CO requires that applicants for rezoning of properties hold an informal public information meeting with potentially affected parties. These meetings must be run by a facilitator hired from the approved County list. Mark has been on that list since 2000. During the meeting, the applicant makes a presentation on the proposed land use, and those in attendance make comments and ask questions. The facilitator is required to run the meeting, take notes on the meeting and prepare official notes from the meeting for the applicant to present to the County planning department. As a facilitator for Larimer County cases, Mark has facilitated meetings for proposals for:
- A new gravel pit
- An expansion of an existing gravel pit bringing it much nearer to nearby residential areas
- A medical marijuana dispensary in a mixed business/residential area
- A planned subdivision of land
- A large scale crushed rock transfer site (from rail to trucks)
- A cell tower in a mixed business/residential area
For most of these applicants, he has also served as a Conflict Resolution Consultant, advising them on:
- His job as the facilitator
- Their role in the meeting to inform people about their proposal
- Effectively answering questions from the public
- Cooperation with the public during the application process
- Interaction with their neighbors during the life of their project, if approved
For Lafarge (a major North American producer of gravel and crushed rock), Mark made the suggestion for the creation of an issues group to allow Lafarge personnel and the public to maintain constructive dialogue about the process and to maintain an ongoing connection during the life of the project. For each of their two proposals (numbers 1 and 2, above), the company made the proposal for such an issues group and compiled a list of potential citizen participants during the public meeting.
Over the last twenty years, Mark has facilitated similar public meetings for other major land use projects (large subdivisions and a major water diversion project) in other parts of the state of Colorado. As a Conflict Resolution Consultant, he can effectively facilitate the public meeting process and assist any client in developing and managing a required or voluntary public meeting process – no matter what the proposal.