City Council: Public Hearings: How to Participate


Public Hearings will commence immediately following approval of the Consent Calendar.  Some public hearings are subject to special rules imposed by state law or a particular ordinance.  Those requirements are too numerous to describe here but will typically be described in the Council report concerning the item.


After hearing public testimony, the Council may decide to continue or close the Public Hearing. In either case, Council discussion and action may take place at that time or at the next Council meeting.  


1. Land use hearings/appeals. In hearings which involve land use matters such as appeals, zoning and landmarks permits, subdivisions, code enforcement and nuisance abatement, one representative of the applicant and appellant will be invited to speak first and will each be entitled to speak for up to five minutes each. All other speakers may speak for a maximum of two minutes.  The Mayor in consultation with the City Attorney and the parties may establish procedures in advance of the hearing to ensure an orderly presentation of the matter.   These procedures may include the allocation of a total amount of time per side, the order of speakers or the right of rebuttal. All hearings will be governed by the Council’s Fair Hearing procedure resolution (PDF*, 417 KB).  Under this procedure the Council is required to disclose all contacts any Councilmember has had with the public outside the hearing.  These reports of “ex parte” contacts are available for public review in the City Clerk’s office prior to the meeting and at the City Council meeting in a file maintained by the City Clerk. The Council may also orally disclose the contacts at the beginning of the Council meeting concerning the matter.


2. Other hearings. Speakers at other hearings will be entitled to speak for up to two minutes each.



Comments should be mailed or delivered directly to the City Clerk, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704, in order to ensure delivery to all Councilmembers and inclusion in the agenda packet. Contact the City Clerk's Office, (510) 981-6900 or to obtain deadlines for submittal of written communications. Comments received thereafter will be submitted to Council as supplemental communications at the meeting.

For further information, contact:

City Clerk Department

Telephone: (510) 981-6900; TDD: (510) 981-6903
2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, 94704


*PDF file  opens in a new browser window. To read PDF files, download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you are unable to access .pdf documents online, please contact us via email (, telephone (510) 981-6900, or TDD (510) 981-6903 so that we can provide an alternate format.