Future Grantsville City Council meeting agendas could include items citizens are not allowed to comment on during those meetings.
Mayor Brent Marshall said his concern is the possibility of lawsuits stemming from discussing land use issues during public meetings.
“Land use items scare me,” he said.
The mayor and council welcome comments from citizens through emails, texts or phone calls regardless of the subject, according to information provided Wednesday night during a work meeting.
The City Council plans to amend a resolution on “meeting rules and procedures” at its next meeting in April in regard to public comments at meetings.
The plan is to provide time for public comments at the beginning of City Council meetings, according to a unanimous vote at the meeting.
Council members have asked City Attorney Brett Coombs to use his legal expertise during meetings on whether a comment would be considered out-of-line in regard to land use issues.
Councilman Scott Stice said land use public hearings are conducted solely by the Grantsville Planning and Zoning Commission. The City Council then reviews recommendations from the planning commission and makes the final decision on ordinances or zoning changes.
“We need to clarify the difference between public hearings and public comments,” Stice said.
He mentioned that public hearings allow both sides of an issue to be represented.
City Recorder Christine Webb created a pamphlet on “Rules of Order and Procedure” for public meetings that will be available to citizens at Grantsville City offices.
A sample pamphlet at the meeting Wednesday included the email addresses of the mayor and City Council members.
Councilman Jeff Hutchins would like the City to provide a link on its website for public comments. All council members would then have access to the comments.
Councilman Neil Critchlow said the main duty of the council and mayor during public comments is to listen with no need to respond immediately.
The mayor said he and council members could learn how to interact better with the public during meetings.
State law requires the City to post agenda items for both the City Council and Planning Commission a minimum of 24 hours in advance of the meetings, according to the state’s Open and Public Meetings Act.