(a)   Organization.  There is created hereby a Municipal Planning Commission which shall consist of seven (7) members as follows:
      (1)   The Mayor, who shall be the Chairman of the Commission, or in the Mayor’s absence, the Mayor’s designee shall chair the meeting; and
      (2)   Six (6) electors of the City, who shall be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council, each of whom shall serve for a term of five (5) years, except that the initial appointments of the six (6) members’ terms commencing in 2007 shall be staggered terms as follows:  two (2) members shall be appointed for a two-year term; two (2) members shall be appointed for a four-year term and two (2) members shall be appointed for a six-year term.  Upon the expiration of the initial term, all appointments or re- appointments shall be for a five-year term.  No person shall be appointed or re-appointed to more than two (2) consecutive five-year terms.  The Mayor shall endeavor to appoint one person to the Commission having professional competence and experience in each of the following areas:  architecture, real estate, construction, law and urban planning.
      (3)   The Director of Law, the Director of Public Service, the City Engineer, the Fire Chief and the Chairman of the Council Committee concerned with building and zoning matters, shall serve as ex officio members, without vote, and shall be entitled to full participation in debates and discussions of the Commission.
      (4)   A vacancy occurring during the term of any member shall be filed, for the unexpired term, in the manner authorized for an original appointment.
      (5)   Compensation.  The members of the Planning Commission shall serve without compensation, unless otherwise authorized by Ordinance.
      (6)   Funds.  The Council shall appropriate such funds year to year as are necessary to carry out the duties, training and functions of the Municipal Planning Commission. 
(Amended 11-7-06.)
   (b)   Powers and Duties.  It shall be the function and duty of the Municipal Planning Commission to:
      (1)   Control the planning of the City and provide regulations for the platting, and use of all lands within the City so as to secure their harmonious development; and
      (2)   Provide for the coordination of streets with other streets, and with the official Municipal (Master) Plan; and
      (3)   Provide for open spaces for traffic, utilities, access for firefighting apparatus, recreation, light and air, for the avoidance of congestion of population, and the allotment of sufficient area for the parking of motor vehicles; and
      (4)   Regulate the manner in which streets and other public ways are graded and improved, the manner in which water, sewer and other utility facilities are installed, and establish any conditions precedent to the approval of any proposed plat; and
      (5)   Make plans and maps of the City which bear a relation to the planning of the City, and make changes in and additions to, such plans and maps when advisable; and
      (6)   Review, examine and approve all signs to be placed permanently anywhere in the City for a total period in excess of forty-five (45) days; and
      (7)   Hear and decide appeals for exceptions to, and variances from, the application of the Zoning Code and of Ordinances or orders governing zoning in the City; and
      (8)   Hear and decide appeals from any order, decision, requirement or determination relative to the enforcement of the Zoning Code, any Building Code, or in the varying of the application of any such Code; and
      (9)   Affirm or reverse, in whole or in part, or modify any order, requirement, decision or determination made enforcing the Zoning Code or any Building Code; and
      (10)   Exercise with respect to buildings situated in the City the same powers as are exercised by the Board of Building Standards under the Statutory Law of the State of Ohio to the extent that it is competent for this Charter so to authorize; and
      (11)   Formulate and submit to the Council proposed changes, modifications or amendments to various Building and Zoning Codes which the Commission determines to be desirous; and
      (12)   Exercise such other and additional powers as may be conferred upon it by Ordinance of the City or the Statutory Law of the State of Ohio with regard to matters coming within its purview.
   (c)   Meetings, Order of Business.  The Municipal Planning Commission shall meet on the first and third Tuesdays or Thursdays of each month as it shall choose.  The Commission may schedule additional meetings as may be needed from time to time to carry out its functions.
   During the first portion of each meeting of the Commission, it shall hear and decide applications for variances, exceptions, exemptions or appeals and, in the second portion of each meeting, the Commission shall undertake the work necessary to carrying out its other functions as set forth herein.  Except as provided herein, the Commission shall establish its own agenda and order of business for each of its meetings.
   (d)   Mandatory Referral.  No building designed for use by the public, street, park, playground, bridge, tunnel, or publicly or privately owned utility or part thereof shall be constructed or authorized to be constructed in the City, nor shall any street be opened for any purpose whatsoever, nor shall any street be widened, narrowed, relocated, vacated, or its use changed, nor any such ordinance referring to zoning or other regulations controlling the use or development of land be passed, unless and until such proposal shall have been submitted to the Municipal Planning Commission for report and recommendation.  Any matter so referred to the Municipal Planning Commission shall be acted upon by it within forty-five (45) days from the date of referral unless a longer time be allowed by Council.  If the Municipal Planning Commission shall fail to act within the time allotted, it shall be deemed to have approved such matter.  Any ordinance, resolution or order thus referred to the Municipal Planning Commission which is not approved by the Commission shall require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all members elected to Council for the adoption or authorization of the same.
   (e)   Procedure Before the Planning Commission.  Any matter required to be submitted to the Municipal Planning Commission shall be presented to the Commission by the applicant or his representative thereof in such manner and form as the Commission shall determine necessary for its consideration of such matter.  The Commission may, at its discretion, advise and recommend such changes and modifications in any proposal submitted to it, as may be deemed advisable.
   In the event that any proposal should require further study on matters of traffic congestion, utility access, harmonious development, architectural review, aesthetic consideration or any other matter which the Commission deems necessary for its consideration of the same, such proposal may be referred to a technical advisor who shall report his findings and recommendations to the Commission, in writing, pursuant to ordinances of the Council.
   At such time as the Commission determines that is has before it sufficient information upon which to make a determination upon any matter presented to it, the Commission shall exercise such authority as is granted to it herein to approve or disapprove such matter, or to grant such exceptions or variances from applicable law as it may determine appropriate.
   (f)   Limitation.  The Commission shall be limited by the provisions of the Zoning Code of the City, the Building Code(s) of the City and other Ordinances of the City relating to zoning and building matters in making its determination in any particular case, and shall vary, modify and grant exceptions to the provisions of such applicable laws only in cases where strict enforcement thereof would result in manifest injustice, impose unnecessary hardship, or would be contrary to the intent and purpose of such law.
   (g)   Effective Date, Terms of Current Members.  The provisions of this Item shall become effective upon certification by the Board of Elections of approval by a majority of those electors voting upon the issue, and all terms of the current Members of the Commission shall continue without interruption through the term for which such Members were appointed.
(Amended 11-4-86; 5-2-89; 11-6-01)