Public Outreach Policy Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments Executive Committee  Neil O’Leary, Mayor, Waterbury ? Chairman  Mark Lauretti, Mayor, Shelton ? Vice Chairman  Ken Cockayne, Mayor, Bristol ? Secretary  Tom Dunn, Mayor, Wolcott ? Treasurer  Leonard Assard, First Selectman, Bethlehem  Chris Bielik, First Selectman, Beacon Falls  N. Warren “Pete” Hess, Mayor, Naugatuck  Kurt Miller, First Selectman, Seymour  Ed Mone, First Selectman, Thomaston Sta  Rick Dunne, Executive Director  Mark C. Nielsen, Director of Planning  William Leverence, Finance Director  Trish Bauer, Oce & Financial Manager  Arthur Bogen, Brownelds Consultant  Aaron Budris, Senior Regional Planner  Max Tanguay-Colucci, Regional Planner  John DiCarlo, Municipal Shared Services Coordinator  Christian Meyer, Supervising Transportation Planner  Benjamin Muller, Transportation Planner*  Mark Pandol, Transit Capital Administrator  Glenda Prentiss, GIS Program Coordinator  Lauren Rizzo, Administrative Services Coordinator  Joanna Rogalski, Regional Planner / Emergency Management*  Karen Svetz, P.E., Regional Transportation Engineer * indicates principal authors Sources of Copies  Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments 49 Leavenworth Street, 3rd Floor Waterbury, CT 06702  Phone: (203) 757-0535  Email: nvcog@nvcogct.org  Website: www.nvcogct.org Acknowledgments  All Maps & Photos by NVCOG Sta  Icons by Icon Fair via The Noun Project EN Translations available by request. ES Traducciones disponibles bajo petici?n. IT Traduzioni disponibili su richiesta. PL Tumaczenia dostpne na zam?wienie. PT Tradu??es dispon?veis mediante solicita – ??o. SQ P?rkthime n? dispozicion me k?rkes?. ZH |?}F?~???~ ??  1 Mission Statement It is the goal of the NVCOG to fully engage residents and stakeholders in identifying planning priorities, developing programs and projects, and publishing nal products. In particular, it is the NVCOG’s goal to ensure meaningful access to participation in planning and policy decision-making processes for disadvantaged populations in our planning region. About Us The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG) is a regional Council of Governments (COG) comprising nineteen (19) cities and towns in west-central Connecticut. The NVCOG is also a host agency for the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Greater Waterbury Urbanized Area (UZA), and is a partner in the Greater Bridgeport and Valley MPO. The NVCOG works closely with other federal, state, and local agencies to facilitate cooperation among its nineteen member municipalities regarding transportation, environmental, economic, and development policies and issues. The NVCOG?s roles as a COG and MPO host agency come with the responsibility to ensure the public has meaningful opportunities to participate at various stages in the planning and policy decision-making process. Meaningful public input helps ensure that projects and funds are equitably allocated. The NVCOG is fully committed to engaging residents and stakeholders in all stages of the planning process to learn the publics? transportation and development wants and needs. This document will outline the process for public participation and involvement, providing public outreach guidance and standards for NVCOG sta and engaged citizens. Public outreach is modeled as a continuous feedback loop, wherein the public is engaged at each step of planning and each public engagement opportunity informs the next step of decision-making. Through this feedback loop, the NVCOG hopes to foster a collaborative planning relationship with residents and workers in the NVCOG region. Introduction 2 Council of Governments (COG) The NVCOG?s role as a Council of Governments (or Council) is dened in Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 50 ? 4-124i through ? 4-124u. The NVCOG?s decision-making body is its Council of the Chief Elected Ocials (CEOs) of each municipality, or member, in the planning region. Decision-making structures for the Council are dened in the organization bylaws. The Council oversees matters of regional planning and municipal services cooperation, including transportation priorities of neighboring MPO regions (see next section). As a Council of Governments, the NVCOG?s primary planning responsibility is the drafting of a regional planning document known as the Regional Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD). The Regional POCD makes recommendations for “land use, housing, principal highways and freeways, bridges, airports, parks, playgrounds, recreational areas, schools, public institutions, public utilities, agriculture and such other matters as will be benecial to the area.” (Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 127 ? 8-35a.) and informs the State POCD. Public outreach requirements during the drafting of the POCD are also outlined in this statute. METROPOLITAN SOUTH CENTRAL NORTHEASTERN SOUTHEASTERN CAPITOL REGION New London Windsor Locks Ansonia Beacon Falls Derby West Haven Wethers- field Thomaston Plainville East Haven New Britain Old Saybrook Middle- field Newing- ton Deep River Cromwell Rocky Hill East Granby North Canaan East Hartford Bridge- water West- brook Naugatuck Sprague Bridge- port Prospect Wood- bridge Seymour New Haven West Hartford Middle- bury North Haven New Canaan Essex Darien Andover Bethlehem North Branford Marl- borough Ne w Fairfield South Windsor Brookfield East Windsor Scot- land Strat- ford Hartford Bolton Westport Clinton Columbia Plymouth Lisbon Franklin Chaplin Bloomfield Sherman Old Lyme Weston Trumbull East Hampton Norwalk Hampton Watertown Southington Killing- worth Milford East Lyme Eastford Willington Sterling Cheshire Middletown Voluntown Hamden Stamford Madison Chester Orange Vernon Manchester Bethel Branford Bethany Putnam Farmington Wolcott Bozrah Morri s Waterbury Meriden Durham Portland Windham New Hartford Barkhamsted Burlington Winchester Roxbury Harwinton Colebrook Brooklyn Canton Washington Monroe North Stonington Ridgefield Norwich Waterford Somers Warren Woodbury Simsbury Wallingford Canterbury Windsor Fairfield Stonington Redding Easton Southbury Ellington Torrington Hartland Preston Bristol Shelton Canaan Wilton Avon Griswold Coventry East Haddam Berlin Salem Glastonbury Groton Greenwi ch Thompson Colchester Plainfield Oxford Union Mansfield Enfield Ledyard Hebron Montville Ashford Pomfret Danbury Cornwall Tolland Haddam Granby New Milford Suffield Goshen Woodstock Lyme Guilford Lebanon Norfolk Newtown Killingly Litchfield Salisbury Stafford Sharon Kent NAUGATUCK VALLEY WESTERN NORTHWEST HILLS LOWER CONNECTICUT RIVER VALLEY I 010205 Miles Source: OPM, State of Connecticut, U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Map 1: Councils of Government in Connecticut NVCOG Members  Ansonia  Beacon Falls  Bethlehem  Bristol  Cheshire  Derby  Middlebury  Naugatuck  Oxford  Plymouth  Prospect  Seymour  Shelton  Southbury  Thomaston  Waterbury  Watertown  Wolcott  Woodbury 3 3 Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) As a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) host agency, the NVCOG functions as the Central Naugatuck Valley MPO and cooperates with the Greater Bridgeport and Valley MPO on regional transportation planning processes and capital improvement programs for the two aforementioned MPO regions. MPOs are authorized by federal regulations, organized by municipalities as regions and designated by the Governor. MPOs conduct transportation planning and endorse the transportation improvement program for its constituent communities. The NVCOG solely hosts the Central Naugatuck Valley MPO (CNVMPO), and as such all CNVMPO activities must conform to this public participation policy. The NVCOG shares hosting responsibility with MetroCOG, the RPO for Greater Bridgeport, for four NVCOG member municipalities in the Greater Bridgeport and Valley MPO (GBVMPO): Ansonia, Derby, Seymour, and Shelton. NVCOG activities that incorporate these four municipalities must still conform to this public participation policy, but MPO-related activities in these four municipalities must conform to both the GBVMPO Public Participation Plan and this policy, using the more stringent requirement in the case of conicts. METROPOLITAN SOUTH CENTRAL NORTHEASTERN SOUTHEASTERN CAPITOL REGION New London Windsor Locks Ansonia Beacon Falls Derby West Haven Wethers- field Thomaston Plainville East Haven New Britain Old Saybrook Middle- field Newing- ton Deep River Cromwell Rocky Hill East Granby North Canaan East Hartford Bridge- water West- brook Naugatuck Sprague Bridge- port Prospect Wood- bridge Seymour New Haven West Hartford Middle- bury North Haven New Canaan Essex Darien Andover Bethlehem North Branford Marl- borough Ne w Fairfield South Windsor Brookfield East Windsor Scot- land Strat- ford Hartford Bolton Westport Clinton Columbia Plymouth Lisbon Franklin Chaplin Bloomfield Sherman Old Lyme Weston Trumbull East Hampton Norwalk Hampton Watertown Southington Killing- worth Milford East Lyme Eastford Willington Sterling Cheshire Middletown Voluntown Hamden Stamford Madison Chester Orange Vernon Manchester Bethel Branford Bethany Putnam Farmington Wolcott Bozrah Morri s Waterbury Meriden Durham Portland Windham New Hartford Barkhamsted Burlington Winchester Roxbury Harwinton Colebrook Brooklyn Canton Washington Monroe North Stonington Ridgefield Norwich Waterford Somers Warren Woodbury Simsbury Wallingford Canterbury Windsor Fairfield Stonington Redding Easton Southbury Ellington Torrington Hartland Preston Bristol Shelton Canaan Wilton Avon Griswold Coventry East Haddam Berlin Salem Glastonbury Groton Greenwi ch Thompson Colchester Plainfield Oxford Union Mansfield Enfield Ledyard Hebron Montville Ashford Pomfret Danbury Cornwall Tolland Haddam Granby New Milford Suffield Goshen Woodstock Lyme Guilford Lebanon Norfolk Newtown Killingly Litchfield Salisbury Stafford Sharon Kent NAUGATUCK VALLEY WESTERN NORTHWEST HILLS LOWER CONNECTICUT RIVER VALLEY I 010205 Miles Source: OPM, State of Connecticut, U.S. Census Bureau 2010 COG Boundaries MPO Boundaries Municipalities URBANIZED AREAS (CENSUS 2010) Bridgeport-Stamford, CT/NY Danbury, CT/NY Hartford, CT New Haven, CT Norwich-New London, CT/RI Springfield, MA/CT Waterbury, CT Worcester, MA/CT Urban Clusters Map 2: MPOs and Urbanized Areas in Connecticut CNVMPO Members  Beacon Falls  Bethlehem  Bristol  Cheshire  Middlebury  Naugatuck  Oxford  Plymouth  Prospect  Southbury  Thomaston  Waterbury  Watertown  Wolcott  Woodbury GBVMPO Members  Ansonia  Derby  Seymour  Shelton 4 Air Quality Non-Attainment Area As both MPOs lie in an air quality non-attainment area for both Particulate Matter 2.5 (2006) and for Ozone (2008), NVCOG must also include public outreach on designation of air-quality conformity for transportation plans and TIPs. Civil Rights The NVCOG is dedicated to seeking out and considering the needs of disadvantaged populations. Our agency has worked to identify geographic areas with EJ communities under Title VI, Environmental Justice, and ADA regulations. Title VI, Language Access, & Environmental Justice Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits exclusion from participation in, denial of the benets of, and discrimination under federally- assisted programs on the grounds of race, color, or national origin. The NVCOG works to ensure all programs and projects are consistent with the letter and the spirit of Title VI, regardless of assistance from federal or state programs. The NVCOG also works to provide Limited English Prociency (LEP) populations in our planning region with meaningful access to planning activities. Specically, there are populations of Spanish- and Polish-speaking LEPs across the region. The Spanish-speaking LEPs in the region largely identify as Puerto Rican. Because the NVCOG also operates the capital budget for the Valley Transit District, the agency has additional responsibilities under the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to provide language access (Ex. Order #13166). For details on the agency’s Title VI process, and for related language access information, see the Title VI Program Plan. In addition to Title VI responsibilities, the NVCOG is committed to supporting environmental justice in its planning activities, as outlined in Executive Order 12898. To this end, the NVCOG has identied locations within the planning region where target populations live, and regularly investigates the impacts of the NVCOG?s planning activities on these populations. For more details on the NVCOG?s Environmental Justice program, see the Environmental Justice Plan & Analysis. Age & Disability The NVCOG is committed to ensuring residents of all ages and ability levels have access to our public outreach. To this end, the NVCOG has identied the locations of populations of senior residents (65+) in the region, and works to ensure that all public hearings and documents are available in accessible locations and formats. Complaints Procedures When the NVCOG receives complaints from the public about municipal or regional policies, planning decisions, ongoing projects, or the like, tracking and response is essential. Some topics, such as ADA accommodations and potential discrimination complaints, are required by statute to be tracked and addressed in a particular manner. Maintaining a process to track and address complaints will ensure that these legal requirements are met and that the NVCOG is doing its best to serve the public. All complaints received by NVCOG sta should be recorded, along with the date and time of the complaint, in a spreadsheet on our internal servers. Complaints should then be immediately forwarded to the appropriate sta member within the NVCOG, including the designated Civil Rights Ocer. All complaints received by the NVCOG shall be responded to within ten (10) business days by the appropriate sta member. If a complaint concerns planning activities outside the NVCOG jurisdiction, the complainant should be informed of a more applicable outlet for the complaint. When appropriate, NVCOG sta should also forward complaints to other regional and local agencies. For specic processes related to ADA or Title VI complaints, please see the relevant program policies on the NVCOG website ( www.nvcogct.org ). 5 NVCOG believes that the public should be frequently and meaningfully engaged in regional planning and project development processes. The following public outreach guidelines are modeled on a continuous feedback ?loop? format where NVCOG requests input from the public, incorporates that feedback into the plan, and requests further input. Likewise, the public may request information from NVCOG and give feedback relevant to its planning projects. Caveats If federal, state, or other regulations prescribe public participation requirements which are more specic or more comprehensive than NVCOG?s policies, these requirements shall supersede the public participation policies outlined below. Additionally, should public participation requirements change to become more specic or comprehensive, they shall override the NVCOG?s policies. When such incongruences come to light, it is the responsibility of NVCOG sta to consider whether an update to this document is necessary to better serve the population of the region. Identifying Priorities & Plan Development Gathering Public Opinion Publishing Plans & Documents Participation Loop 6 Identifying Priorities & Plan Development Maintaining continual and meaningful public outreach may encourage participation in long-term planning processes, and is essential to ensuring that the NVCOG’s work fully considers residents? and stakeholders? needs and wants as it develops and prioritizes planning projects. To facilitate these interactions, the following policies are outlined governing day-to-day and other public communications. Sta Availability NVCOG sta are available to the public during regular work hours, 8:30am-4:30pm, at the NVCOG oce in downtown Waterbury. Sta may also be reached by phone or email during these hours. Any immediate comments or complaints can always be submitted directly to NVCOG sta, assuming relevant sta are working, on-site, and available. When possible, scheduling a meeting will ensure that sta members are available to listen to, learn from and respond to the public. NVCOG Board The NVCOG Board directs NVCOG programs and policies, and as such has special requirements for public notice and access. These requirements may be found in their bylaws, available through the NVCOG website ( www.nvcogct.org ). Copies are also available via mail by sending a written request to: 49 Leavenworth Street, 3rd Floor Waterbury, CT 06702 (203) 757-0535, nvcogct@nvcogct.org Email Lists & Maintenance The NVCOG has set up a general public outreach email list through MailChimp, an internet based emailing service. This email list shall be available for the public to sign up for regular email updates about agency activities and events. Email list users are also welcome to unsubscribe from NVCOG emails at will. NVCOG sta shall monitor participation in the existing email list and create topic-specic lists for more targeted mailings as needed. The general email list may be used to distribute a regular newsletter outlining upcoming public meetings, important meeting and event dates, or recently-published plan documents. The newsletter?s distribution frequency and contents are at the discretion of NVCOG sta. Additionally, individual projects may develop their own email lists. When feasible, these project-specic lists should be compiled with the same online email service as more general outreach lists to more easily merge the project list into the general list upon project completion. The footer area of project-specic public emails should include a link to subscribe or unsubscribe to the general public outreach list. Social Media The NVCOG maintains a presence on social media through Facebook. The primary purpose of the NVCOG Facebook page is to maintain a relationship with the public. All full-time sta have Facebook posting privileges and are invited to post informative content about agency activities and broader planning trends. Posts need not be directly related to NVCOG planning activities and projects. The NVCOG reserves the right to delete comments which threaten the safety of individuals or groups, are personal attacks, disclose personal information, or are otherwise inappropriate. Complaints and public comments submitted through social media should be logged, tracked and addressed using the complaint procedure outlined on page 4. 7 Website Calendar & News Policies The NVCOG website is an additional channel of communication between the NVCOG and the public. The site serves as a repository for all policy and planning documents created by and for the NVCOG, and displays an organizational calendar of events and a news feed, both of which are displayed on the main homepage. The organizational calendar shall be updated with all publicly-accessible meetings, including meetings of the NVCOG Board, Regional Planning Commission (RPC), MPOs, and any Citizen Advisory Committees. The organizational calendar has been incorporated into the public notication guidelines for all public meetings. The website?s newsfeed should be updated regularly with all draft and nal publications, as well as any special events or accolades such as a grant award. Citizen Advisory Committees Citizen Advisory Committees are standing committees of citizen representatives formed to consider a particular topic, project or plan of regional interest. Their function and membership depends on the needs of the Board, public input and planning project timelines. Advisory committees are useful for developing a long-term, coordinated organizational perspective on particular issues, and to obtain the input of relevant experts and advocates on planning activities. Convening citizen advisory committees may aid in identifying new priorities or regional needs. While these committees are very eective at identifying priorities and gaining citizen and expert input from the community, their facilitation may require signicant NVCOG sta time. The cost of maintaining these committees should be balanced with their relevance. Citizen Advisory Committees may be disbanded and reconvened as needed, or may be formed with the understanding that they will disband once a planning project or plan has been fully realized. NVCOG has developed the following policies regulating the public nature of Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC): 1. No CACs have decision-making powers unless specically delegated by the NVCOG Board. 2. All meetings of CACs are open to the public, and shall be planned, located, and advertised consistent with the following policies: a. Public notice of meetings shall be made seven (7) days before the meeting date. Notices shall include the location, time, and a proposed agenda. b. When reasonable, a regular meeting schedule shall be adopted and meeting dates for a year shall be listed publicly on the committee?s webpage. c. Meeting minutes or summaries shall be published within seventy-two (72) hours on the website. d. Meetings shall be held in a location that is accessible via transit and complies with ADA standards. Interpretive services shall be oered with three (3) days? notice. i. Note of this accessibility shall be made in public notice of the meeting. 3. Committees may be formed and disbanded at the judgment of the Executive Director unless otherwise stated. Regional Planning Commission (RPC) The RPC is a citizen advisory committee whose membership and duties are outlined in the NVCOG Bylaws. The RPC can only be disbanded through a vote of the NVCOG Board. 8 Gathering Public Opinion on Specic Projects Meaningful public engagement helps NVCOG sta gather public opinion on draft and nal editions of planning and policy documents. Planning and policy documents published by the NVCOG range in scope, from minor revisions of policy to sweeping master plans that will guide investment and policy for years to come. The NVCOG has developed a tiered process for public engagement to address this range. The following tiers are to be used when designing public engagement processes: Major Projects This tier is made up of broad, far-reaching documents with major impacts on policy and programming over several years. Many of these documents have specic public participation requirements. Because of the importance of this tier, several required products are called out specically (see page 9). This tier also includes large highway and transit projects under design or construction overseen by the agency. Minor Projects This tier is made up of minor publications or studies not required by statute under Tasks 2 & 3 of the Unied Planning Work Program (UPWP, the program of all MPO activities to be performed by NVCOG sta during the Program’s term), and interval updates to broad policy documents that do not substantially change the policy therein. Regular Business This tier is for regular meetings and announcements and minor plan or policy updates. This tier may also be an avenue for communicating pertinent local, regional, or national news of awards or grant opportunities. 9 NVCOG Documents and Projects Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) Public Hearings Informational Meetings Public Notice Comment Period 2 As Needed Advertisement, Calendar, Mailing List, Copies to Municipalities, Press Release, Social Media, Web Page 45 days Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Public Hearings Informational Meetings Public Notice Comment Period 1 As Needed Advertisement, Calendar, Mailing List, Press Release, Social Media, Web Page 45 days Unied Planning Work Program (UPWP) Public Hearings Informational Meetings Public Notice Comment Period 1 As Needed Calendar, Mailing List, Press Release, Social Media 30 days Regional Plan Of Conservation & Development (POCD) Public Hearings Informational Meetings Public Notice Comment Period 2 As Needed Advertisement, Calendar, Mailing List, Copies to Municipalities, Press Release, Social Media, Web Page 65 days Other Major Projects Public Hearings Informational Meetings Public Notice Comment Period 1 As Needed Advertisement, Calendar, Mailing List, Press Release, Social Media, Web Page 45 days Minor Projects Public Hearings Informational Meetings Public Notice Comment Period 0 1+ Legal Notice, Newsletter Item, Social Media 30 days Regular Business Public Hearings Informational Meetings Public Notice Comment Period 0 0+ Calendar, Newsletter Item, Social Media 30 days if applicable 10 Public Hearings For certain projects, there is a statutory requirement to convene public hearings where presentations may be made and public comment may be formally registered. The NVCOG requires public hearings for all major projects. Public hearings must conform to the following standards:  Held at convenient and accessible locations and times  Public notice of meetings, at least one week in advance: o In a newspaper of large circulation in the aected area, preferably via an advertisement o through the mailing list or to a targeted mailing list, as appropriate  Include contact person and phone number and email  In an accessible location  Interpretation/Translation and Signing available by request or by default  Recorded and minutes transcribed  Comments recorded by commenter name and agency if relevant Public hearings must explain the following information at a minimum:  The project?s purpose, need, and consistency with the goals and objectives of any local urban planning;  The project?s alternatives, and major design features;  The social, economic, environmental, and other impacts of the project; and  The relocation assistance program and the right-of-way acquisition process.  The agency?s procedures for receiving both oral and written statements from the public. In addition to the above requirements, major projects must be consistent with the public hearing regulations from the relevant funding authority (FHWA, FTA, etc.). Public Informational Meetings Public informational meetings are less formal public outreach events designed to inform the community and relevant stakeholders and to request input on planning programs and publications. When informational meetings are started early in the planning process and recur throughout the life of the project, potential impacts on disadvantaged populations, the environment, and other groups are identied and mitigation measures more easily incorporated into the plan. The format of public informational meetings is more exible, and is at the discretion of relevant NVCOG sta. A popular format is to go directly to regularly-scheduled or special meetings of partner organizations, rather than scheduling additional public informational meetings. Informational meetings shall be located in accessible meeting rooms, and interpretation/translation and signing shall be available by request. Public notice should be made at least one week in advance. While informational meetings may be more informal than public hearings, complaints or comments from the public should be documented and saved and considered for inclusion in the nal document, policy, or product. Participants and the public may also leave comment before or after an informational meeting. 11 Publishing Plans & Documents Public Records Policy The NVCOG shall comply with all applicable federal and state ?Freedom of Information Laws.? Physical and/or electronic copies of all governing bylaws, policies, agreements, agendas minutes, referrals, resolutions, grant applications, contracts, budgets, audit reports, and other relevant documents shall be made available to the public by request, or are available for review at the NVCOG oce during working hours. Additionally, many of these documents are freely available via the NVCOG website. The NVCOG maintains internal audits and nancial records, documentation of which is available to the CTDOT Oce of Contract Compliance or any other appropriate party by request. RPC Endorsement All minor and major projects should seek endorsement from the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) be – fore entering a public comment period. Products should be made available to the RPC one week before a regular meeting. At the time of the meeting, the RPC shall decide whether to endorse the document or to provide until the next RPC meeting for revisions. Translations All future major projects should be translated into Spanish before being released to a public comment period. The NVCOG Title VI Program Plan and the NVCOG Environmental Justice Policy both nd that signicant portions of the NVCOG region speak Spanish as a primary language, with a majority of Spanish-speakers being of Puerto Rican descent. All major and minor projects should include a translation disclaimer in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Albanian, Polish, Italian, and Mandarin (Simplied). Public Comment Period Before the nal publication of a program or plan, it is necessary to provide the public a period of public comment during which interested parties and stakeholders may make comments or recommendations on the program or plan at their leisure. The NVCOG recognizes that regardless of the scheduling of any public hearings or informational meetings, there are likely to be aected individuals who cannot attend. Public comment periods allow all interested parties input towards the development of programs and plans before nal publication. Public comment periods for documents published by the NVCOG shall last for the appropriate term as listed in the table on page 9. The public shall be made aware of public comment periods through a legal notice in relevant newspapers, an announcement on the NVCOG website as a news item, and a post on the NVCOG Facebook page. Should there be a relevant sub-group of the NVCOG mailing list (e.g., a project-specic or topic-specic sub-group), the public comment period shall be advertised via the mailing list. Comment periods for major projects should always be advertised to the full mailing list. Included in the public comment notice should be reference to any scheduled public hearings or informational meetings, as well as contact information for relevant sta members. During the public comment period, copies of the draft document(s) must be made available by request via the website, mail, and in person at the NVCOG oce. Major projects should be made available at the city and town halls of member municipalities. NVCOG Board Approval The nal step in the publication of any program or plan is approval by the NVCOG Board. Sta will consult the NVCOG Administrative Assistant to arrange a time the program or plan may be brought before the Board. 12 Standard Publication Procedure The following owchart shows the proper ow of nal document publication for all NVCOG documents. Sta Review RPC Review RPC Endorse Public Comment Public Hearing Make Changes NVCOG Board *if necessary Informational Meeting Major Project Minor Project Regular Business Task Legend *optional step 13 NVCOG Board Actions There are two actions the NVCOG Board may take regarding NCVOG programs and policies: Approve or Endorse. 1. Approve : The NVCOG Board accepts the stance and the goals of the document or policy. 2. Endorse: The NVCOG Board endorses the facts and subsequent analysis provided by NVCOG sta. Endorsement indicates an acceptance of factual analysis, and does not necessarily indicate approval or disapproval. Policy Revisions Revisions to this policy should follow the procedure for minor projects, excepting that the public comment period shall be forty-ve (45) days. Because this document governs all other public participation requirements it is helpful to give additional time to the public and to sta to provide and incorporate meaningful comments. Minor technical edits to this policy (e.g., changes in software) do not require a public engagement process.