How to Participate in an In-Person and Virtual Public Hearing 

Participate in person

Public hearings allow residents to comment on current issues involving the City. Public hearings are advertised and placed on the agenda for the City Council, board, committee, or commission meeting where they will be discussed. 

  • City Council and the Planning Commission have returned to in-person regular meetings in Council Chambers at 101 City Hall Plaza. Residents are encouraged to continue to participate virtually.
  • City policy prohibits unauthorized hardware and drives (e.g., flash drive) from being used or connected to City-owned equipment. If you plan to make a presentation, submit your file in advance when you sign up to speak.
  • The Board of Adjustment, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the Joint City-County Planning Committee meetings are held in person in the Committee Room on the 2nd Floor of City Hall at 101 City Hall Plaza. No virtual option is available for these meetings.
  • For specifics about a meeting of the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission and the Appearance Commission, please refer to their agenda.

participate virtually 

Residents are able to participate in City Council and the City-County Planning Commission via Zoom. You can participate in a virtual meeting by computer, tablet, or telephone. Participation on Zoom is only required if you are going to make public comments during a public hearing. You can also view the City Council and Planning Commission meetings live on the City’s Twitter page, Facebook page, YouTube channel, on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon via Boxcast as well as livestreamed from the City’s website. The meeting will also be televised live on Durham Television Network (Spectrum channel 8, Google Fiber channel 8, Frontier channel 70, and AT&T U-verse channel 99). 

Pre-registration Recommended 

For City Council and Planning Commission: It is recommended that anyone wanting to make public comments complete the online registration form (available via the link in mailed or published notices and also in the weekly meeting calendar and on our public hearings and notices web page). After registering for the Zoom virtual meeting, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you pre-register, your comments will be heard first after in-person attendees. To ensure that you will be recognized, your Zoom profile name should be the same as your registration name. 

Note that you do not need to register in advance for public hearing items, but those who do will be called upon to speak before those who do not register.

Live Call-in Option 

For City Council and Planning Commission meetings, you can also participate by calling the teleconferencing number for the Zoom meeting (see To Join by Telephone, below). Please call in at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts and identify yourself to ensure that you get a chance to speak at the appropriate time.

Process for Speaking  

In the virtual meeting platform public participants do not have any ability to talk or be seen on video by default. Speakers will be given the ability to speak at the appropriate time in the meeting. 

For City Council and Planning Commission:

  • If you have pre-registered, your name will be called at the appropriate time for you to make your comments, just like in an in-person public hearing. 
  • If you call in before the meeting starts, your name will be taken and you will also be called to speak at the appropriate time as normal. 
  • If you call in after the meeting has already started, you will need to wait until the particular public hearing you are interested in starts. After all of the pre-registered speakers have shared their comments, the chair will ask if there is anyone else wishing to speak. At that point you will need to digitally raise your hand (see instructions below), state your name and address, and make your public comments. 

Steps to Join the Meeting 

To Join by Computer: 

  1. Click the meeting link you received after pre-registering or open the Zoom app (if you have downloaded it to your computer, tablet or smart phone). 
  2. Join a meeting using one of these methods: 
    • Click Join a Meeting if you want to join without signing in. 
    • Sign in to Zoom then click Join. 
  3. Enter the meeting ID number and your display name. 
    • If you're signed in, change your name if you don't want your default name to appear. 
    • If you're not signed in, enter a display name. 
  4. Select if you would like to connect audio and/or video and click Join.
To Join by Telephone: 
  1. On your phone, dial the teleconferencing number provided for the virtual meeting (available in the weekly meeting calendar).  
  2. Enter the meeting ID number and password when prompted using your dial pad.  
  3. Phone controls for participants: The following commands can be entered using your phone's dial pad while in a Zoom meeting\webinar:
    *6 - Toggle mute/unmute
    *9 - Raise hand