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Virus prompts Lathrop to ban public from planning commission
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If you want to ask a question or make a comment to the Lathrop Planning Commission when they meet next week, you’ll actually get to call in to do so.

It’ll be one of only several ways of speaking on the record about items on the agenda as the city is trying out a new process that allows meetings to be held without the public in physical attendance.

After Governor Gavin Newsom suspended California’s traditional public meeting rules to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and give municipalities options to still conduct their normal business, Lathrop has now gotten on board with holding public meetings without actually having the public present during the proceedings.

In order for the meeting to be official, the public has to have the chance to speak on the items that are schedule don the agenda and get a chance to speed to their local elected or appointed officials – something that they plan on doing in Lathrop by allowing teleconferencing on specific items and during periods of the meeting when public comment is allowed.

While cities like Lathrop rarely draw more than 250 people to a public meeting, the threshold for people who are considered high-risk when it comes to the novel coronavirus – people like seniors – is set at only 10, which would make holding planning commission and city council meetings technically impossible.

Public comment will be accepted by email during the meeting and before the close of public comment on any item by emailing Lathrop City Clerk Teresa Vargas at Public comment may also be entered into the record by calling 209.992.0046 during the meeting at the time indicated by the city clerk or planning commission secretary.

Both city council and planning commission meetings are streamed on Comcast Channel 97 during the meeting, and online at

The meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 at 6 p.m. at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Center Drive – will be the city’s first attempt at using the new system to comply with California law.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.