Chapter 2.19


2.19.010    Purpose.

2.19.020    Applicability.

2.19.030    Mediation procedures.

2.19.040    Mediated agreement.

2.19.050    Findings and report.

2.19.010 Purpose.

A. Land use mediation is an optional, voluntary method for resolution of contested land use applications and code enforcement. Through mediation, disputes may be resolved in a manner which is less formal and more conciliatory than the formal appeal process. Use of mediation, however, does not alter any rights to an administrative or judicial appeal.

B. The goals of mediation are:

1. Provide a mechanism to identify issues and affected and responsible parties;

2. Provide a mechanism for parties to develop reasonable alternative resolutions; and

3. Provide a means for facilitating the resolution of disputed land use applications and code enforcement.

C. The mediation process should result in a recommendation to the decision-making body in the form of a mediation agreement consistent with the comprehensive plan, adopted codes and ordinances and the general public interest. (Ord. 96-03 § 22, 1996)

2.19.020 Applicability.

This chapter shall apply to all disputed land use applications and code enforcement.

A. Who May Request. Mediation may be requested by responsible or directly affected parties to the dispute, the department director, the planning commission, the hearing examiner, or the city council. Time constraints of the project review process as set forth in BIMC 2.16.020.J may be waived by the applicant to accommodate mediation proceedings.

B. When May Mediation Occur. Mediation may occur at any stage in the project review process prior to the close of a public hearing.

1. If mediation is initiated during the public hearing, the hearing shall be continued in accordance with the hearing procedures for that decision body.

2. Mediation of code enforcement may occur prior to the initiation of legal action by the city. (Ord. 96-03 § 22, 1996)

2.19.030 Mediation procedures.

Upon request for a mediation process, the department director shall designate a mediator in accordance with subsection B of this section. The mediator will set a mediation meeting date and notify the interested parties.

A. Use of mediation shall not alter any rights to an administrative or judicial appeal.

B. Mediator.

1. All disputes shall be meditated by a mediator who understands Washington State growth management issues, has mediation experience and is acceptable to all the parties. Mediators shall be guided by the standards of practice of mediation of the American Bar Association. Compensation for the mediator shall be provided by the parties at the mediator’s standard rate, or as negotiated by the parties, or by the city through a mediation compensation process adopted by resolution of the city council.

2. If one or more of the parties declares a loss of confidence in the mediator during the mediation, the mediation may be terminated upon agreement by the parties, or may continue after another mediator receives mutual approval.

C. Mediator’s Powers and Functions.

1. The mediator is the facilitator of decision-making among the various parties to the dispute. As such the mediator will:

a. Assist the parties in developing procedures for conducting the negotiations, including ground rules, schedule of meetings, identification of essential parties, and identification of spokespersons for parties;

b. Request additional information from any party to the mediation and from any government official or body; and

c. Maintain mediator confidentiality throughout and subsequent to the process.

2. By participating in a mediation, the participants agree that all mediation sessions are confidential settlement negotiations, and that all offers, promises, conduct and statements, whether written or oral, made in the course of the mediation are inadmissible in any litigation or arbitration of the dispute, to the extent allowed by law.

D. Mediation Meeting. The mediator is authorized to have the following types of meetings:

1. Meetings with any and all participants;

2. Plenary sessions in which any and all participants participate;

3. Individual sessions as deemed necessary by the mediator; or

4. A final meeting to review and sign the mediation agreement. (Ord. 96-03 § 22, 1996)

2.19.040 Mediated agreement.

If at the conclusion of the mediation all parties agree to a resolution of the dispute, the parties will all sign a mediated agreement which will be forwarded to the appropriate body for consideration and official approval. (Ord. 96-03 § 22, 1996)

2.19.050 Findings and report.

At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator will prepare a report. If the mediation is not successful, the report may be issued only on approval of all parties. The report will describe the issues that are in contention, identify the areas of agreement, and maintain as confidential information that the parties have requested be kept confidential. The report shall be reviewed by and be acceptable to all parties prior to transmittal to the decision authority. The purpose of this information is to help the decision authority to move expeditiously. (Ord. 96-03 § 22, 1996)