Chapter 2.58
HEARING EXAMINER

Sections:

2.58.010    Established.

2.58.020    Blanket amendment.

2.58.030    Purpose.

2.58.040    Salary.

2.58.050    Qualifications.

2.58.060    Appointment and removal.

2.58.070    Duties and powers.

2.58.080    Rules and regulations.

2.58.090    Department reports.

2.58.100    Changes in legislation.

2.58.110    Limited jurisdiction.

2.58.120    Final decision conditions.

2.58.130    Final decision – Findings and conclusions.

2.58.140    Time limitation on decision.

2.58.150    Review limited.

2.58.160    Appeal of hearing examiner decision.

2.58.010 Established.

Effective February 2002, the position of city of Blaine hearing examiner is created. The position shall be appointed as provided for under RCW 36.70.970 by the city council for a two-year term and may be removed at will by the city council. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.020 Blanket amendment.

All Blaine Municipal Code designations of “board of adjustment” or “board of appeals” or any variations therein shall be amended to read “hearing examiner.” (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.030 Purpose.

The purpose for creating a hearing examiner function is:

A. To provide an efficient and effective system for deciding appeals from administrative decisions;

B. To help insure procedural due process and appearance of fairness by holding such hearings before a neutral party, competent in the fields of land use and procedural requirements. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.040 Salary.

The hearing examiner shall be compensated on an hourly basis as established by resolution with an allocated budget set annually as part of the budget process. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.050 Qualifications.

The hearing examiner and his or her pro tempore shall be appointed solely with regard to their qualifications for the duties of their office, and shall have such training or experience as will qualify them to conduct administration of quasi-judicial hearings on the application of regulatory enactments and to discharge other functions conferred upon them, and shall hold no other appointed or elected public office or position in the city government, except as provided in this chapter. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.060 Appointment and removal.

The hearing examiner and one or more pro tem shall be appointed by a majority vote of the city council for a two-year period. The hearing examiner may be removed from office at any time by an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of city council members. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.070 Duties and powers.

The hearing examiner shall make a final decision upon the following matters:

A. Appeals from any final written orders, requirements, permits, decisions or determinations made by an administrative official in the administration of BMC Titles 8, 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17.

B. Appeals from SEPA determinations of significance, determinations of nonsignificance, and mitigated determinations of nonsignificance. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.080 Rules and regulations.

The hearing examiner shall have the power to prescribe rules and regulations for the conduct of hearings before him, subject to approval by the city council, and also to issue summons for and compel the appearance of witnesses, to administer oaths and preserve order. The opportunity of cross-examination of witnesses shall be afforded all interested parties or their counsel in accordance with the rules of the hearing examiner. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.090 Department reports.

The hearing examiner may request reports from appropriate staff. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.100 Changes in legislation.

The hearing examiner may recommend changes in legislation to the community development department or city council. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.110 Limited jurisdiction.

The hearing examiner shall have no jurisdiction over any project that requires a legislative action, such as but not limited to regulatory amendments, regulatory map amendments, a comprehensive plan change, or a shoreline management program amendment. The approval or denial of such projects shall be solely within the discretion of the city council. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.120 Final decision conditions.

The hearing examiner’s final decision on all appeals shall either grant or deny the appeal. The hearing examiner may grant the appeal subject to conditions, modifications or restrictions that the hearing examiner finds necessary to make the proposed project compatible with its environment, and to carry out the objectives and goals of the comprehensive plan, the land use code, and other applicable official policies and objectives of the city. Performance bonds or other security, acceptable to the city, may be required to ensure compliance with the conditions, modifications and restrictions. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.130 Final decision – Findings and conclusions.

Each final decision of the hearing examiner shall be in writing and shall include findings and conclusions, based on the record, to support the decision. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.140 Time limitation on decision.

Each final decision of the hearing examiner shall be rendered within 10 days following the conclusion of all testimony and hearings. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.150 Review limited.

No final decision of the hearing examiner shall be subject to administrative or quasi-judicial review, except as provided herein. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)

2.58.160 Appeal of hearing examiner decision.

The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final unless appealed to the city council within 21 days of the issuance of the written decision. (Ord. 2507 § 2, 2002)