Chapter 17.120


17.120.010    Title.

17.120.020    Application.

17.120.030    Purpose.

17.120.040    Authority.

17.120.050    Creation of office.

17.120.060    Appointment.

17.120.070    Qualifications.

17.120.080    Removal.

17.120.090    Conflict of interest and appearance of fairness.

17.120.100    Freedom from improper influence.

17.120.110    Rules.

17.120.120    Duties.

17.120.130    Public hearings.

17.120.140    Examiner’s decision.

17.120.150    Notice of examiner’s decision.

17.120.160    Decision final action by city.

17.120.170    Conflicting code provisions and rules of procedure.

17.120.010 Title.

This chapter shall be called “Hearing Examiner.” (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.020 Application.

The provisions of this chapter shall be applicable to all zones as set forth in this title. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.030 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish a quasi-judicial hearing system which will ensure procedural due process and appearance of fairness in regulatory hearings and will provide an efficient and effective hearing process for quasi-judicial matters. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.040 Authority.

This title is created pursuant to the authority set forth in chapter 35A.63 RCW and other applicable laws and regulations. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.050 Creation of office.

The office of hearing examiner, hereinafter referred to as “examiner,” is created. The examiner shall perform the duties and functions specified in this chapter, together with such other quasi-judicial duties and functions as may be delegated by the mayor and city council. Unless the context requires otherwise, the term “examiner” as used herein shall include any examiner pro tem who may be appointed. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.060 Appointment.

The examiner shall be appointed by the mayor subject to confirmation by a majority vote of the city council. The terms of the examiner’s employment shall be specified by a professional service contract. An examiner pro tem may also be appointed by the mayor subject to confirmation by majority vote of the city council. An examiner pro tem shall serve in the event of absence or disqualification of the examiner. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.070 Qualifications.

The examiner shall be appointed solely with regard to his or her qualification for the duties of the office, and will have such training and experience as will qualify the examiner to conduct administrative and quasi-judicial hearings on regulatory enactments and to discharge such other functions conferred upon the examiner by the mayor and city council. The examiner shall hold no other elective or appointive office or position in city government. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.080 Removal.

The examiner may be removed from office for cause by the mayor, subject to confirmation by majority vote of the city council. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.090 Conflict of interest and appearance of fairness.

The examiner shall not conduct or participate in any hearing or decision in which the examiner has a direct or indirect personal interest which might influence the examiner or interfere with the examiner’s decision-making process. Any actual or potential conflict of interest shall be disclosed to the parties immediately upon discovery of such conflict. The hearing shall then be conducted by an examiner pro tem.

The appearance of fairness doctrine, as specified in chapter 42.36 RCW, shall apply to all proceedings conducted by the examiner, and may result in the examiner’s disqualification when necessary. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.100 Freedom from improper influence.

No council member, city official, or any other person shall attempt to interfere with or improperly influence the examiner in the performance of his or her designated duties. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.110 Rules.

The examiner shall have the power to prescribe rules and regulations for the scheduling and conduct of bearings and other procedural matters related to the duties of the office. The rules shall provide that all public hearings be held after 6:00 p.m., except under special circumstances authorized by the mayor. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.120 Duties.

The examiner is vested with the duty and authority to hold public hearings and render decisions on the following matters:

A. Type III land use decisions as specified in chapter 14A.05 BMC;

B. Appeals of Type I and II land use decisions as specified in chapter 14A.05 BMC;

C. Appeals of final administrative decisions made under chapter 8.12 BMC;

D. Complaints by citizens or city staff seeking administrative enforcement of provisions of city land use codes or conditions in development permits and approvals;

E. Violation notices, penalties, and other final administrative decisions made under chapter 8.12 BMC;

F. Such other regulatory, enforcement or quasi-judicial matters as may be assigned to the examiner by the mayor and city council. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.130 Public hearings.

Where public hearings are required by state statute or city code, the examiner shall hold at least one such hearing prior to rendering a decision on any matter. All testimony at any such hearing shall be taken under oath. Public notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be given as required by city code. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.140 Examiner’s decision.

Within 15 calendar days after the conclusion of a hearing unless a longer period is agreed to by the applicant in writing or verbally on the record at the public hearing, the examiner shall render a written decision which shall include at least the following:

A. Findings of fact based upon the record and conclusions therefrom which support the decision;

B. The decision shall state whether the application is either granted, granted in part, granted with conditions, modifications or restrictions, returned to the applicant for modification, denied with prejudice or denied without prejudice;

C. If a time limit exists for filing an administrative or judicial appeal of the decision, said time limit shall be disclosed. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.150 Notice of examiner’s decision.

Not later than five calendar days following the rendering of a written decision, copies thereof shall be mailed to the applicant and other parties of record as defined in BMC Title 14A. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.160 Decision final action by city.

Unless specifically provided otherwise by ordinance or state law, all decisions of the hearing examiner shall be final action by the city. Hearing examiner decisions shall be appealable pursuant to chapter 14A.05 BMC. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).

17.120.170 Conflicting code provisions and rules of procedure.

Any and all provisions of this code, and any and all provisions of the rules of procedure adopted by the examiner which are in conflict with this chapter, are superseded. (Ord. 1857 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018).