Chapter 19.30
OPEN RECORD PUBLIC HEARINGS

Sections:

19.30.010    General.

19.30.020    Responsibility of administrator for hearing.

19.30.030    Joint public hearings.

19.30.040    Conflict of interest.

19.30.050    Appearance of fairness.

19.30.060    Ex parte communications.

19.30.070    Burden and nature of proof.

19.30.080    Order of proceedings.

19.30.090    Findings and notice of decision.

19.30.010 General.

Open record public hearings on all Type III and IV project permit applications shall be conducted by the hearing examiner in accordance with this chapter. (Ord. 1411 § 5 (Exh. E) (part), 2010: Ord. 1037 § 1 (part), 1996. Formerly 19.05.010).

19.30.020 Responsibility of administrator for hearing.

The administrator shall:

A. Schedule an application for review and public hearing;

B. Give notice;

C. Prepare the staff report on the application, which shall be a single report stating all of the decisions made as of the date of the report, including recommendations on project permits in the consolidated permit process that do not require an open record predecision hearing. The report shall state any mitigation required or proposed under the development regulations or the city’s authority under SEPA. If the threshold determination other than a determination of significance has not been issued previously by the city, the report shall include or append this determination. In the case of a Type I or II project permit application, this report may be the permit;

D. Prepare the notice of decision, if required by the hearing body, and/or mail a copy of the notice of decision to those required by this code to receive such decision. (Ord. 1411 § 5 (Exh. E) (part), 2010: Ord. 1037 § 1 (part), 1996. Formerly 19.05.020).

19.30.030 Joint public hearings.

A. Administrator’s Decision to Hold Joint Hearing. The administrator may combine any public hearing on a project permit application with any hearing that may be held by another local, state, regional, federal, or other agency on the proposed action, as long as: (1) the hearing is held within the city limits; and (2) the requirements of subsection C of this section are met.

B. Applicant’s Request for a Joint Hearing. The applicant may request that the public hearing on a permit application(s) be combined as long as the joint hearing can be held within the time periods set forth in this title. In the alternative, the applicant may agree to a particular schedule if that additional time is needed in order to combine the hearings.

C. Prerequisites to Joint Public Hearing. A joint public hearing may be held with another local, state, regional, federal or other agency and the city, as long as:

1. The other agency is not expressly prohibited by statute from doing so;

2. Sufficient notice of the hearing is given to meet each of the agencies’ adopted notice requirements as set forth in statute, ordinance, or rule;

3. The agency has received the necessary information about the proposed project from the applicant in enough time to hold its hearing at the same time as the local government hearing; and

4. The hearing is held within the geographic boundaries of Chelan or Douglas Counties. (Ord. 1411 § 5 (Exh. E) (part), 2010).

19.30.040 Conflict of interest.

The hearing examiner shall be subject to the code of ethics and prohibitions on conflict of interest as set forth in RCW 35A.42.020 and Chapter 42.23 RCW, as the same now exist or as may be hereafter amended. (Ord. 1411 § 5 (Exh. E) (part), 2010: Ord. 1037 § 1 (part), 1996. Formerly 19.05.030).

19.30.050 Appearance of fairness.

A. Open public hearings by the hearing examiner shall be subject to Chapter 42.36 RCW, as the same now exists or as may be hereafter amended.

B. The hearing examiner will not be disqualified by the appearance of fairness doctrine for conducting the business of his or her office with any constituent on any matter other than a matter subject to an open public hearing pending before the hearing examiner.

C. Anyone seeking to rely on the appearance of fairness doctrine to disqualify the hearing examiner from conducting an open record hearing must raise the challenge as soon as the basis for disqualification is made known to the individual. Where the basis is known or should reasonably have been known prior to the issuance of a decision and is not raised, it may not be relied on to invalidate the decision. (Ord. 1411 § 5 (Exh. E) (part), 2010).

19.30.060 Ex parte communications.

During the pendency of any quasi-judicial proceeding, the hearing examiner shall not engage in ex parte communications with opponents or proponents of the project permit application, unless the hearing examiner:

A. Places on the record the substance of any written or oral ex parte communications concerning the decision or action; and

B. Provides that a public announcement of the content of the communication and of the parties’ rights to rebut the substance of the communication shall be made at each hearing where action is considered or taken on the subject to which the communication related. This prohibition does not preclude the hearing examiner from seeking in a public hearing specific information or date from such parties relative to the decision if both the request and the results are a part of the record. Nor does such prohibition preclude correspondence between a citizen and the hearing examiner if any such correspondence is made a part of the record when it pertains to the subject matter of a quasi-judicial proceeding. (Ord. 1411 § 5 (Exh. E) (part), 2010: Ord. 1037 § 1 (part), 1996. Formerly 19.05.040).

19.30.070 Burden and nature of proof.

The applicant has the burden of proving the project complies with the development regulations and is consistent with SEPA. The project permit application must be supported by proof that it conforms to the applicable elements of the city’s development regulations, comprehensive plan and that any significant adverse environmental impacts have been adequately addressed. (Ord. 1411 § 5 (Exh. E) (part), 2010: Ord. 1037 § 1 (part), 1996. Formerly 19.05.050).

19.30.080 Order of proceedings.

The order of proceedings for an open record hearing will depend in part on the nature of the hearing. The following shall be supplemented by administrative procedures as appropriate:

A. Before receiving information on the issue, the following shall be determined:

1. Any objections on jurisdictional grounds shall be noted on the record and, if there is objection, the hearing body has the discretion to proceed or terminate;

2. Any abstentions or disqualifications shall be determined.

B. The hearing examiner may take official notice of known information related to the issue, such as:

1. A provision of any ordinance, resolution, rule, officially adopted development standard or state law;

2. Other public records and facts judicially noticeable by law.

C. Matters officially noticed need not be established by evidence and may be considered by the hearing examiner in arriving at their decision. Parties requesting notice shall do so on the record. However, the hearing examiner may take notice of matters listed in subsection B of this section if stated for the record. Any matter given official notice may be rebutted.

D. The hearing examiner may view the area in dispute with or without notification to the parties, but shall place the time, manner and circumstances of such view on the record.

E. Information shall be received from the staff and from proponents and opponents. The hearing examiner may approve or deny a request from a person attending the hearing to ask a question. Unless the hearing examiner specifies otherwise, if the request to ask a question is approved, the hearing examiner will direct the question to the person submitting testimony. (Ord. 1411 § 5 (Exh. E) (part), 2010: Ord. 1037 § 1 (part), 1996. Formerly 19.05.060).

19.30.090 Findings and notice of decision.

A. Following the hearing procedure described in this chapter, the hearing examiner shall approve, conditionally approve, or deny the application. If the hearing is an appeal, the hearing examiner shall affirm, reverse or remand the decision that is on appeal.

B. The hearing examiner’s written decision shall issue within ten days after the hearing on the project permit application. (Ord. 1411 § 5 (Exh. E) (part), 2010: Ord. 1037 § 1 (part), 1996. Formerly 19.05.070(A), (B)).