Chapter 2.21
HEARING EXAMINER SYSTEM

Sections:

2.21.010    Hearing examiner.

2.21.020    Office of hearing examiner.

2.21.030    Appointment.

2.21.040    Appointment of hearing examiner pro tempore.

2.21.050    Hearing examiner – Conflict of interest and freedom from improper influence.

2.21.060    Powers.

2.21.070    Payment of cost of transcription of verbatim written transcript.

2.21.010 Hearing examiner.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish the office of hearing examiner and the authority of the hearing examiner, which shall include conducting administrative hearings and other proceedings as prescribed by this code or other city ordinance, and to provide an administrative land use regulatory system which will best satisfy the following basic needs:

A. The need to separate the city’s land use regulatory function from its land use planning function;

B. The need to ensure and expand the principles of fairness and due process in public hearings; and

C. The need to provide an efficient and effective land use regulatory system which integrates the public hearing and decision-making processes for land use matters. (Ord. 959 § 1, 2018)

2.21.020 Office of hearing examiner.

The hearing examiner shall exercise the authority of the hearing body for the matters designated in this chapter. The hearing examiner shall also have any duties and related authority prescribed to the hearing examiner by this code or other city ordinance. (Ord. 959 § 1, 2018)

2.21.030 Appointment.

The examiner shall be appointed by the mayor or the mayor’s designee; the examiner shall be appointed solely with regard to qualifications for the duties of such office and shall have such training or experience as will qualify the examiner to conduct administrative or quasi-judicial hearings on land use and other regulatory matters. The examiner shall hold no other appointive or elective public office or position in the city government except as herein provided. (Ord. 959 § 1, 2018)

2.21.040 Appointment of hearing examiner pro tempore.

The mayor or mayor’s designee may appoint one or more hearing examiners pro tempore to act in the absence of the regular hearing examiner. Such appointment shall be from qualified applicants to be recommended by the hearing examiner. Hearing examiners pro tempore, when acting in such capacity, shall have all powers and duties of the hearing examiner as prescribed in this code or elsewhere. (Ord. 959 § 1, 2018)

2.21.050 Hearing examiner – Conflict of interest and freedom from improper influence.

A. The examiner shall not conduct or participate in any hearing or decision in which the examiner has a direct or substantial financial interest.

B. No councilmember, city official or any other person shall attempt to influence or in any way interfere with the examiner in the performance of his designated duties. (Ord. 959 § 1, 2018)

2.21.060 Powers.

A. The examiner shall have the authority to and shall conduct hearings and prepare a record thereof, and enter written findings and conclusions, recommendations or decisions for the following land use and other matters:

1. Applications for zoning reclassifications;

2. Applications for conditional uses;

3. Applications for variances and special exceptions;

4. Applications for plats and the amendment of existing plats;

5. Appeals of administrative short plat decisions;

6. Appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the building official relative to the application and interpretation of the city building code;

7. Appeals of State Environmental Policy Act threshold determinations;

8. Appeals of notices of violation when the appeal is assigned by the mayor to the hearing examiner in lieu of the mayor conducting the hearing and/or making the written determination. The mayor may designate the hearing examiner to conduct the hearing and recommend to the mayor a written determination, which the mayor may adopt or modify in making the written determination; and

9. Any other matter designated by this code or other city ordinance; or by the mayor or the mayor’s designee, not required by statute to be heard or determined by the city council or other city official.

B. The examiner’s decision shall be based upon the policies of the comprehensive plan, State Environmental Policy Act, the standards set forth in the various land use regulatory codes of the city, or any other applicable program adopted by the city council. In land use matters, the examiner may attach reasonable conditions found necessary to make a project compatible with its environment and to carry out the goals and policies of the city’s comprehensive plan or other applicable plan or program adopted by the city council.

Such conditions may include but are not limited to the following:

1. Exact location and nature of development, including additional building and parking area setbacks, screenings in the form of landscaped berms, landscaping, or fencing;

2. Impact of the development upon other lands;

3. Hours of use or operation or type and intensity of activities;

4. Sequence and scheduling of development;

5. Maintenance of the development;

6. Duration of use and subsequent removal of structures;

7. Granting of easements for utilities or other purposes and dedication of land or other provisions for public facilities, the need for which the examiner finds would be generated in whole or in significant part by the proposed development;

8. Mitigation of any adverse environmental impacts; and

9. Provisions which would bring the proposal into compliance with the comprehensive plan policy.

C. The examiner shall have any duties and related authority prescribed to the hearing examiner by this code or other city ordinance.

D. The examiner shall have any duties and related authority prescribed to the board of adjustment by this code or other city ordinance.

E. The examiner shall have the power to prescribe rules and regulations concerning procedures for hearings and other proceedings authorized herein, to issue summons for and compel the appearance of witnesses, to administer oaths and to preserve order. The privilege of cross-examination of witnesses shall be accorded all interested parties or their counsel in accordance with rules of the examiner. (Ord. 959 § 1, 2018)

2.21.070 Payment of cost of transcription of verbatim written transcript.

Whenever the city is required to prepare a verbatim written transcript of any proceedings of the city in response to a writ of review or other action filed in the superior court or any other state or federal court the cost of preparing the same shall be borne by the party filing the action. Within 10 days of the service of such writ of review or other action on the city, the city clerk shall notify the party filing the action that it will be necessary for the city to prepare a verbatim written transcript of the proceedings involved. In such notice, the city clerk shall state the date and subject matter of the public meeting(s) and/or hearing(s) involved and the estimated cost of the preparation of the transcript, including copying costs. Within 10 days of the receipt of such notification, the party filing such action shall pay said estimated cost to the city clerk as a nonrefundable deposit, and the city clerk shall thereafter make provision for the preparation of the transcript.

Should the actual cost incurred by the city in preparation of the transcript exceed the amount deposited with the city clerk, the party making such deposit shall be required to reimburse the city for such additional amount within 10 days of notification that such amount is due. (Ord. 959 § 1, 2018)