Chapter 14.13


14.13.010    Purpose.

14.13.020    Public meeting.

14.13.030    Open record public hearing.

14.13.040    Open record appeal hearing.

14.13.050    Closed record appeal hearing.

14.13.060    Closed record public meeting.

14.13.070    Governing principles.

14.13.080    Order of proceedings.

14.13.090    Responsibility for public hearing.

14.13.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to describe the different forms of public proceedings that are associated with the various City review and decision-making processes. (Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.13.020 Public meeting.

A “public meeting” is an informal meeting, hearing, workshop, or other public gathering of people to obtain comments from the public or other agencies on a proposed quasi-judicial or legislative matter prior to the local government’s decision. A public meeting does not include an open record public hearing. The proceedings at a public meeting may be recorded and a report or recommendation may be generated relative to the proposed quasi-judicial or legislative matter. (Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.13.030 Open record public hearing.

An “open record public hearing” is a hearing, conducted by the Hearings Examiner, Planning Commission, or City Council that creates the City’s official record through testimony and submission of evidence and information, under procedures described in this chapter. An open record hearing may be held on an appeal, to be known as an “open record appeal hearing,” if no open record public hearing has been previously conducted on the permit application. (Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.13.040 Open record appeal hearing.

An “open record appeal hearing” is a hearing conducted by the Hearings Examiner in cases where there is an appeal filed in accordance with the provision of this chapter of a final decision of the City where no open record public hearing has been previously conducted. (Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.13.050 Closed record appeal hearing.

A “closed record appeal hearing” is a hearing conducted by the Hearings Examiner in cases where there is an appeal filed in accordance with the provision of this chapter of a final decision of the City where an open record public hearing which established the official record has been previously conducted. In the case of closed record appeal hearings, no new evidence or information may be submitted and only appeal argument allowed. (Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.13.060 Closed record public meeting.

A “closed record public meeting” is a public meeting conducted by the City Council in cases where the City Council is to render a final decision based on a recommendation from the Hearings Examiner or Planning Commission where an open record public hearing which established the official record has been previously conducted. In the case of closed record public meetings, no new evidence or information may be submitted, except that responses to questions by the City Council to clarify previously submitted testimony or information may be provided by staff, the applicant, or parties of record as appropriate. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.13.070 Governing principles.

A.    The hearing body shall be subject to the code of ethics (RCW 35A.42.020), prohibitions on conflict of interest (RCW 35A.42.020 and Chapter 42.23 RCW), open public meetings (Chapter 42.30 RCW) and appearance of fairness (Chapter 42.36 RCW) as the same now exist or may hereafter be amended.

B.    No member of the hearing body may communicate, directly or indirectly, regarding any issue in a proceeding before him or her, other than to participate in communications necessary to procedural aspects of maintaining an orderly process, unless he or she provides notice and opportunity for all parties to participate; except as provided in this section:

1.    The hearing body may receive advice from legal counsel;

2.    The hearing body may communicate with staff members (except where the proceeding relates to a code enforcement investigation or prosecution).

C.    If, before serving as the hearing body in a quasi-judicial proceeding, any member of the hearing body receives an ex parte communication of a type that could not properly be received while serving, the member of the hearing body, promptly after starting to serve, shall disclose the communication as described below.

D.    If the hearing body member receives an ex parte communication in violation of this section, he or she shall place on the record:

1.    All written communications received;

2.    All written responses to the communications;

3.    State the substance of all oral communications received, and all responses made;

4.    The identity of each person from whom the hearing body member received any ex parte communication. The hearing body shall advise all parties that these matters have been placed on the record. Upon request made within 10 days after notice of the ex parte communication, any party desiring to rebut the communication shall be allowed to place a rebuttal statement on the record.

E.    A member of the hearing body who is disqualified shall be counted for purposes of forming a quorum. Any member who is disqualified may do so only by making a full disclosure to the audience, abstaining from voting on the proposal, vacating the seat on the hearing body and physically leaving the hearing.

F.    If all members of the hearing body are disqualified, all members present after stating their reasons for disqualification shall be re-qualified and shall proceed to resolve the issues.

G.    Except for legislative actions, a member absent during the presentation of evidence in a hearing may not participate in the deliberations or decision unless the member has reviewed the evidence received.

H.    The burden of proof is on the proponent. 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. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.13.080 Order of proceedings.

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

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

a.    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.

b.    Any abstentions or disqualifications shall be determined.

2.    The presiding officer may take official notice of known information related to the issue, such as:

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

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

3.    Matters officially noticed need not be established by evidence and may be considered by the hearing body in its determination. Parties requesting notice shall do so on the record. However, the hearing body may take notice of matters listed in subsection (A)(2) of this section if stated for the record. Any matter given official notice may be rebutted.

4.    The hearing body 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.

5.    Information shall be received from the staff and from proponents and opponents. The presiding officer may approve or deny a request from a person attending the hearing to ask a question. Unless the presiding officer specifies otherwise, if the request to ask a question is approved, the presiding officer will direct the question to the person submitting testimony.

6.    When the presiding officer has closed the public hearing portion of the hearing, the hearing body may openly discuss the issue and may further question a person submitting information or the staff if opportunity for rebuttal is provided.

B.    After written notice of the public hearing date has been mailed to interested parties, such hearing shall not be postponed except for good cause and only with the consent of the hearing body. Any request for such postponement shall be for a specific period and be submitted in writing to the Community Development Director and duly forwarded to the hearing body for consideration. If good cause is presented, the hearing body shall postpone such hearing to a date and time certain and, if applicable, shall order all costs of new notice of such hearing to be paid by the party requesting postponement of the hearing. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)

14.13.090 Responsibility for public hearing.

The Community Development Director or City Clerk, as appropriate, or their designee is responsible for the following with regard to open and closed record public hearings and meetings:

A.    Schedule an application for public hearing or meeting as appropriate.

B.    See that public notice is provided pursuant to Chapter 14.15 FMC.

C.    Prepare a staff report on the application which includes an analysis of the proposal, a discussion of previous actions taken, if any, a recommendation for decision-maker action as appropriate, and any recommended conditions of approval or mitigation measures identified in the SEPA threshold determination pursuant to Chapter 16.04 FMC.

D.    Prepare a notice of decision, or a resolution, where applicable, and distribute a copy of the notice to those required by this code to receive such decision.

E.    The Hearings Examiner’s written decision shall serve as a basis for the review of civil infrastructure plans and final plat drawings. Any substantive deviation from the conditions of the decision shall require re-review and approval by the Hearings Examiner. (Ord. 2018 § 1 (Exh. 1), 2017; Ord. 1396 § 2, 2006)