Chapter 22G.060
HEARING EXAMINER

Sections:

22G.060.010    Purpose.

22G.060.020    Creation of office.

22G.060.030    Appointment.

22G.060.040    Qualifications.

22G.060.050    Removal.

22G.060.060    Conflict of interest and appearance of fairness.

22G.060.070    Freedom from improper influence.

22G.060.080    Rules.

22G.060.090    Duties.

22G.060.100    Public hearings.

22G.060.110    Examiner’s decision.

22G.060.120    Notice of examiner’s decision.

22G.060.130    Decision final action by city.

22G.060.140    Conflicting code provisions and rules of procedure.

22G.060.010 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. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.020 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. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.030 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. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.040 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. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.050 Removal.

The examiner may be removed from office for cause by the mayor, subject to confirmation by majority vote of the city council. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.060 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. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.070 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. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.080 Rules.

The examiner shall have the power to prescribe rules and regulations for the scheduling and conduct of hearings 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. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.090 Duties.

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

(1) Preliminary plats;

(2) Appeals from administrative decisions on short plats;

(3) Rezones; except rezoning of land when such rezone is associated with a comprehensive plan designation amendment, and area-wide rezones initiated by the city itself, which shall be heard by the planning commission;

(4) Binding site plan approvals when subject to public review;

(5) Conditional use permits when subject to public review;

(6) Zoning code variances;

(7) Administrative appeals from decisions and interpretations by city staff relating to land use codes, SEPA and permits;

(8) Conditional shoreline development permits, variances and appeals from administrative determinations arising under Chapter 22E.050 MMC;

(9) Complaints by citizens or city staff seeking administrative enforcement of provisions of city land use codes or conditions in development permits and approvals, or seeking rescission or modification of such permits or approvals;

(10) Variances and administrative appeals arising from the city’s sign code;

(11) Variances and administrative appeals arising from the city’s floodplain management code;

(12) Variances and administrative appeals arising under the city’s street department code;

(13) Appeals of suspension or removal of tow truck operators from the city’s list under MMC 11.37.060;

(14) Appeals of a chronic nuisance property notice outlined in Chapter 6.23 MMC;

(15) Such other regulatory, enforcement or quasi-judicial matters as may be assigned to the examiner by the mayor and city council. (Ord. 3093 § 7, 2018; Ord. 2970 § 2, 2014; Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.100 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. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.110 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:

(1) Findings of fact based upon the record and conclusions therefrom which support the decision;

(2) 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;

(3) If a time limit exists for filing an administrative or judicial appeal of the decision, said time limit shall be disclosed. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.120 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 in the case. “Parties of record” shall include the applicant and all other persons who specifically request notice of the decision. The examiner may establish rules for registering parties of record. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.130 Decision final action by city.

Unless specifically provided otherwise by ordinance, all decisions of the hearing examiner shall be final action by the city. Hearing examiner decisions shall be appealable pursuant to Chapter 22G.010 MMC, Article VIII, Appeals. (Ord. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).

22G.060.140 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. 2852 § 10 (Exh. A), 2011).