Chapter 2.20


2.20.010    Creation of office of the hearing examiner.

2.20.020    Appointment and terms.

2.20.030    Qualifications.

2.20.040    Examiner pro tem.

2.20.050    Conflict of interest – Appearance of fairness.

2.20.060    Freedom from improper influence.

2.20.070    Examiner’s decision or recommendation.

2.20.080    Land use applications.

2.20.090    Report by department of community services.

2.20.100    Land use public hearing.

2.20.110    Rules and regulations.

2.20.120    Examiner’s findings.

2.20.130    Reconsideration.

2.20.140    Appeals from hearing examiner’s findings or recommendations on assessment rolls.

2.20.150    Land use appeals.

2.20.160    Council action on land use recommendations from hearing examiner.

2.20.010 Creation of office of the hearing examiner.

The office of the hearing examiner, hereinafter referred to as “examiner,” is hereby created. The term examiner shall likewise include any examiner pro tem.

A. The examiner is an independent office of the city.

B. The examiner is appointed by the mayor, and approved by a majority of the council. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.020 Appointment and terms.

The examiner shall serve on such terms and conditions as their contract shall provide. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.030 Qualifications.

The examiner shall be appointed solely with regard to his or her qualifications 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 proceedings and to discharge such other functions conferred upon the examiner by the city council. This chapter shall not limit or restrict the city council from designating different hearing examiners for different classes of proceedings such as land use applications or final assessment rolls for any local improvement districts of the city. The examiner shall hold no other elective or appointive office or position in the city government.

In accordance with RCW 35.44.070, the council may designate a hearing examiner or other officer (a “hearing examiner”) to conduct the public hearing required for the final assessment roll for any local improvement district of the city. In the resolution setting the date, time and place for the public hearing, the council may establish guidelines for the hearing examiner, including a schedule for submitting his or her recommendations to the council and other matters as may be consistent with state law governing the confirmation of an assessment roll. The hearing examiner may establish procedures for conduct of such hearing consistent with state law and the North Bend Municipal Code. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.040 Examiner pro tem.

Any examiner pro tem shall be appointed by the mayor after consultation with the examiner and shall, in the event of the absence or the inability of the examiner to act, have all the duties and powers of the examiner. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.050 Conflict of interest – Appearance of fairness.

A. Participants in the regulatory process have the right, insofar as possible, to have the examiner free from personal interest or prehearing contacts on regulatory matters considered by him or her. It is recognized that there is a countervailing public right to free access to public officials on any matter. If such personal interest or prehearing contact impairs the examiner’s ability to act on the matter, the examiner shall recuse himself or herself from such matter, unless all parties agree in writing to have the matter heard by said examiner.

B. The examiner shall not conduct or participate in any hearing or decision in which the examiner has direct or indirect personal interest which might interfere with his or her decision making process. Any actual or potential conflict of interest shall be disclosed to the parties immediately upon discovery of such conflict. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.060 Freedom from improper influence.

No councilmember, 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. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.070 Examiner’s decision or recommendation.

A. The examiner’s recommendation or decision on land use applications may be to grant or deny the application, or the examiner may recommend or require of the applicant such conditions, modifications and restrictions as the examiner finds necessary to make the subject of the application consistent with the objectives and goals of the comprehensive plan, development regulations, critical areas regulations (Chapters 14.05 through 14.12 NBMC), and other ordinances of the city of North Bend.

In cases of recommendations, the examiner’s findings and conclusions shall be submitted to the city council, which shall have the final authority. The hearing by the examiner shall constitute the public hearing by the city council.

B. If a hearing examiner conducts an assessment roll hearing, he or she shall reduce his or her findings and recommendations to writing and file a written report with the city clerk within a period to be specified by the council. Within five business days of receiving such report, the city clerk shall mail notice that the report has been filed to any person who filed a request for special notice or written protest at or prior to the public hearing on the assessment roll in accordance with RCW 35.44.080. A copy of the hearing examiner’s report will be available to the public in the office of the city clerk. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.080 Land use applications.

Applications for all land use matters to be heard by the examiner shall be first submitted to the department of community services, which shall accept complete applications. The department shall be responsible for assigning a date of public hearing for each application, which date shall be scheduled in a timely manner after the applicant has complied with all requirements and furnished all necessary data to the department. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.090 Report by department of community services.

When such land use application has been set for public hearing, the department shall coordinate and assemble the comments and recommendations of other city departments and governmental agencies having an interest or authority in the subject application and shall prepare a report summarizing the factors involved and the department’s findings and recommendations. At least seven calendar days prior to the scheduled hearing, the report shall be filed with the examiner and copies thereof shall be mailed to the applicant and shall be made available for use by any interested party for the cost of reproduction. In the event the applicant is unable to attend the scheduled hearing, the examiner may, or may not, grant a continuance. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.100 Land use public hearing.

Before rendering a decision or recommendation on any land use application or appeal, the examiner shall hold one public hearing thereon. Notification of the time and place of the public hearing shall be given as follows:

A. Published and posted notice at least 10 days prior to scheduled hearing; and

B. Mailed notice to all parties of record at least 10 days prior to scheduled hearing. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.110 Rules and regulations.

The examiner shall have the authority to prescribe rules and regulations for the conduct of hearings under this chapter, to administer oaths, and to preserve order. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.120 Examiner’s findings.

When the examiner renders a decision or recommendation, the examiner shall make and enter written findings and conclusions which support such decision. The findings and conclusions shall set forth and demonstrate the manner in which the decision or recommendation is consistent with applicable laws, regulations and policies of the city of North Bend. The decision or recommendation shall be rendered as soon as possible but in all events within 20 working days of the conclusion of the hearing. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.130 Reconsideration.

Any aggrieved person who feels that the decision of the examiner is based on erroneous procedures, errors of law or fact, or the discovery of new evidence which could not be reasonably available at the prior hearing may make a written request for reconsideration by the examiner within 10 days of the date the decision is rendered. This request shall set forth the specific errors or new information relied upon by such appellant, and the examiner may, after review of the record, take further action as he or she deems proper. There may be only one reconsideration request per application. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.140 Appeals from hearing examiner’s findings or recommendations on assessment rolls.

If the council designates a hearing examiner to conduct the public hearing on an assessment roll, the following procedures are established for an appeal to the city council by any person protesting a finding or recommendation made by the hearing examiner regarding the assessment roll:

A. An appeal may be filed only by a party who timely submitted a written objection to the assessment roll at or prior to the assessment roll hearing. The notice of appeal shall state clearly (1) the number of the local improvement district, (2) the appellant’s name and address and of the appellant’s attorney or other agent, if any, (3) the recommendation being appealed, (4) the error of fact, law, or procedure alleged to have been made by the hearing examiner and the effect of the alleged error on the recommendation, and (5) the redress sought by the appellant. The notice of appeal shall be filed with the city clerk, together with a fee of $250.00, no later than the fourteenth day after the day upon which the report of the hearing examiner is mailed by the city clerk.

B. Upon the filing of a notice of appeal, the city clerk shall promptly notify the city attorney and furnish a copy of the notice to the city council and the hearing examiner. Within 14 days following the filing of a notice of appeal, the city council shall set a time and place for a hearing on the appeal, provided the time shall be as soon as practicable in order to avoid accumulating additional interest on the obligations of the local improvement district. The city clerk shall promptly mail notice to the appellant of the time and place for the hearing on the appeal.

C. Review by the city council on appeal shall be limited to and shall be based solely on the record from the public hearing; provided, however, that the city council may permit oral or written arguments or comments when confined to the content of the record of the hearing below. No new evidence may be presented. Written arguments shall not be considered unless filed with the city council at least one day prior to the hearing on appeal, and the city council may determine the appeal on the record, with or without written argument.

D. In respect to the matter appealed, the city council may adopt or reject, in whole or in part, the findings and recommendations of the hearing examiner or officer or make such other disposition of the matter as is authorized by RCW 35.44.100 and subsection C of this section. The city council shall reduce its determination to writing, file the original in the record of the local improvement district, and transmit a copy of the same to the appellant. No ordinance confirming an assessment roll may be enacted by the council until all appeals to the council are decided.

E. Any appeal from a decision of the city council regarding any assessment may be made to the superior court within the time and in the manner provided by law. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.150 Land use appeals.

When an appeal has been filed with the director or city clerk as prescribed by ordinance, the hearing shall be scheduled pursuant to the appeal procedures set forth in Chapter 20.06 NBMC. The land use decision of the examiner approving, modifying, or denying an application or an appeal shall be final and conclusive unless a written appeal is filed according to the city’s appeal procedures as set forth in Chapter 20.06 NBMC. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).

2.20.160 Council action on land use recommendations from hearing examiner.

Any land use matter requiring action by the city council shall be taken by the adoption of a resolution by the council. When taking any such final action, the council shall make and enter findings of fact from the record and conclusions therefrom which support its action. The city council may adopt all or portions of the examiner’s findings and conclusions. The city council is expressly authorized to condition its approval of any matter, including but not limited to conditions requiring the dedication of land, public improvements, and payment of impact fees authorized by RCW 82.02.020 or any other law or agreement. (Ord. 1432 § 1 (part), 2011).


Prior legislation: Ord. 1053.