Chapter 1.24
PROCEDURES FOR QUASI-JUDICIAL HEARINGS

Sections:

1.24.010    Application of Provisions.

1.24.020    Definitions.

1.24.030    Standing – Notice – Continuance.

1.24.040    Grounds for Appeal.

1.24.050    Quorum – Decision.

1.24.060    Submission of Documents.

1.24.070    Requests to Testify.

1.24.080    Presentations at Hearing.

1.24.090    Decision on Appeal.

1.24.100    Remand to Examiner.

1.24.110    Reconsideration.

1.24.010 Application of Provisions.

The procedures for quasi-judicial hearings, as set forth in this Chapter, shall supersede any conflicting references to procedures for quasi-judicial hearings in the Pierce County Code. (Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.020 Definitions.

As used in this Chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

A.    "Aggrieved" means adversely affected by proceedings before or decisions of the Examiner, Council, or any Pierce County department.

B.    "Council" means the Pierce County Council.

C.    "County" means Pierce County, together with any of its subdivisions, departments, or agencies.

D.    "Examiner" means the Office of the Pierce County Hearing Examiner or Deputy Examiner.

E.    "May" means optional and permissive, and does not impose a requirement.

F.    "New evidence" means any and all evidence that is submitted or received after the date the Examiner closes the official record.

G.    "Newspaper of general circulation" means a newspaper which is regularly distributed in (i) one of the four geographic areas identified by the Planning Department and (ii) the area where the subject of the application has been proposed.

H.    "Official record" means the written and oral information, exhibits, reports, testimony and other evidence submitted in a timely manner and accepted by the Examiner.

I.    "Parties of record" means those persons or entities who:

1.    Testified before the Examiner; or

2.    Listed their names on a sign-up sheet, which shall be available during the Examiner's hearings; or

3.    Specifically, advised the Planning Department or Examiner by individual written letter of their desire to become a party of record; or

4.    The applicant or appellant and any of applicant's or appellant's agents.

J.    "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, Pierce County department, or public or private organization.

K.    "Planning Department" means the Pierce County Planning and Public Works Department, the Director thereof, or his or her designee.

L.    "Shall" means mandatory and imposes a requirement.

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.030 Standing – Notice – Continuance.

Quasi-Judicial hearings shall be held at the request of an aggrieved person who is a party of record to a decision by the Examiner. The hearing date shall not be scheduled until after the Legal Clerk of the Council receives the notice of appeal and official record. The Legal Clerk shall cause notice of the hearing date to be mailed to the parties of record listed in the Examiner's decision at least 24 days prior to the initially scheduled hearing date. A request for continuance of the hearing by a party of record may be granted by the Council upon a showing of good cause. (Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.040 Grounds for Appeal.

An aggrieved party of record may appeal a final decision of the Examiner to the Council based upon the following grounds:

A.    The Examiner's findings of fact are not supported by substantial evidence in the record; or

B.    The Examiner failed to apply the law correctly.

(Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.050 Quorum – Decision.

The presence of five Councilmembers and a concurrence of at least a majority thereof shall be required to dispose of any matter. The decision of the Examiner shall be sustained if a majority of the Council is unable to concur. (Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.060 Submission of Documents.

Parties of record may submit documents to the Council in support of their position on appeal. Parties submitting documents must provide the Legal Clerk with the original and eight copies of such documents at least ten days prior to the scheduled date for Council action. Documents that contain information not contained in the record of the prior proceeding shall not be admitted. (Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.070 Requests to Testify.

The party filing a notice of appeal is deemed the appellant for the purposes of these Rules. Other parties of record who wish to provide testimony in opposition to or in support of the appellant must submit a written request to the Legal Clerk at least ten days prior to the scheduled hearing date. (Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.080 Presentations at Hearing.

The presiding officer shall determine the proper order of presentation for the hearing. The procedure may be as follows:

A.    The Council's Legal Counsel shall present an opening statement briefly stating the established facts, disputes and issues on appeal.

B.    The appellant may then present oral argument and may reserve a portion of her/his time for rebuttal. The appellant is entitled to open and close oral argument.

C.    Following appellant, the opposing parties of record may present oral argument.

D.    Following argument by the parties, the Council may request such further clarification from the Examiner, Planning Department Staff, or the parties as it deems necessary to fully consider the case, provided however, that if the answer to such questions requires knowledge of factual evidence which is not contained in the record, such questions shall be stricken.

E.    Appellants are allowed 15 minutes for oral argument. This time may be increased up to thirty minutes if the Chair and/or Council deems additional time is warranted. Requests for additional time must be submitted in writing to the Legal Clerk at least ten days prior to the hearing and will be considered as the first issue of the hearing. Parties of record in opposition to the appellant are allowed an amount of time equal to the amount of time granted to the appellant. In the event there is more than one appellant or opposing party of record, the parties on each side will share the time granted equally, unless the parties agree to some other allocation. The Legal Clerk will act as timekeeper.

F.    The Council will hear argument on behalf of appellant or parties who properly request to speak and who appear at the time of oral argument. If none of the parties appear for oral argument, the Council may order argument at a later time or may decide the matter on the record and written memoranda submitted.

(Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.090 Decision on Appeal.

A.    Following the presentation of argument and questions by the Council, a Councilmember may state in motion form, a proposed decision on the appeal. A second to the motion is not necessary.

B.    If the Council determines that the Examiner's findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record and if the Examiner applied the law correctly, then the Council shall uphold the Examiner's decision.

C.    If the Council determines that the Examiner's findings are not supported by substantial evidence in the record, then the Council shall reverse the Examiner's decision.

D.    If the Council determines that the Examiner failed to apply the law correctly, then the Council shall reverse or remand the Examiner's decision. The decision of the Examiner on remand shall be final and subject to appeal according to the procedures set forth in this Chapter.

(Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.100 Hearing on Remand.

If a matter is remanded to the Examiner, a new hearing may be scheduled. (Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)

1.24.110 Reconsideration.

Any aggrieved party or person affected by the action may, within seven working days of the Council's oral decision, file with the Legal Clerk a written request for reconsideration based on any one of the following grounds materially affecting the substantial rights of said party or person:

A.    Errors of procedure or misinterpretation of fact, material to the party seeking the request for reconsideration.

B.    Irregularity in the proceedings before the Council by which such party was prevented from having a fair hearing.

C.    Clerical mistakes in the official file or record transmitted to the Council, including errors arising from inadvertence, oversight, or omission, which may have materially affected the Council's decision on the matter.

Upon receipt of a request for reconsideration, the Council shall review said request and take such further action as the Council deems proper, including, but not limited to, the right to deny said request for reconsideration without oral argument, or the right to rehear and render a revised decision on the matter if deemed appropriate by the Council. Only one request for reconsideration may be filed by any one person or party, even if the Council reverses or modifies its original decision or changes the language in the decision originally rendered.

(Ord. 94-111S § 1 (part), 1994)