17.09.010    Administrative approvals by the Land Use Administrator without notice.

17.09.020    Administrative approvals by the Land Use Administrator subject to notice.

17.09.030    Decisions of the Hearing Examiner.

17.09.035    Appeals.

17.09.050    City Council actions.

17.09.060    Procedures for public hearings.

17.09.070    Reconsideration.

17.09.080    Remand.

17.09.090    Final decision.

17.09.100    Judicial appeals.

17.09.110    Transcript costs.

17.09.010 Administrative approvals by the Land Use Administrator without notice.

A. The Land Use Administrator may approve, approve with conditions, or deny the following without notice:

1. Boundary line adjustments.

2. Extension of time for approval.

3. Minor amendments or modifications to approved developments or permits. Major amendments are those which may affect the precise dimensions or location of buildings, accessory structures and driveways, but do not affect:

i    overall project character,

ii    increase the number of lots, dwelling units or density or

iii    decrease the quality or amount of open space.

4. Encroachment permits to work within the public right of way.

5. Fill and grade permits.

6. Building permits.

B. The Land Use Administrator’s decisions under this section shall be final on the date issued. (Ord 01-86 §3 (Ex A))

17.09.020 Administrative approvals by the Land Use Administrator subject to notice.

The Land Use Administrator may grant approval, with or without conditions, or may deny applications, for the following, subject to the notice and appeal requirements of this chapter:

A. Home Occupation Permits;

B. Short Subdivisions and Binding Site Plans:

1. Preliminary Approval. The Land Use Administrator may grant preliminary approval or approval with conditions, or may deny applications for short subdivisions and Binding Site Plans, subject to the notice and appeal requirements of this section.

2. Final Approval: Preliminary approvals of short subdivisions and Binding Site Plans shall become final subject to the following:

i. If no appeal is submitted, the preliminary approval becomes final at the expiration of the 15-day notice period.

ii. If a written notice of appeal is timely received, the matter will be referred to the Hearing Examiner, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. (Ord 08-243 §10; Ord 07-216 §3; Ord 07-201, §2 (Ex B); Ord 01-86 §3 (Ex A))

17.09.030 Decisions of the Hearing Examiner.

A. Staff Report. The Land Use Administrator or other appropriate member of the City’s staff, shall prepare a staff report on the proposed development or action, summarizing the comments and recommendations of City Departments, affected agencies and special districts, and evaluating whether the proposed development is consistent with the Land Use Code, and the City’s adopted plans and regulations. The staff report shall include findings, conclusions and proposed recommendations for disposition of the development application.

B. Hearing. The Hearing Examiner shall conduct a public hearing on development proposals for the purpose of taking testimony, hearing evidence, considering the facts germane to the proposal, and evaluating the proposal for consistency with Land Use Code, and the City’s adopted plans and regulations. Notice of the hearing before the Hearing Examiner shall be given according to Chapter 17.07.

C. Required Findings. The Hearing Examiner shall not approve a proposed development unless they first make the following findings and conclusions, in addition to findings and conclusions set out in specific sections of the Land Use Code applicable to the proposed development.

1. The development is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and meets the requirements and intent of the Land Use Code.

2. The development makes adequate provisions for open space, drainage ways, streets and other public ways, transit stops, water supply, sanitary wastes, parks and recreation facilities, playgrounds, sites for schools and school grounds, including sidewalks and other planning features that assure safe walking conditions for students who walk to and from school.

3. The development adequately mitigates potential impacts identified in the Land Use Code.

4. The development is beneficial to the public health, safety and welfare and is in the public interest.

5. The development does not lower the level of service of transportation and/or neighborhood park facilities below the minimum standards established within the Comprehensive Plan. If the development results in a level of service lower than those set forth in the Comprehensive Plan, the development may be approved if improvements or strategies to raise the level of service above the minimum standard are made concurrent with the development. For the purpose of this section, "concurrent with the development" is defined as the required improvements or strategies in place at the time of occupancy, or a financial commitment is in place to complete the improvements or strategies within six (6) years of approval of the development.

6. The area, location and features of land proposed for dedication are a direct result of the development proposal, are reasonably needed to mitigate the effects of the development, and are proportional to the impacts created by the development.

D. Decision. The Hearing Examiner shall prepare and adopt a decision setting forth their findings, conclusions and decision. (Ord 07-218 §5; Ord 07-201, §2 (Ex B); Ord 01-86 §3 (Ex A))

17.09.035 Appeals.

Except for decisions appealed to the Grant County District Court pursuant to RCW 36.70C, appeals of decisions made pursuant to the Land Use Code shall be governed by the following:

A. Notice of Appeal. A notice of appeal shall be filed with the Finance Officer/Clerk within ten (10) calendar days after the decision requested to be reviewed has been transmitted to the appealing party, which includes the following:

1. A copy of the decision being appealed;

2. The name and address of the appealing party;

3. The nature of the interest of the appealing party in the decision being appealed;

4. The specific reasons why the appellant believes the decision to be wrong, including identification of each finding of fact, each conclusion, and each condition or action ordered which the appellant alleges is erroneous. The appellant shall bear the burden of proving the decision was wrong;

5. A specific description of the proposed outcome of the appeal;

6. The filing fee.

B. Process. Upon receipt of a notice of appeal, the City shall schedule with the applicable hearing body either an open record hearing or a closed record appeal hearing if an open record hearing has already been held on an application.

C. Hearing. Closed record appeals shall be conducted in accordance with the hearing body’s rules of procedure and shall serve to provide argument and guidance for the body’s decision. Closed record appeals shall be conducted generally as provided for public hearings, except that no new evidence or testimony shall be given or received except if it relates to the validity of the underlying decision at the time the decision was made and is needed to decide disputed issues regarding (i) the proper constitution of or disqualification grounds pertaining to the decision maker, or (ii) the use of unlawful procedure. The parties to the appeal may submit timely written statements or arguments.

D. Decision.

1. A decision following a closed record appeal hearing shall include one of the following actions:

i. Grant the appeal in whole or in part.

ii. Deny the appeal in whole or in part.

iii. Remand for further proceedings and/or evidentiary hearing.

2. In the event the hearing body determines that the public hearing record or record on appeal is insufficient or otherwise flawed, it may remand the matter back to the hearing body to correct the deficiencies. The items or issues to be considered and the time frame for completing the additional work shall be specified.

E. Burden of Proof. The appellant shall have the burden of proof in all appeals. (Ord 07-201 §2 (Ex B) 2007)

17.09.050 City Council actions.

The City Council reviews and approves Final Plats, pursuant to section 19.12.010, and Development Agreements pursuant to Chapter 17.11.(Ord 07-218 §3 (Ed. Note: typographical error in the preamble of §3 of Ord 07-218 was corrected during compilation; Ord 07-201, §2 (Ex B); Ord 01-86 §3 (Ex A)

17.09.060 Procedures for public hearings.

Public hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of procedure adopted by the hearing body and shall serve to create or supplement an evidentiary record upon which the hearing body will base its decision. The Chair shall open the public hearing and, in general, observe the following sequence of events:

A. Staff presentation, including submittal of any administrative reports. Members of the hearing body may ask questions of the staff.

B. Applicant presentation, including submittal of any materials. Members of the hearing body may ask questions of the applicant.

C. Testimony or comments by the public germane to the matter. Questions directed to the staff or the applicant shall be posed by the Chair at its discretion.

D. Rebuttal, response or clarifying statements by the staff and the applicant.

E. The evidentiary portion of the public hearing shall be closed and the hearing body shall deliberate on the matter before it. (Ord 01-86 §3 (Ex A))

17.09.070 Reconsideration.

A party to a public hearing may seek reconsideration only of a final decision by filing a written request for reconsideration with the Finance Officer/Clerk within 5 days of the oral announcement of the final decision. The request shall comply with Section 17.09.040. The hearing body shall consider the request at its next regularly scheduled meeting, without public comment or argument by the party filing the request. If the request is denied, the previous action shall become final. Reconsideration should be granted only when an obvious legal error has occurred or a material factual issue has been overlooked that would change the previous decision. If the request is granted, the hearing body may immediately revise and reissue its decision or may call for argument in accordance with the procedures for closed record appeals. (Ord 07-201, §2 (Ex B) 2007; Ord 01-86 §3 (Ex A))

17.09.080 Remand.

In the event a reviewing body determines that the public hearing record or record on appeal is insufficient or otherwise flawed, it may remand the matter back to the hearing body to correct the deficiencies. The reviewing body shall specify the items or issues to be considered and the time frame for completing the additional work. The reviewing body may hold a public hearing on a closed record appeal only for the limited purposes identified in RCW 34.05.562(1). (Ord 01-86 §3 (Ex A))

17.09.090 Final decision.

A. Time. The final decision on a development proposal shall be made within 120 days from the date of the letter of completeness. Exceptions to this include:

1. Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan or Land Use Code.

2. Any time required to correct plans, perform studies or provide additional information, provided that within 14 days of receiving the requested additional information, the Director shall determine whether the information is adequate to resume the project review.

3. Substantial project revisions made or requested by an applicant, in which case the 120 days will be calculated from the time that the City determines the revised application to be completed.

4. All time required for the preparation and review of an environmental impact statement.

5. Projects involving the siting of an essential public facility.

6. An extension of time mutually agreed upon by the City and the applicant.

7. All time required to obtain a variance.

8. Any remand to the hearing body.

9. All time required for the administrative appeal of a Determination of Significance.

B. Effective Date. The final decision of a hearing body shall be effective on the date stated in the decision, motion, resolution, or ordinance, provided that the date from which appeal periods shall be calculated shall be the date the council or hearing body takes action on the motion, resolution, or ordinance. (Ord 01-86 §3 (Ex A))

17.09.100 Judicial appeals.

The final decision on an application may be appealed by a party of record with standing to file a land use petition in Grant County Superior Court. Such petition must be filed within twenty-one (21) days of issuance of the decision, as provided in RCW 36.70C as it now exists or as may be hereafter amended. (Ord 01-86 §3 (Ex A))

17.09.110 Transcript costs.

In any appeal or application for writ of certiorari under this chapter, the appellant shall be responsible to pay all costs of having any transcript or record prepared that is required. Further, any person desiring to review a transcript or portion thereof who is not a party to any appeal shall be responsible to pay all costs for the preparation of such transcript or portion thereof which such person desires to review. Copies of the electronic recordings of the hearings shall be made available to the public on request provided the cost of such copying shall be paid by the requester. (Ord 01-86 §3 (Exh A))