Chapter 2.58
HEARING EXAMINER

Sections:

2.58.010    Short title.

2.58.020    Purpose.

2.58.030    Office created.

2.58.040    Appointment – Term.

2.58.050    Compensation.

2.58.060    Qualifications.

2.58.070    Examiner pro tem – Qualifications and duties.

2.58.080    Conflict of interest.

2.58.090    Unlawful to attempt improper influence.

2.58.095    Powers.

2.58.100    Duties.

2.58.105    Repealed.

2.58.110    Repealed.

2.58.120    Repealed.

2.58.130    Repealed.

2.58.140    Repealed.

2.58.150    Reconsideration of decision.

2.58.160    Decision final.

2.58.170    Repealed.

2.58.180    City administrative staff considered person or party.

2.58.010 Short title.

This chapter shall be hereinafter known as the “hearing examiner ordinance” and may be cited as such, and shall be hereinafter referred to as “this chapter.” (Ord. 1512 § 1, 1991)

2.58.020 Purpose.

It is the general objective of this chapter to:

A. Provide an efficient, impartial and fair administrative hearing system;

B. Render land use regulatory decisions and recommendations to the city council;

C. Provide a greater degree of due process in regulatory and other administrative hearings; and

D. Separate the land use policy formulation and the land use policy administration processes. (Ord. 1836 § 1, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 2, 1991)

2.58.030 Office created.

The office the hearing examiner, hereinafter referred to as examiner, is created. The examiner shall interpret, review, and implement ordinances, policies and regulations as provided in this chapter and other ordinances. The term “examiner” shall likewise include the term “examiner pro tem” as appointed and confirmed. (Ord. 1836 § 2, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 3, 1991)

2.58.040 Appointment – Term.

The hearing examiner shall be appointed by the mayor or city administrator through an agreement approved by the city council. (Ord. 1836 § 3, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 4, 1991)

2.58.050 Compensation.

The examiner may, at the discretion of the city council, be classified as a permanent part-time employee, or the city may contract with the examiner for the performance of duties described in this chapter. The compensation to be paid the examiner and examiner pro tem shall be established in the annual city budget. (Ord. 1836 § 4, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 5, 1991)

2.58.060 Qualifications.

The examiner shall be appointed solely with regard to his or her qualifications for the duties of the office which shall include, but not be limited to, persons with appropriate educational experience, such as urban planner or public administrator, with at least five years’ experience, persons who have extensive experience in planning work in a responsible capacity, and persons with legal experience, participating where the experience is in the area of land use management and administrative law. (Ord. 1836 § 5, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 6, 1991)

2.58.070 Examiner pro tem – Qualifications and duties.

The examiner pro tem shall, in the event of the absence or the inability of the examiner to act, have all the duties and powers of the examiner. The examiner pro tem shall be similarly qualified as the examiner. (Ord. 1836 § 6, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 7, 1991)

2.58.080 Conflict of interest.

A. 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 exert such influence upon the examiner that might interfere with his or her decisionmaking process. Any actual or potential conflict of interest shall be disclosed to the parties immediately upon discovery of such conflict.

B. Participants in the land use regulatory process and other administrative hearing matters have the right, insofar as possible, to have the examiner free from personal interest or prehearing contacts on 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. In such personal or prehearing matter, such person shall so state and shall abstain therefrom to the end that the proceeding is fair and has the appearance of fairness, unless all parties agree in writing to have the matter heard by said examiner. (Ord. 1981 § 1, 2001: Ord. 1836 § 7, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 8, 1991)

2.58.090 Unlawful to attempt improper influence.

No city 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. 1836 § 8, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 9, 1991)

2.58.095 Powers.

A. In the performance of duties prescribed by this chapter or other ordinances, the examiner may:

1. Administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses, rule upon offers of proof, receive relevant evidence, and conduct discovery procedures which may include propounding interrogatories and oral depositions pursuant to rules promulgated by the agency; provided, that no person shall be compelled to divulge information which he could not be compelled to divulge in a court of law;

2. Upon the request of an agency or any party, or upon his own volition, issue and cause to be served subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and for production for examination of any books, records, or other information in the possession and under the control of any witness; provided, that any such subpoena shall state the name and address of the witness sought, and, if for the production of books, documents or things, shall specifically identify the same and the relevance thereof to the issues involved;

3. Regulate the course of the hearing in accordance with agency rules and this chapter and other applicable ordinances;

4. Hold conferences for the settlement or simplification of the issues by consent of the parties;

5. Dispose of procedural requests or similar matters;

6. Make decisions or recommendations in accordance with SMC 2.58.100; and

7. Take any other action authorized by ordinance or agency rule consistent therewith.

B. In case of failure or refusal without lawful excuse of any person duly subpoenaed to attend pursuant to such subpoena, or to be sworn, or to answer any material and proper question, or to produce upon reasonable notice any material or proper books or records of other information in his possession and under his control, the examiner may invoke the aid of the city attorney who shall apply to the appropriate court for an order or other court action necessary to secure enforcement of the subpoena. (Ord. 1981 § 2, 2001: Ord. 1836 § 9, 1998)

2.58.100 Duties.

The examiner shall receive and examine available information, conduct public hearings, prepare record thereof, and enter findings of fact and conclusions based upon those facts in the following matters:

A. Open record appeals pursuant to SMC 18.56.170.

B. Open record predecision hearings pursuant to SMC 18.56.175.

C. Appeals from the denial, revocation, and suspension of various business licenses and decisions pursuant to SMC 5.04.150.

D. All other appeals, hearings and interpretations where the examiner retains authority pursuant to other ordinances. (Ord. 1981 § 3, 2001: Ord. 1867 § 1, 1999: Ord. 1836 § 10, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 10, 1991)

2.58.105 Additional duties.

Repealed by Ord. 1836. (Ord. 1662 § 1, 1994)

2.58.110 Application – Presentation.

Repealed by Ord. 1836. (Ord. 1512 § 11, 1991)

2.58.120 Application – Department of community development report.

Repealed by Ord. 1836. (Ord. 1512 § 12, 1991)

2.58.130 Public hearing.

Repealed by Ord. 1836. (Ord. 1512 § 13, 1991)

2.58.140 Decision and recommendation – Findings required.

Repealed by Ord. 1836. (Ord. 1512 § 14, 1991)

2.58.150 Reconsideration of decision.

Where no other provisions for reconsideration are provided in other applicable ordinances, any aggrieved person feeling that the decision of the examiner is based on erroneous procedures, errors of law or fact, error in judgment, 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 15 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. (Ord. 1836 § 11, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 15, 1991)

2.58.160 Decision final.

Unless provided for specifically in another applicable ordinance, the decision of the hearing examiner shall be the final administrative decision of the city. (Ord. 1836 § 12, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 16, 1991)

2.58.170 Council action on application.

Repealed by Ord. 1836. (Ord. 1512 § 17, 1991)

2.58.180 City administrative staff considered person or party.

In all matters before the examiner, the city’s administrative staff shall be considered a “person” and/or “party” and shall have the same rights as any other person or party to make requests for reconsideration by the hearing examiner or to appeal decisions of the examiner to the city council as so provided. (Ord. 1836 § 13, 1998: Ord. 1512 § 18, 1991)