Chapter 14.12


14.12.010    Definition of hearing body.

14.12.020    Rules of proceedings.

14.12.030    Disqualification.

14.12.040    Procedure.

14.12.050    Decisions and recommendations.

14.12.010 Definition of hearing body.

As used throughout this chapter, the term “hearing body” shall mean the hearing examiner, the city council, or the administrative official, as appropriate for the class review in process. (Ord. 2004-17 § 1, 2004).

14.12.020 Rules of proceedings.

A. Ex Parte Communications. No member of a hearing body may communicate regarding any issue of a proceeding other than communications necessary to the procedural aspects of the hearing process unless he or she provides notice and opportunity for all parties to participate; provided the following exceptions:

1. The hearing body may communicate with staff members unless the proceeding is associated with an enforcement investigation or a prosecution.

2. The hearing body may receive advice from legal counsel.

B. If a member of a hearing body receives an ex parte communication prior to a formal proceeding, the member of the hearing body shall promptly disclose the communication elements as follows:

1. All written communications received.

2. All written responses to the communication.

3. The substance of all received and responding communication.

4. Identity of all ex parte communicating parties.

C. The presiding official shall advise all parties that all ex parte communication has been included in the record. Upon request within 10 days after notice of ex parte communication, any party desiring to rebut the communication shall be allowed to do so. Any rebuttal shall be included in the record. (Ord. 2004-17 § 1, 2004).

14.12.030 Disqualification.

A. Anyone seeking to disqualify a member of a hearing body based upon the appearance of fairness doctrine pursuant to Chapter 42.36 RCW must raise the challenge as soon as the basis of the disqualification becomes known to the individual. Where the basis is known or should reasonably have been known prior to the issuance of a decision and is not raised, it may not be relied on to invalidate the decision.

B. Any disqualified member of a hearing body shall be counted for the purpose of forming a quorum after first making full disclosure to the audience, abstaining from voting on the subject issue and physically leaving the hearing.

C. A member of the hearing body may not abstain from voting on an issue unless first disclosing evidence satisfactory to the hearing body that he or she is subject to one or more of the following circumstances:

1. Has a personal interest in the property or issue.

2. Stands to gain or lose financial benefit as a result of the outcome.

3. Cannot hear and consider the issue in a fair and objective manner. (Ord. 2004-17 § 1, 2004).

14.12.040 Procedure.

A. Order of Proceedings. Public hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the city’s established or usual hearing procedures and shall serve to create or supplement an evidentiary record upon which the hearing body will base its decision. The hearing body shall open the public hearing and, in general, observe the following sequence of events:

1. Staff Presentation. The presiding officer and/or hearing body may ask questions of the staff following any staff presentation.

2. Applicant Presentation. The presiding officer and/or hearing body may ask questions of the applicant.

3. Public Testimony. Questions may be directed to staff or the applicant; questions shall be posed by the presiding officer at his discretion.

4. Rebuttal. Response or clarifying statements by staff and the applicant.

5. Closing. The public hearing shall be closed and the hearing body may deliberate on the matter. At this time, the presiding officer may further question a person submitting information, or members of city staff, if opportunity for rebuttal is provided. (Ord. 2004-17 § 1, 2004).

14.12.050 Decisions and recommendations.

A. Final Decision. Following the public hearing, the hearing body shall approve, conditionally approve, or deny the application; or forward a recommendation to the decisionmaking body if different than the hearing body.

B. Findings. Final decisions of the hearing body shall be in writing and be signed by no less than a simple majority of the hearing body. Final decisions shall include findings of fact and conclusions, based on the record, to support the decision. Such findings of fact and conclusions shall also describe the manner in which the decision is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and land use development policies.

C. Time Limit. A final decision of a permit application, unless a longer period is mutually agreed upon by the applicant and the city, shall be rendered within 10 days following the conclusion of review by the decisionmaking body. A notice of decision shall be distributed pursuant to TMC 14.10.030. (Ord. 2004-17 § 1, 2004).