Chapter 1.09


1.09.010    Purpose.

1.09.020    Hearing examiner – Creation.

1.09.030    Appointment of hearing examiner.

1.09.040    Hearing examiner – Qualifications.

1.09.050    Hearing examiner pro tem – Qualifications and duties.

1.09.060    Hearing examiner – Conflict of interest – Freedom from improper influence.

1.09.070    Hearing examiner – Authority and duties.

1.09.080    Applications.

1.09.090    Report by city staff.

1.09.100    Public hearing.

1.09.110    Hearing examiner’s decision and recommendation – Findings required.

1.09.120    Reconsideration.

1.09.130    Appeal of hearing examiner’s decision.

1.09.140    Hearing examiner’s report.

1.09.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide an administrative land use regulatory system which will separate the city’s land use regulatory function from its land use planning function; ensure and expand the principles of fairness and due process in public hearings; and provide an efficient and effective land use regulatory system which integrates the public hearing and decision-making processes for land use matters. (Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.020 Hearing examiner – Creation.

The office of the hearing examiner is created by the city council. The hearing examiner shall interpret, review and implement land use regulations, hear appeals from orders, recommendations, permits, decisions or determinations made by a city official as set forth in this chapter, and review and hear other matters as provided for in this code and other ordinances. The term “hearing examiner” shall likewise include the hearing examiner pro tem. (Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.030 Appointment of hearing examiner.

The hearing examiner shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the mayor, with confirmation by the city council. This position will be a contracted position, reimbursement for which will be prescribed by the contract between the city and the hearing examiner. (Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.040 Hearing examiner – Qualifications.

The hearing examiner shall be appointed solely with regard to qualifications for the duties of such office and shall have such training or experience as will qualify the hearing examiner to conduct administrative or quasi-judicial hearings utilizing land use regulatory codes. The hearing examiner shall have expertise and experience in land use planning, and shall be an attorney licensed to practice in the state of Washington. Additionally, the hearing examiner should have knowledge or experience in at least one of the following areas: environmental sciences, architecture, economics or engineering. (Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.050 Hearing examiner pro tem – Qualifications and duties.

The hearing 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 hearing examiner. The hearing examiner pro tem shall have such training or experience as to satisfy WCC 1.09.040. (Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.060 Hearing examiner – Conflict of interest – Freedom from improper influence.

(1) No hearing examiner shall conduct or participate in any hearing, decision or recommendation in which the hearing examiner has a direct or indirect substantial financial or familial interest, or concerning which the hearing examiner has had substantial prehearing contacts with proponents or opponents. A hearing examiner shall abide by the applicable provisions of state law, including, without limitation, the appearance of fairness doctrine and the Wenatchee City Code.

(2) No person, including city officials, elective or appointive, shall attempt to influence a hearing examiner in any matter pending before him/her, except at a public hearing duly called for such purposes, or to interfere with a hearing examiner in the performance of his/her duties in any other way; provided, that this section shall not prohibit the city attorney from rendering legal services to the hearing examiner upon request, or prohibit other persons or officials from responding in writing to requests for information from the hearing examiner; and further provided, that a city official or employee may, in the performance of his/her own official duties, provide information for the hearing examiner or process a city case before the hearing examiner, when such actions take place or are disclosed in the hearing examiner’s hearing or meeting. (Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.070 Hearing examiner – Authority and duties.

(1) The hearing examiner shall receive and examine available relevant information, including environmental documents, conduct public hearings, cause preparation of a record thereof, prepare and enter findings and conclusions based on these facts for all quasi-judicial applications, including, without limitation, the following:

(a) Applications for variances, conditional use permits;

(b) Preliminary major subdivisions;

(c) Planned developments;

(d) Amendments and/or alterations to plats;

(e) Alterations for short plats or binding site plans;

(f) Appeals alleging an error in a decision of a city official in the interpretation or the enforcement of the zoning code or any other development regulation;

(g) Appeals alleging an error in an administrative decision issued pursuant to WCC 13.09.030 or 13.09.040;

(h) Appeals alleging an error in a historic preservation board decision pursuant to WCC 13.09.050;

(i) Appeals of concurrency test decisions under Chapter 13.32 WCC;

(j) Applications for shoreline substantial development permits subject to quasi-judicial review, shoreline variances, shoreline conditional use permits, and appeals of administrative actions pursuant to the Shoreline Management Act and the city of Wenatchee shoreline master program;

(k) Applications for binding site plans which would result in greater than nine lots, tracts or parcels; and

(l) Any other matters as specifically assigned to the hearing examiner by the city council, mayor, or as prescribed by the Wenatchee City Code.

(2) The decision of the hearing examiner on all matters is final and conclusive, unless appealed pursuant to Chapter 13.11 WCC or the city of Wenatchee shoreline master program.

(3) The hearing examiner’s decision shall be based upon the policies of the comprehensive planning documents of the city, shoreline master program, the standards set forth in the various development regulations of the city or any other applicable program adopted by the city council. When acting upon any of the above applications or appeals, the hearing examiner may grant or deny the application, or may attach reasonable conditions, modifications and restrictions found necessary to make the project compatible with its location and to carry out the goals and policies of the applicable comprehensive plan, shoreline master program, or other applicable plans or programs adopted by the city council.

(4) The hearing examiner shall conduct public hearings and proceedings pursuant to WCC Titles 10, 11, 12, and 13 and the city of Wenatchee shoreline master program and conduct such other hearings or meetings as the city council may from time to time deem appropriate. (Ord. 2014-11 § 1 (Exh. B § C); Ord. 2010-35 § 1; Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.080 Applications.

Applications for all matters to be heard by the hearing examiner shall be presented to the city staff, to be processed according to the applicable provisions of the WCC, including, without limitation, WCC Title 13, Administration of Development Regulations, and the city of Wenatchee shoreline master program. The city staff shall be responsible for assigning a date for the public hearing for each application as required. The hearing examiner may consider two or more applications relating to a single project concurrently, and the findings of fact, conclusions and decision on each application may be covered in one written decision. (Ord. 2014-11 § 1 (Exh. B § C); Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.090 Report by city staff.

City staff shall coordinate and assemble the comments and recommendations of other applicable city officials and governmental agencies having an interest in the application, and shall prepare a report summarizing the factors involved, including recommendations and suggested findings and conclusions. At least seven calendar days prior to the scheduled hearing, the report shall be filed with the hearing examiner and copies thereof shall be mailed to the applicant and shall be made available to any interested party at the cost of reproduction. (Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.100 Public hearing.

(1) Before rendering a decision on any application, the hearing examiner shall hold at least one public hearing thereon, as applicable. Notice of the time and place of the public hearing shall be given as provided in the applicable city code governing the application.

(2) The hearing examiner shall have the authority to prescribe rules and regulations for the conduct of hearings before the hearing examiner, and also to administer oaths and to preserve order. (Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.110 Hearing examiner’s decision and recommendation – Findings required.

(1) When the hearing examiner renders a decision or recommendation, he or she shall make and enter written findings from the record and conclusions thereof that support such decision.

(2) At the conclusion of oral testimony at a public hearing, the hearing examiner may establish the date and time at which the public record will close. The public record may be extended beyond the public hearing for the purpose of allowing written testimony to be submitted. The extension shall not exceed 10 working days after the conclusion of oral testimony. All decisions of the hearing examiner shall be rendered within 10 working days after the date the public record closes.

(3) Upon issuance of the hearing examiner’s decision, the city staff shall transmit a copy of the decision by first class mail to the last address provided to the city by the applicant and send a notice of the decision by first class mail to other interested parties requesting the same. (Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.120 Reconsideration.

The procedures and requirements for a reconsideration of a decision of the hearing examiner are established in WCC 13.11.060. (Ord. 2014-11 § 1 (Exh. B § E); Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.130 Appeal of hearing examiner’s decision.

The final decision by the hearing examiner on any matter within his/her jurisdiction may be appealed in accordance with Chapter 13.11 WCC and the city of Wenatchee shoreline master program. (Ord. 2014-11 § 1 (Exh. B § C); Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))

1.09.140 Hearing examiner’s report.

(1) The hearing examiner shall prepare an annual written report for the city council summarizing activities, actions and observations.

(2) The hearing examiner shall meet with the city council as requested, for the purpose of reviewing his/her observations, including a review of the policies contained in the comprehensive plans, shoreline master program, development regulations and the administration of these policies. (Ord. 2014-11 § 1 (Exh. B § C); Ord. 2007-36 § 1 (Exh. A))