Chapter 2.68


2.68.010    Title.

2.68.020    General objectives.

2.68.030    Creation of land use hearing examiner.

2.68.040    Appointment and terms.

2.68.050    Compensation.

2.68.060    Hearing examiner--Conflict of interest and freedom from improper influence.

2.68.070    Freedom from improper influence.

2.68.080    Duties of the examiner.

2.68.090    Applications.

2.68.100    Public hearing.

2.68.110    Examiner’s decision and recommendation--Findings required.

2.68.120    Council action.

2.68.130    Computation of time.

2.68.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the “Land Use Hearing Examiner Ordinance” or “Hearing Examiner,” may be cited as such. (Ord. 210-B §l, 1989)

2.68.020 General objectives.

It is the general objective of this chapter to:

A. Provide a single, efficient, integrated land use regulatory hearing system;

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

C. Provide a greater degree of due process in land use regulatory hearings. (Ord. 210-B §2, 1989)

2.68.030 Creation of land use hearing examiner.

The office of the land use hearing examiner, referred to as examiner, is created. The examiner shall interpret, review and implement land use regulations as provided in this chapter and other ordinances. (Ord. 210-B §3, 1989)

2.68.040 Appointment and terms.

The hearing examiner shall be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council. (Ord. 210-B §4, 1989)

2.68.050 Compensation.

The examiner shall be compensated at the rate as determined from time to time by the town council with the initial compensation being twenty dollars per hearing. (Ord. 210-B §5, 1989)

2.68.060 Hearing examiner--Conflict of interest and freedom from improper influence.

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 or that might interfere with his or her decision making 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 have the right, insofar as possible, to have the examiner free from personal interest or pre-hearing contacts on land use regulatory 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. If such personal or pre-hearing interest contact impairs the examiner’s ability to act on the matter, such person shall so state and shall abstain therefrom to the end that the proceeding is fair and has the appearance of fairness. (Ord. 210-B §6, 1989)

2.68.070 Freedom from improper influence.

No council member, town 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. 210-B §7, 1989)

2.68.080 Duties of the examiner.

A. Applications. The examiner shall receive and examine available information, conduct public hearings, prepare a record thereof, and enter findings of fact and conclusions based upon those facts, together with a recommendation to the town council for the following types of applications:

1. Conditional use permits;

2. Variances;

3. Appeals of administrative short plats;

4. Appeals from administrative determination of the town’s land use regulation codes;

5. Applications for any other land use regulatory permits which may be required by ordinance;

6. Rezones;

7. Preliminary plats.

B. The examiner shall also conduct public hearings when required under the provisions of the state environmental policy act; conduct public hearings relative to possible revocation of any conditional use permit; conduct such other hearings as the council may from time to time deem appropriate.

C. All applications for hearings shall be accompanied by a twenty-five dollar fee, in addition, the applicant shall pay the costs of publishing the notice of hearing as described in Section 2.68.100 of this chapter.

D. Recommendation or Decision.

1. The examiner’s recommendation or decision may be to grant or deny the application, or the examiner may recommend or require of the applicant such conditions, modifications and restrictions as the examiner finds necessary to make the application compatible with its environment and carry out the objectives and goals of the comprehensive plan, the zoning code, the subdivision code, and other codes and ordinances of the town. Conditions, modifications and restrictions which may be imposed are, but are not limited to, additional setbacks, screenings in the form of landscaping and fencing, covenants, public works type improvements, easements and dedications of additional road rights-of-way; performance bonds may be required to insure compliance with conditions, modifications and restrictions.

2. The examiner’s findings and conclusions shall be submitted to the town council, which shall have the final authority to act on such applications. The hearing by the examiner shall constitute the hearing by the town council unless the council desires to hold supplemental hearings. (Ord. 210-B §8, 1989)

2.68.090 Applications.

Applications for all matters to be heard by the examiner shall be presented to the town clerk. The town clerk shall be responsible for assigning a date of public hearing for each application, which date shall not be more than forty-five days after the application has complied with all requirements and furnished all necessary data along with the application. (Ord. 210-B §9, 1989)

2.68.100 Public hearing.

A. Before rendering a decision or recommendation on any application, the examiner shall hold at least one public hearing thereon.

B. Notice of the time and place of the public hearing shall be given by publication in the Wilbur Register not less than six days prior to such hearing unless a longer period is required in the ordinance governing the application.

C. The examiner shall have the power to prescribe rules and regulations for the conduct of hearings under this chapter and also to administer oaths, and preserve order. (Ord. 210-B §10, 1989)

2.68.110 Examiner’s decision and recommendation--Findings required.

When the examiner renders a recommendation, the examiner shall make and enter written findings from the record and conclusions therefrom which support such decision, which decision shall be rendered on or before the tenth day following the conclusions of the hearing. The copy of such decision including findings and conclusions shall be transmitted by mail to the applicant and other parties of record requesting the same. In the event a matter is uncontested, the applicant shall prepare proposed findings and conclusions and a recommendation for review by the examiner. The examiner shall file a decision with the town council on or before the tenth day following the conclusion of a hearing. The town clerk shall advise all parties the time and date of the council hearing to consider the examiner’s recommendation. (Ord. 239 §1, 1991:  Ord. 210-B §11, 1989)

2.68.120 Council action.

A.  Any application requiring action by the town council shall be taken by the adoption of a resolution or ordinance by the council. Following receipt of the examiner’s decision, a hearing will be held without further notice by the council at the next regularly scheduled town council meeting which follows the tenth day subsequent to date the examiner’s decision was mailed to all parties or filed with the town clerk, whichever event occurs last. When taking any such final action, the council shall make and enter findings of fact from the record and conclusions therefrom which support its action.  The town council may adopt all or portions of the examiner’s findings and conclusions.

B.  In the case of an ordinance for rezone of property, the ordinance shall not be placed on the council’s agenda until all conditions, restrictions, or modifications which may have been stipulated by the council have been accomplished or provisions for compliance made to the satisfaction of the council, if any.

C.  The action of the council, approving, modifying or rejecting a decision of the examiner, shall be final and conclusive, unless within twenty days from the date of the council action an aggrieved party or person applied for a writ of certiorari to the Superior Court of Washington for Lincoln County, for the purpose of review of the action taken.  (Ord. 239 §2, 1991:  Ord. 210-B §12, 1989)

2.68.130 Computation of time.

Computation of any period of time prescribed or allowed by these rules shall begin with the first day following that on which the act or event initiating such period of time shall have occurred.  When the last day of the period so computed is a Saturday, Sunday, or national or state holiday, the period shall run until the end of the next following business day.  (Ord. 210-B §14, 1989)