Chapter 1.43
HEARING EXAMINER

Sections:

1.43.010    Office established.

1.43.020    Appointment.

1.43.030    Qualifications.

1.43.040    Removal.

1.43.050    Standards of conduct.

1.43.060    Rules.

1.43.070    Time computation.

1.43.080    Duties and powers.

1.43.090    Applications.

1.43.100    Master applications.

1.43.110    Report of department.

1.43.120    Examiner’s decision.

1.43.130    Notice of examiner’s decision.

1.43.140    Appeal from examiner’s decision.

1.43.150    Effect of appeal.

1.43.180    Annual report.

1.43.010 Office established.

There is established an office of hearing examiner. The office of examiner shall be under the administrative supervision of the examiner and shall be separate from and not an administrative part of the department of community and economic development. Unless the context requires otherwise, the term “examiner” as used herein shall include deputy examiners and examiners pro tem. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.020 Appointment.

The hearing examiner and any deputy examiners shall be appointed by the city council after consideration of the recommendation of the joint hearing examiner committee created by and pursuant to the “Intergovernmental Agreement for the Mutual Use of Hearing Examiner Services” entered into by and between the city of Yakima and Yakima County, Washington. Such examiner shall serve an indefinite term of office which shall, however, be reviewed one year following the date of original appointment and thereafter every four years. The council may also appoint examiners pro tem to serve in the event of absence or inability to act of the examiner and deputy examiners. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.030 Qualifications.

Examiners shall be appointed solely with regard to their qualifications for the duties of their office and will have such training and experience as will qualify them to conduct administrative or quasi-judicial hearings on regulatory enactments and to discharge the other functions conferred upon them. Examiners shall hold no other elective or appointive office or position with the city of Yakima or the county of Yakima. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.040 Removal.

An examiner may be removed from office for cause by a majority vote of the city council after consideration of a recommendation as to removal or nonremoval from the joint hearing examiner committee. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.050 Standards of conduct.

(a)    No person, including city or county officials, elective or appointive, shall attempt to influence an examiner in any matter pending before him, except at a public hearing duly called for such purpose, or to interfere with an examiner in the performance of his duties in any other way; provided, that an official or employee of the city of Yakima or Yakima County may, in the performance of his official duties, provide information to the examiner when the action is disclosed at the hearing or meeting; nor shall this section prohibit rendering of legal services to the examiner or to the council.

(b)    No examiner shall conduct or participate in any hearing or decision in which the examiner shall have a direct or indirect financial or personal interest or in which such conduct or participation shall violate any rule of law applicable thereto. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.060 Rules.

The examiner shall implement procedural rules for the conduct of hearings and other procedural matters related to the duties of his office in accordance with RCW 36.70.970. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.070 Time computation.

In computing any period of time prescribed by this chapter, the day of the act from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of the period so computed shall be included, unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or a city legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is neither a Saturday, Sunday, or a city legal holiday. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.080 Duties and powers.

The examiner shall hear, make a record of, and decide matters provided in this chapter or by other ordinances, including but not limited to the following land use matters:

A.    Matters prescribed by the Yakima urban area zoning ordinance, Title 15 of this code. Decisions of the examiner on such matters shall have the legal effect as set forth in the provisions of said ordinance;

B.    Review of preliminary plats and modifications thereto using the procedures and provisions for review by the planning commission as set forth in RCW Chapter 58.17 and the city of Yakima subdivision ordinance, Title 14 of this code. The decisions of the examiner on such matters shall constitute recommendations to the city council;

C.    Preliminary plat extension requests pursuant to RCW 58.17.140 and city of Yakima subdivision ordinance, Title 14 of this code. Decisions of the examiner on such matters shall constitute final decisions unless appealed to the council pursuant to the provisions of Title 16 of the Yakima Municipal Code;

D.    Plat vacations or amendments pursuant to RCW Chapter 58.11, 58.12, or 58.17. Decisions of the examiner on such matters shall constitute final decisions unless appealed to the council under the provisions of Title 16 of the Yakima Municipal Code;

E.    Pedestrian skybridge applications in the manner set forth in YMC 11.65.040(F) and pedestrian skybridge permit violations as set out in YMC 11.65.070;

F.    The examiner may conduct hearings required pursuant to RCW Chapter 43.21C, State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and Chapter 6.88 YMC at the request of the city responsible official charged with responsibility for holding such a hearing; provided, that the substantive SEPA decision and the decision on the associated action shall be made by the responsible official;

G.    The examiner may, at the request of the city shoreline administrator, receive and examine available information, conduct public hearings and prepare records and reports thereof, and issue recommendations to the council based upon findings and conclusions on applications for shoreline substantial development permits and conditional use permits;

H.    Conduct public hearings on petitions and resolutions to vacate streets and public rights-of-way pursuant to RCW Chapter 35.79. Decisions of the examiner on such matters shall constitute a recommendation to the city council.

The provisions of this section designating and assigning to the hearing examiner the duties and functions listed above shall supersede any and all conflicting provisions of the municipal code of the city of Yakima. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2016-028 § 2, 2016; Ord. 2013-033 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013: Ord. 93-91 § 1, 1993: Ord. 3257 § 1, 1990: Ord. 3224 § 1, 1989: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.090 Applications.

Applications for permits or approvals subject to review by the examiner shall be made to the city department of community and economic development (hereinafter referred to as the “department”). The department shall accept such applications only if applicable filing requirements are met. The department, in coordination with the hearing examiner, shall be responsible for assigning a date for and assuring due notice of public hearing for each application, which date and notice shall be in accordance with the statute or ordinance governing the application. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.100 Master applications.

Any persons proposing a development or project which requires more than one of the permits or approvals listed in Section 1.43.080 of this chapter may submit a master application to the department on forms furnished by the department containing all necessary information. The master application shall thereafter be processed by the examiner subject to the longest time limitations applicable to any of the required permits for approval. If any of the required approvals constitute a recommendation to the legislative body, the decision of the examiner to all such permits shall constitute a recommendation to the legislative body; otherwise the decision of the examiner shall be final subject to an appeal to the legislative body pursuant to this chapter, Title 15 and Title 16 YMC. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.110 Report of department.

Where no specific provision for a report of the department is contained in the statute or ordinance governing the application, the department may coordinate and assemble the reviews of other county/city departments, other state or local governmental agencies and franchised public utilities having an interest in the subject application and prepare a report summarizing the factors involved and the department’s findings and recommendations. At least seven calendar days prior to the scheduled hearing the report shall be filed with the examiner and copies thereof shall be mailed to the applicant and made available for public inspection. Copies thereof shall be provided to interested parties upon request. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.120 Examiner’s decision.

Within ten working days of the conclusion of a hearing, unless longer period is agreed to in writing by the applicant, the examiner shall render a written decision which shall include findings and conclusions based on the record. Except as provided in YMC 1.43.080 and 1.43.100 and the decision of the examiner shall be final and conclusive on the fifteenth day after the date of the decision unless a notice of appeal to the Yakima city council is filed pursuant to YMC 1.43.140. The examiner’s decisions together with his findings, conclusions, and record of proceedings shall be filed with the department of community and economic development. If the effect of the decision is a recommendation to the legislative body, the original thereof shall be transmitted to the legislative body. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.130 Notice of examiner’s decision.

Unless different procedures are prescribed by the ordinance or statute governing the application, the department shall mail copies of the examiner’s decision by certified mail to the applicant and by regular mail to other parties of record not later than three working days following the filing of a written decision by the examiner.

For purposes of this chapter, “party of record” means: (1) the applicant; (2) the property tax payer for the subject property as identified by the records available from the Yakima County assessor’s office; (3) the legal owner of the subject property; (4) any person who testified at the open record public hearing on the application; and/or (5) any person who submitted written comments during administrative review (within the required timeframe) or has submitted written comments concerning the application at the open record public hearing (excluding persons who have only signed petitions or form letters). (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.140 Appeal from examiner’s decision.

Appeals from the hearing examiner’s decision shall use the procedures outlined in Chapter 16.08 YMC. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2001-78 § 1, 2001; Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.150 Effect of appeal.

The timely filing of an appeal under this chapter shall stay the effective date of the examiner’s decision until the appeal is adjudicated by the council or until the appeal is withdrawn. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).

1.43.180 Annual report.

The examiner shall report in writing to and meet with the city planning commission and city council at least annually, if requested, for the purpose of reviewing the administration of the city’s land use policies and regulating ordinances. The report shall include a summary of the hearing examiner’s decisions since the prior report. (Ord. 2018-047 § 1 (Exh. B) (part), 2018: Ord. 2010-22 § 2, 2010: Ord. 2948 § 1 (part), 1986).