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The notice of hearing should be consulted to ensure that you obtain accurate information about the time and place for an upcoming hearing. If there are questions about the schedule or location for a hearing, you can also call the Hearing Examiner's office for more information.
The hearing procedure for a land use application will typically be as follows:
1. Introduction of hearing by Hearing Examiner.2. Report of County Department.3. Presentation by Applicant.4. Testimony of Public concerning the application (for or against).5. Rebuttal, if any, by Applicant and County Department.6. Final arguments (optional).7. Adjournment of the hearing.
All hearings are open to the public. Except in appeal hearings, any member of the public may participate. In appeal hearings, participation is generally limited to the witnesses called by the parties to the appeal, and the appealing party will make their presentation before the applicant.
Testimony will usually be taken under oath. An electronic recording is made of the hearing proceedings, a copy of which may be obtained by request or used to produce transcripts for the appellate body on appeal. To be heard on the recording, each person must speak into the microphone. When first testifying, please spell your last name and provide your mailing address for the record. When speaking again, simply provide your name.
Testimony at public hearings is less formal than in a court proceeding. The cross-examination of witnesses is usually allowed on expert testimony or key evidentiary points. To communicate most effectively:• Testify or submit written evidence on specific project issues.• Focus on how the project does or does not meet applicable standards or codes.• Offer alternatives.
Presenting information directly and succinctly, and avoiding repetition, is preferred. Written statements and reports, and visual aids may be used. If agreeing with testimony previously given, a brief statement of support is preferred over a restatement of the testimony. If you have a power point or numerous exhibits to present, please contact the Hearing Examiner's staff assistant on how to use audio visual equipment in the hearing room and to premark exhibits.
The time frame for the issuance of the Hearing Examiner's decision depends upon the complexity of the decision being made, the size of the record, and other matters the Hearing Examiner may be working on. In the majority of cases, the Hearing Examiner's decision will be issued within ten working days after the conclusion of the public hearing, pursuant to the County Code. If the Hearing Examiner decides to hold the record open for a period of time after the conclusion of the hearing to receive additional evidence, documentation or arguments, the Examiner's decision will usually be issued within ten working days of the closure of the record.
At the end of the decision, after the Hearing Examiner's signature, there is a paragraph that states the deadline to file an appeal and who to file the appeal with. Most land use decisions of the Hearing Examiner are appealable to Spokane County Superior Court. A limited number of decisions are subject to appeal to the Board of County Commissioners or the State Shoreline Hearings Board. It is the responsibility of the appealing party to review the applicable procedures (statutes, local ordinances, administrative regulations, etc.) to ensure that the appeal is timely and properly filed. The appealing party may wish to consult with an experienced attorney for guidance. The Hearing Examiner's office cannot provide legal advice.
During a hearing, you can raise procedural questions before the Hearing Examiner. Before and after a hearing, such questions should be submitted to the Hearing Examiner's staff, rather than directly to the Hearing Examiner. This is necessary to avoid violating the prohibition on communicating with the Hearing Examiner outside the actual hearing. Such communications are referred to as "ex parte contacts" and are prohibited by law. Please see County Resolution No. 96-0294.
The Hearing Examiner is appointed by the Spokane County Sheriff as a hearing officer to hear and decide drug forfeiture claims under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.