City of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, Washington, Whidbey Island's Premier Waterfront Community

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865 SE Barrington Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-279-4500
Fax: 360-279-4507
info@oakharbor.org

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Hearing Examiner

Hearing Examiner reviews and interprets land use regulations, conducts hearings, makes decisions and recommendations on land use applications, hears administrative appeals on permits, decisions or determinations made by city officials, and reviews and hears other matters as provided for in the Oak Harbor Municipal Code and other ordinances.

The City Council created the hearing examiner system in May 2004 to ensure that fair and impartial decisions are made on project permits that are quasi-judicial in manner and administrative decisions by city departments. Additionally, the Hearing Examiner provides judgment on code enforcement actions.

DEFINING QUASI-JUDICIAL
The Hearing Examiner serves as a city official on quasi-judicial matters. Quasi-judicial generally relates to a specific site, might involve a public hearing, usually affects specific parties and includes evidence for or against the proposal. These types of decisions are different than legislative actions, such as adopting new zoning ordinances, which tend to affect a much wider area and involve many more people. (Note: planning matters involving legislative action go through the City Planning Commission and require City Council approval.)

ROLE
The Hearing Examiner's serves in a role similar to that of a judge. The Hearing Examiner ensures that parties receive proper due process; and issues final decisions on some land use applications and makes recommendations to the City Council on others. In the case of code enforcement hearings, the Hearing Examiner determines whether a violation occurred and if so what monetary penalties are accessed.

THE PUBLIC'S ROLE IN QUASI-JUDICIAL ACTIONS
Anyone interested in the outcome of project approval process has a right to be heard. You can present oral and/ or provide written testimony for or against the proposal. Public testimony ensures that a complete record is available for a decision. When providing testimony, it is very important to present facts because facts are the foundation for issuing a decision. The decision must meet the legal criteria, which comes from applying city's ordinances and state statutes. If the legal criteria are satisfied, the decision must be to approve, even if popular opinion is contrary. If the criteria are not satisfied, the decision must be not to approve. 

TYPES OF HEARINGS
Hearing on Land Use Application
The City can hold only one open record hearing on a land use application involving a quasi-judicial decision (Chapter 36.70B RCW). The purpose of the hearing is to give the public an opportunity to present evidence to be included in the official record. Participation by everyone with an interest is highly encouraged. The official record becomes the source for making the final decision.   

Administrative Appeal Hearing
When a person, who is a party of record, disputes a decision by a city department, they can appeal the decision to the Hearing Examiner as a means for a timely and fair resolution to their dispute. Appeal hearings are generally closed record and limited to the parties of record so the opportunity for public comment is limited.

Code Enforcement Hearing
Code enforcement actions involve nuisances and life safety issues. Code enforcement hearings are similar to traffic court and are not open to public testimony.

PROHIBITED EX PARTE CONTACTS
Because the Hearing Examiner hearings are quasi-judicial, all persons are prohibited from contacting the examiner outside the public hearing for the purpose of influencing a decision. Any contacts made, must be publicly disclosed at the hearing. Similarly, contacting a member of the City Council for the purpose of influencing a decision on a quasi-judicial action before them can lead to disqualifying that councilmember from the decision. If a person believes that ex parte communications have occurred, it should promptly be brought to the attention of the affected official.

For further information about the City of Oak Harbor's Hearing Examiner please see Oak Harbor's Municipal Code Chapter 18.40. 

2017 HEARING EXAMINER

Meeting Schedule Public Notice Staff Report Decision
 Friday, August 11, 2017 PDF PDF PDF

2016 HEARING EXAMINER

Meeting Schedule Public Notice Staff Report Decision
 Monday, April 11, 2016  PDF PDF  CUP16-01 
 Monday, July 11, 2016 PDF PDF  CUP 16-02
 Tuesday, December 6, 2016  PDF  PDF

 CUP 16-03

CUP 16-04

Thursday, January 5, 2017 PDF PDF  CUP 16-05

 

2015 HEARING EXAMINER

Meeting Schedule

Public
Notice

Staff Report Decision
Monday, April 6, 2015 PDF PDF

 CUP 14-02

 CUP 14-03

 CUP 15-01

Monday, June 15, 2015  PDF PDF    CUP 15-02
Monday, June 29, 2015 PDF PDF   CUP 15-03
Monday, August 10, 2015 PDF  PDF   CUP 15-04

 

2014 HEARING EXAMINER

Meeting Schedule

Public
Notice

Staff Report Decision

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
-Appeal withdrawn-

PDF PDF  
 Monday, November 17, 2014 PDF   PDF  PDF
       

 

2013 HEARING EXAMINER 
 

Meeting Schedule Public
Notice
Staff Report Decision
 Monday, December 16, 2013 pdf  pdf  
       

 

2012 HEARING EXAMINER

Meeting Schedule

Public
Notice

Staff Report Decision
 Monday, January 23, 2012  pdf  pdf pdf
 Monday, July 23, 2012  pdf  pdf  pdf

 

2011 HEARING EXAMINER

Meeting Schedule

Public
Notice

Staff Report Decision
Monday, January 10, 2011  pdf    pdf 
Friday, September 9, 2011   pdf pdf  pdf 
 

2010 HEARING EXAMINER

Meeting Schedule

Public
Notice

Staff Report Decision
Friday, June 18, 2010 pdf  pdf  pdf 
 Friday, September 24, 2010  pdf pdf  pdf 
 Monday, November 15, 2010  pdf pdf  pdf 

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