(1) When any nonexempt action, not requiring a decision of the City Council, is conditioned or denied or after a threshold determination is made on the basis of SEPA by a nonelected official, the decision may be appealed to the Hearing Examiner.
(2) Such appeal may be perfected by the proponent or an aggrieved party by giving notice to the responsible official. The appeals shall be filed by the required deadlines of this chapter.
(a) The appeal shall be filed in writing and shall contain the name and address of the person filing the appeal and the name of the organization or agency represented, if any.
(b) The appeal shall set forth the specific reason, rationale, and/or basis for the appeal.
(c) Payment of the appeal fee in the amount of $200.00 shall occur at the time the appeal is filed.
(3) In addition to the exhibits submitted, the City may submit a responsive memorandum to the Hearing Examiner and provide copies to the other parties at least one day prior to the hearing.
(4) If the appeal has been timely filed and complies with the requirements of subsection (2) of this section, the Hearing Examiner shall conduct an open record appeal hearing into the merits of the appeal, at which time the Hearing Examiner shall hear and receive testimony, documentary evidence, and arguments from the parties solely on the issues raised or identified by the appeal.
(a) The person(s) filing the appeal shall have the burden of going forward with the evidence and the ultimate burden of persuasion.
(b) Notice of any open record appeal hearing held pursuant to this section shall be provided to the parties at least 14 days prior to the hearing.
(c) The Hearing Examiner may continue the open record appeal hearing from time to time without further mail or delivered notice.
(d) The Hearing Examiner shall maintain an electronic record of the testimony and arguments presented and a record of any physical evidence/documents presented.
(e) The Hearing Examiner’s decision shall be rendered within 10 working days of the conclusion of an open record appeal hearing unless a longer period is agreed to by the appellant parties. This will be the effective date of the decision.
(f) The Hearing Examiner’s decision shall include findings of fact and conclusions in support of the decision.
(g) The Hearing Examiner’s decision under this section may be to grant or deny the appeal in whole or in part, or to remand the threshold determination to the responsible official for reconsideration.
(h) Appeal hearings held by the Hearing Examiner pursuant to this section shall be de novo.
(i) The Hearing Examiner’s decision shall become final unless timely appealed.
(5) Appeal of the final decision of the Hearing Examiner under this section shall be to the superior court of Franklin County.
(6) Substantial Weight Accorded Responsible Official. The procedural determinations made by the City’s responsible official shall carry substantial weight in any appeal proceeding under this chapter.
(7) Record. For any appeal to superior court under this chapter, the City shall provide for a record that shall consist of the following:
(a) Findings and conclusions;
(b) Testimony under oath;
(c) A taped or written transcript, the cost of which shall be borne by the appellant; and
(d) Admitted exhibits.
(8) Exhaustion of Remedies. SEPA appeal procedures, as provided herein, must be utilized prior to judicial review of the SEPA decision.
(9) Appeal of Intermediate Steps Prohibited. Appeal of the intermediate steps under SEPA (e.g., lead agency determination, scoping, draft EIS adequacy) shall not be allowed.
(10) One Administrative Appeal Permitted. Only one administrative appeal of a threshold determination or of the adequacy of an EIS shall be permitted under these rules; successive administrative appeals on these issues are not allowed. This limitation does not apply to administrative appeals before another agency.
(11) Scope of Appeals Limited. Appeals on SEPA procedures shall be limited to review of a final threshold determination and final EIS. These appeals may occur prior to an agency’s final decision on a proposed action.
(12) Appeal to be Consolidated with Underlying Permitted Action. In any appeal, except that of a threshold determination, the appeal shall consolidate any allowed appeals of procedural and substantive determinations under SEPA with a hearing or appeal on the underlying governmental action in a single simultaneous hearing before the Hearing Examiner. This hearing shall be one at which the Hearing Examiner will consider either the agency’s decision or a recommendation on the proposed underlying governmental action.
(13) Consolidated Appeals Required. Any appeal of a procedural or substantive determination under SEPA issued at the same time as the decision on a project action shall be filed within 14 days after a notice of decision under RCW 36.70B.130 or after other notice that the decision has been made and is appealable. In order to allow public comment on a DNS prior to requiring an administrative appeal to be filed, this appeal period shall be extended for an additional seven days if the appeal is of a DNS for which public comment is required under this chapter. For threshold determinations issued prior to a decision on a project action, any administrative appeal shall be filed within 14 days after notice that the determination has been made and is appealable.
(14) Conflict with Other City rules. In the event any of the SEPA appeal rules conflict with other sections of this code, the SEPA appeal rules shall govern, except for consolidated appeals. For consolidated appeals, the timelines here shall govern unless PMC 4.02.100 provides for a longer time period, in which case the longer period shall govern.
(15) Conflict with SEPA Statute and Regulations. In the event any of the City’s SEPA rules conflict with any portion of Chapter 197-11 WAC , Chapter 43.21C or 36.70B RCW, the rules contained in the state statutes and regulations shall govern.