How it Works

The Hearing Examiner must consider the facts in a case and whether the appropriate laws, ordinances or codes were applied properly. At the hearings, participants should provide relevant information and argument.

Evidence and argument can be submitted in writing before or during the hearing, or presented orally at the hearing. Information is most beneficial if it shows how a specific statute, ordinance or policy applies to the proposal or situation.

The hearings are informal, but court-like in the way testimony and evidence are presented. All testimony is under oath or verbal affirmation to tell the truth. Hearing proceedings differ in format depending upon the matter heard.

To ensure fairness and also the appearance of fairness, all persons are prohibited from contacting the Examiner or the Examiner’s staff for the purpose of influencing a decision in any manner, other than by submitting written or oral evidence in argument through the public hearing process. Hearing Examiner’s staff screen all correspondence and telephone calls to prevent inappropriate contacts.

Similarly, contact with a member of the City Council for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a case can lead to that Councilmember disqualifying himself or herself, or invalidating the proceeding.

Process I, II or III

Depending on the case, the procedure varies. Cases involving some permits, in which the Hearing Examiner's decision can be appealed to City Council, are classified as "Process I." The Hearing Examiner's ruling is final in "Process II" cases, which include code compliance matters. Finally, for "Process III" cases, the Hearing Examiner simply issues a recommendation, and the City Council makes the determination.

Hearings involving Processes I and III are usually scheduled on Thursdays at 6 p.m. Generally, Process II hearings are held during daytime hours, depending upon the issue and the Examiner’s schedule. All hearings are held in the Council Chambers at City Hall unless otherwise specified on the notice of hearing.

When a single project includes a combination of Process I, II and/or III land-use applications, the hearing may be consolidated to hear all matters at the same time. Section 20.35.010 of the Bellevue Land Use Code sets out standard procedures for all land-use and related decisions made by the city.

Process I

  • Conditional Use Permits, Shoreline Conditional Use Permits, Preliminary Plats, Preliminary Planned Unit Developments and Protected Area Development Exceptions.
  • Applications are filed with the Development Services Department (DSD). The department reviews and processes the applications, establishes a hearing date and prepares a report, which includes the department’s recommendation. Notice of the hearing is prepared by DSD and is published in the newspaper, posted and mailed to known parties and neighbors.
  • After the public hearing, the Examiner issues a final decision.

Process II

  • Administrative amendments, administrative conditional use, design review, home occupation permit, interpretation of the Land Use Code and other city codes, preliminary short plat, shoreline substantial development permit; variance and shoreline variance, Critical Area land-use permits and review under the State Environment Policy Act (SEPA) when not consolidated with another permit.
  • Applications are filed with the Development Services Department. The department makes an administrative determination.
  • Appeals go before the Hearing Examiner.

Process III

  • Applications for rezone, conditional use, shoreline conditional use, preliminary plat and planned unit developments under the jurisdiction of the East Bellevue Community Council.
  • The Hearing Examiner makes a recommendation to the City Council after the Examiner’s public hearing. The City Council acts as the final decision maker even when no appeal of the Hearing Examiner recommendation is filed.
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