MapLink™ | Procedures | Hearings

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A. General procedural rules.
(1) Appeals shall be taken to the Zoning Hearing Board after an application has been made and denied by the Zoning Administrator.
(2) Appeals shall be filed within 30 days of the decision of the Zoning Administrator.
(3) Applicant shall show proof of legal interest to the property affected, whether the interest be as owner, tenant, purchaser or in any other capacity.
(4) A plot plan of the real estate affected, indicating location and size of improvements now erected and/or proposed to be erected, shall be presented.
(5) Applicant shall request a variance or exception or other reason for the appeal.
(6) If the applicant is not the owner of property upon which permission is applied for, the owner's permission for proposed use shall be in writing.
(7) Application for hearing on any sign shall include a sketch of the proposal.
(8) Applicant shall be prepared to proceed with hearing at the advertised date and time of hearing, otherwise the petition shall be dismissed unless postponed by the Board upon just cause or upon the Board's own motion.
(9) Zoning notice shall be posted by the applicant on the affected property seven days prior to hearing date in a conspicuous place plainly visible to passersby. (Zoning notice shall be furnished by the Board.) The applicant shall be responsible for maintenance of this notice and, should it be removed or destroyed, shall immediately obtain another copy. If notice is not displayed, the Board, at its discretion, may cancel or postpone the hearing.
(10) A refusal to grant a permit on one application is not res judicata as to a second application when it is shown that the facts are different or other evidence is presented which was not available at the time of any prior hearing.
(11) Public notice shall be given seven days prior to hearing. Notice shall be given to the applicant, Zoning Administrator and Planning Commission.
(12) The decision of the Board shall be mailed to the applicant and to all persons requesting same, who have filed their names and addresses with the Board for the purpose of receiving such decision.
(13) The Board shall make findings of fact and conclusions to be placed on file in the Secretary's office.
(14) Public notice shall be by publication in a newspaper circulated in the City of Easton seven days prior to hearing.
(15) Property owners within 100 feet of subject site shall be notified by the Board seven days prior to hearing.
(16) A tie vote of the Board shall result in a denial of the application; the denial and the reasons for such denial shall be communicated to the applicant in a manner consistent with § 595-39I, Decisions or findings.

B. Hearing Officer. The hearing shall be conducted by the Zoning Hearing Board or the Board may appoint any member as a hearing officer. The decision or, where no decision is called for, the findings shall be made by the Board, but the parties may waive a decision or findings by the Board and accept the decision or findings of the hearing officer, if appropriate, as final.

C. Parties to the hearing. The parties to the hearing shall be the City, any person affected by the application who has made a timely appearance of record before the Zoning Hearing Board, and any other person, including civic or community organizations, permitted to appear by the Board. The Board shall have power to require that all persons who wish to be considered parties enter appearances in writing on forms provided by the Board for that purpose.

D. Oaths and subpoenas. The Chairman or Acting Chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board or the hearing officer presiding shall have power to administer oaths and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant documents and papers, including witnesses and documents requested by the parties.

E. Right to counsel; presenting evidence; cross-examination. The parties shall have the right to be represented by counsel and shall be afforded the opportunity to respond and present evidence and argument and cross-examine adverse witnesses on all relevant issues.

F. Formal rules of evidence inapplicable. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply but irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded.

G. Record of proceedings. The Zoning Hearing Board or the hearing officer, as the case may be, shall keep a stenographic record of the proceedings and a transcript of the proceedings and copies of graphic or written material received in evidence shall be made available to any party at cost.

H. Communications; notice of materials and site inspection. The Zoning Hearing Board or the hearing officer shall not communicate, directly or indirectly, with any party or his representatives in connection with any issue involved except upon notice and opportunity for all parties to participate; shall not take notice of any communication, reports, staff memoranda, or other materials unless the parties are afforded an opportunity to contest such material so noticed; and shall not inspect the site or its surroundings after the commencement of hearings with any party or his representative unless all parties are given an opportunity to be present.

I. Decision or findings.
(1) The Zoning Hearing Board or the hearing officer, as the case may be, shall render a written decision or, when no decision is called for, make written findings on the application within 45 days after the last hearing before the Board or hearing officer. Where the application is contested or denied, each decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions based thereon, together with the reasons therefor. Conclusions based on any provisions of Act 247 or of any ordinance, rule or regulation shall contain a reference to the provisions relied on and the reasons why the conclusion is deemed appropriate in the light of the facts found. If the hearing is conducted by a hearing officer, and there has been no stipulation that his decision on findings is final, the Board shall make his report and recommendations available to the parties, and the parties shall be entitled to make written representations thereon to the Board prior to the final decision or entry of findings, and the Board's decision shall be entered no later than 45 days after the decision of the hearing officer.
(2) When the Board fails to render the decision within the period required by this subsection, or fails to hold the required hearing within 60 days from the date of the applicant's request for a hearing, the decision shall be deemed to have been rendered in favor of the applicant unless the applicant has agreed in writing, or on the record at the time of a public hearing, to an extension of time. When a decision has been rendered in favor of the applicant because of the failure of the Board to meet or render a decision as hereinabove provided, the City shall give public notice of such decision within 10 days in the same manner as provided in § 595-39A. Nothing in this section shall prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to urge that such decision is erroneous.

J. Notice and distribution of decision or findings. A copy of the final decision or, where no decision is called for, the findings shall be delivered to the applicant personally or mailed to him not later than the day following its date. To all other persons who have filed their name and address with the Zoning Hearing Board not later than the last day of the hearing, the Board shall provide by mail or otherwise brief notice of the decision or findings and a statement of the place at which the full decision or findings may be examined.