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Any person aggrieved by the decision of a Department Head or Director may appeal such action to a Hearing Officer through the following procedures if the Ashland Municipal Code chapter granting the City Department Head or Director authority to make the decision expressly authorizes use of this appeals process. Land use decisions subject to AMC Chapter 18 shall not be subject to the appeals process in this Chapter. Appeals processes are as follows:

A. A person appealing the Department Head’s or Director’s action shall, within 10 Days of such action and mailing of written notice, file a written notice of appeal with the City Recorder. The written notice of appeal shall include the name and address of the appellant, a statement of the authority or jurisdiction for the appeal, a statement of the appellant’s standing or right to be heard, the nature of the decision being appealed, a short and plain narrative statement including the reason(s) the original decision is alleged to be incorrect, with reference to the particular sections of the Ashland Municipal Code involved, and the result the appellant desires on appeal.

B. The City Recorder shall fix the time for the appeal to be heard by the Hearing Officer, place the hearing of the appeal upon the calendar of the Hearing Officer, and notify the appellant in writing of the time fixed no less than ten days prior to that time, unless the appellant agrees to a shorter time.

C. The appellant shall pay a nonrefundable appeals fee to facilitate the appeal. Appeal Fees shall be set at $150 for each decision appealed, and may be adjusted by Resolution of the Ashland City Council.

D. The parties shall be entitled to appear personally and by counsel and to present such facts, evidence and arguments as may tend to support the respective positions on appeal.

E. The Hearing Officer shall afford the parties an opportunity to be heard at an appeal hearing after reasonable notice. The Hearing Officer shall take such action upon the appeal as he or she sees fit. The Hearing Officer’s decision shall be the final decision of the City, and it shall be issued in writing. The Hearing Officer shall at a minimum:

1. At the commencement of the hearing, the hearings officer shall explain the relevant issues involved in the hearing, applicable procedures and the burden of proof.

2. At the commencement of the hearing the hearings officer shall place on the record the substance of any written or oral ex parte communications concerning any relevant and material fact in issue at the hearing which was made to the officer outside the official proceedings during the pendency of the proceeding. The parties shall be notified of the substance of the communication and the right to rebut the communication. Notwithstanding the above, the Parties are prohibited from engaging in ex parte communications with the hearing officer.

3. Testimony shall be taken upon oath or affirmation of the witnesses.

4. The Hearings officer shall insure that the record developed at the hearing shows a full and fair inquiry into the relevant and material facts for consideration for the issues properly before the hearings officer.

5. A verbatim, written or mechanical record shall be made of all motions, rulings and testimony. The record need not be transcribed unless requested for purposes of rehearing or Court review. The City shall require a deposit for costs of transcription or a copy of such transcription.

6. Written testimony may be submitted under penalty of false swearing for entry into the record. All written evidence shall be filed with the City recorder no less than (5) five working days before the date of the hearing.

7. Informal disposition may be made of any case by stipulation, agreed settlement, consent order or default.

F. The action of the department head or Director shall be stayed pending the outcome of an appeal properly filed pursuant to this section.

G. Failure to strictly comply with the applicable appeal requirements, including but not limited to the required elements for the written notice of appeal, time for filing of the notice of appeal, and payment of the applicable appeal fee, shall constitute jurisdictional defects resulting in the summary dismissal of the appeal.

H. If the appellant loses on appeal, the appellant will be held financially responsible for the cost to the City of Ashland for the appeal, including but not limited to the cost of hiring an independent Hearing Officer. (Ord. 2992, amended, 10/06/2009; Ord. 2971, added, 10/21/2008)