Three land-use hearings examiners are under contract with Clark County to hear quasi-judicial cases related to land-use activities for specific parcels in the county. They are attorneys with extensive backgrounds in land-use law and policy. Their role is not to create policy; instead, they determine whether county policy has been applied correctly.
Because their decisions are based on comments and evidence presented at the hearings, the hearings examiner process relies extensively on public participation. The examiners consider the following land-use issues: preliminary subdivision applications; rezone applications; conditional-use permits; planned unit developments; appeals of planning director determinations; certain covenant releases; certain types of variances.
Hearings examiner hearings are held the second, and fourth Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. in the hearing room of the Clark County Public Service Center, sixth floor, 1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver. Each hearing is conducted by one of the hearings examiners.
You and the hearings examiner process: public participation
All hearings examiner cases are heard in public hearings. Any person, including representatives of public agencies and the general public, who is interested in a matter being considered may participate. This can be done by submitting oral or written comments and other materials as long as the materials are relevant to the case. The hearings offer an opportunity for public review and debate of proposed land-use actions. Specifically they provide:
- An opportunity for relevant public comments to be formally considered before a decision is made;
- A chance to ask questions, to learn about the proposed action and, if necessary, to request more time in which to present additional information; and
- A public record that supports the written decision of the hearings examiner. If the decision is appealed, the reviewing body uses this record to evaluate the decision.
You can appeal a decision
Members of the public have a role not only in influencing the initial decision of the hearings examiner but also in appealing that decision if they wish. The hearings examiner generally must file a written decision with the Clark County Community Development Department within 10 working days of the hearing. Notice of the written decision is mailed or e-mailed to parties of record.
Parties of record include all persons who request notice of the decision by signing the sign-in sheet at the hearing, presenting testimony or submitting written comment.
The decision of the Hearing Examiner is final unless there is:
- A motion filed for reconsideration within 14 days of written notice of the decision, as provided under Clark County Code, Title 2.51.160, or
- An appeal filed with Clark County Superior Court, as provided under Clark County Code, Title 40.510.030.
Submit your written comments to the hearings examiner at:
Clark County Community Development Department
1300 Franklin Street
P.O. Box 9810
Vancouver, WA 98666-9810
County code and quality neighborhoods
You can take an active role in improving the quality of life of your neighborhood by keeping informed about county code requirements. As a resident, you can be a good neighbor by respecting noise requirements, by keeping debris and hazardous materials out of your yard, and by mowing down tall grass and brush.
If neighborhood disputes arise, whether related to land use or some other type of situation, Community Mediation Services can help resolve them. This is a free service in which trained citizen mediators help neighbors negotiate their own agreements. You can reach Community Mediation Services, which is a joint Clark County/city of Vancouver program, at (360) 619-1140.
Some code enforcement issues that cannot be resolved in any other way are decided by a hearings examiner in public hearings. Appeals of these decisions are heard by the Clark County Superior Court.
For more information about county land-use code and what to do if there is a problem in your neighborhood, please call Clark County Code Enforcement at (360) 397-2375 ext. 4184. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.