Wake Forest Unified Development Ordinance - July 2022

Administration 15.5 General Requirements For Quasi-Judicial Evidentiary Hearings And Decisions


15.5. General Requirements For Quasi-Judicial Evidentiary Hearings And Decisions A quasi-judicial decision is a process that involves the finding of facts regarding a specific application of an ordinance and the exercise of discretion when applying the standards of the ordinance. Quasi-judicial decisions include decisions involving variances, special use permits, and appeals of administrative determinations. As a result, the following standard procedures shall be incorporated as appropriate. 15.5.1. Standards For Conduct of Quasi-Judicial Evidentiary Hearings A. Contact with Decision-Making Board Members: Contact with any members of a decision-making board prior to the evidentiary public hearing by any individual regarding the matter is prohibited. B. Conflicts of Interest: A member of the decision-making board shall not participate in or vote on a quasi-judi cial matter in a manner that would violate affected persons’ constitutional rights to an impartial decision maker. Impermissible conflicts include, but are not limited to, a member having a fixed opinion prior to hearing the matter that is not susceptible to change, a close familial, business, or other associational relationship with an affected person, or a financial interest in the outcome of the matter. If an objection is raised to a member’s participation and that member does not recuse himself or herself, the remaining members shall by majority vote rule on the objection. C. Participants: The applicant, the town, and any person who would have standing to appeal the decision under NCGS shall have a right to participate as a part at the evidentiary hearing. For appeals, the official who made the decision, or the person currently occupying that position if the decision-maker is no longer employed by the town, shall be present at the evidentiary hearing as a witness. D. All Participants to be Sworn In: All participants in the evidentiary public hearing shall be duly sworn in prior to the submission of any testimony. E. Competent Evidence Required: All decisions shall be based on competent evidence entered in as part of the record. The term "competent evidence," as used in this subsection, shall not preclude reliance by the decision-making board on evidence that would not be admissible under the rules of evidence as applied in the trial division of the General Court of Justice if (i) the evidence was admitted without objection, or (ii) the evidence appears to be sufficiently trustworthy and was admitted under such circumstances that it was reasonable for the decision-making board to rely upon it. The board chair shall rule on any objections made to the board regarding jurisdictional and evidentiary issues. The term "competent evidence," as used in this subsection, shall not be deemed to include the opinion testimony of lay witnesses as to any of the following: 1. The use of property in a particular way would affect the value of other property. 2. The increase in vehicular traffic resulting from a proposed development would pose a danger to the public safety. 3. Matters about which only expert testimony would generally be admissible under the rules of evidence. F. Cross-Examination Permitted: The cross-examination of witnesses submitting testimony shall be permitted upon request. 15.5.2. Standards for Decisions Each decision-making board under the provisions of this section shall ensure that the rights of petitioners have not been prejudiced because of the decision-making body's findings, inferences, or conclusions. In addition, such decision shall not be:

Town of Wake Forest Unified Development Ordinance – July 19, 2022


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