After 15 years, the city of Spokane Valley is saying sayonara to Spokane County hearing examiner services.
In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the Spokane Valley City Council agreed to submit a 180-day notice to the county stating the city would be seeking a new hearing examiner contract elsewhere.
Mike Dempsey provided the service the city until he retired in 2017. After that, the county brought on David Hubert, who has worked as Spokane Valley’s hearing examiner through 2018. However, according to City Attorney Cary Driskell, Hubert has recused himself in cases involving developer Dennis Crapo, who is involved in several area projects.
“We’re mindful of future potential conflicts,” Driskell told the council. “We would look at other options, like hiring a private attorney or looking to the city of Spokane.”
The hearing examiner conducts public hearings on various land-use applications, appeals of land use determinations made by the city’s public works department, and certain other quasi-judicial matters. This includes applications for rezones, preliminary plats, variances, conditional-use permits and shoreline permits. Decisions by the hearing examiner are subject to appeal to the City Council in some instances.
Driskell added that the city has found itself having to deal with multiple hearing examiners as a result of Hubert’s recusals, causing logistical headaches in dealing with staff, scheduling and notices.
In an attempt to minimize any impacts on the county’s budget, a new city hearing examiner would not begin work until Jan. 1, 2019.