Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ground rules for Aug. 23rd hearing

Ground rules for Sarasota County's quasi-judicial hearings:

Our BCC Rules of Procedure includes a section on the quasi-judicial process. (In case that hyperlink doesn’t work, you can find it under Documents on the main County Commission page of the County website – The relevant section -- Section 17e, top of page 10 -- is below:

(e) Quasi‑Judicial Hearings – The procedures to be followed for quasi‑judicial hearings are generally the same as for Public Hearings, as provided above: 
(1) Florida law requires that the Board’s decision in a quasi‑judicial action be supported by competent substantial evidence presented to the Board during the hearing on the application. 
(2) Ex-parte Communications 
i. Definition: Written or oral communications regarding quasi-judicial matters pending before the Board received outside the record of the related public hearing. 
ii. The County Attorney suggests that Commissioners refrain from participating in ex-parte communication whenever possible regarding a quasi-judicial matter to avoid the creation of the presumption of prejudice. 
iii. The presumption of prejudice may be overcome if the context of the ex-parte communication and the identity of the person are disclosed and made a part of the record at the public meeting before the final action on the matter. 
iv. A written communication that relates to a quasi-judicial action pending before the Board (such as a zoning decision) shall be made a part of the record before final action on the matter. 
v. If a Commissioner conducts an investigation or site visit or receives expert opinions regarding a quasi-judicial action pending before the Board, such activities shall not be presumed prejudicial to the action if the existence of the investigation, site visit or expert opinion is made a part of the record before final action on the matter.

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