The City of Pullman is moving to a new approach for deciding some land-use decisions to make the process more efficient.
City council voted this week to eliminate their board of adjustment and replace it with a hearing examiner. The move means that the hearing examiner will consider conditional use permits and variance applications that were heard by the board. Those permits and variances are needed when a proposed development doesn’t comply with zoning laws.
The hearing examiner system is common among communities Pullman’s size in Eastern Washington. City officials also say that a hearing examiner is more efficient and reduces potential conflicts of interest that arise with a seven-member volunteer board comprised of local residents.
The City of Pullman will hire a hearing examiner who is an attorney experienced in land-use decisions who doesn’t practice locally. Officials expect a hearing examiner to cost about 5,000 dollars annually.