Certain matters that come before the Panama City Planning Board (“Board”) are quasi-judicial proceedings, meaning that the Board will hear evidence and render a decision regarding this matter based upon the evidence received. The parties before the Board and the public are entitled to present evidence (documents, witnesses, etc.) and cross-examine witnesses. All witnesses are under oath and the entire proceedings are recorded. However, if you need a verbatim record you must hire your own court reporter.
The Board is not bound by the strict Rules of Evidence and may consider any evidence which it deems relevant and trustworthy. Furthermore, any member of the Board may ask questions of the parties or the witnesses. Since quasi-judicial proceedings are legal in nature, everyone is expected to adhere to proper courtroom decorum and etiquette. Do not argue with a witness or the opposing party and direct any comments or objections to the Chairman. The burden of proof in a quasi-judicial proceeding rests with the Applicant, therefore, the Applicant has the opportunity to address the Board last, after all Public Participation and before the Board deliberates.
The following is the procedure which the Board will follow during quasi-judicial hearings.
I. Public Hearing announced. Introduction of Application by Staff
II. Ex-parte communication disclosure by Board members.
III. Identification of Applicant and Affected Parties* that intend to participate in the hearing (Affected Parties that only intend to make a statement may do so at the Public Participation part of the agenda)
*An “affected party” means any person or entity that will suffer an adverse effect to an interest protected or furthered by the ULDC, including interests related to health and safety, police and fire protection service systems, densities or intensities of development, transportation facilities, health care facilities, equipment or services, and environmental or natural resources. The alleged adverse interest may be shared in common with other members of the community at large but must exceed in degree the general interest in community good shared by all persons.
IV. Swearing of witnesses.
V. Applicant’s presentation of witnesses* or other evidence. (10 minutes)
VI. Affected Parties’ statement of standing, presentation of witnesses* or other evidence. (5 minutes each if only giving testimony and or documentary evidence; 10 minutes each if presenting a witness(es). Please do not be repetitive of other Affected Parties. Affected Parties are encouraged to coordinate their presentations and may seek more time for presentation at the discretion of the Board but may not yield time to other Affected Parties.)
VII. Staff’s presentation of witnesses** or other evidence. (10 minutes)
VIII. Public Participation. Please do not be repetitive of another speaker. Each speaker is allotted 3 minutes. Speakers may not yield time to another speaker.
IX. Rebuttal by Applicant and or Staff (if necessary). (15 minutes)
X. Close of Evidence and Public Hearing. Deliberation and action by the Board.
Witnesses may be cross examined by opposing party if the opposing party so desires. After the close of the evidence and during the deliberation by the Board, members of the public are prohibited from commenting. Anyone violating this rule will be asked to leave the room after a warning.