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Administrative Hearing Amendment of a Special Use Plan Paradise Hills Community Center 2022_03_01

Administrative Rules for the Hearing

The Paradise Hills Special Zoning District Commission, the Governing Body for Planning and Zoning matters within the District, may be called upon to conduct Administrative Hearings as dictated by the PHSZD Zoning Ordinance regulations. These hearings involve substantial individual rights using the quasi-judicial rule. The Commission as Governing Body is sitting more in the capacity of a Judge. In 1989, the Court of Appeals in New Mexico decided Battershell v. City of Albuquerque 108 N.M. 658, 777 P.2d 386 (Ct. App. 1989), which expanded a long line of cases dealing with Due Process, and fairness requirements in land-use decisions. New Mexico courts have consistently required that procedural due process be afforded the parties before an administrative body acting in an Adjudicatory or quasi-judicial role.

The body must swear the witnesses and provide for cross-examination of witnesses. The body must also avoid ex parte contacts that interfere improperly with its role. In addition, the body must consider all evidence presented and admitted into the record. Battershell made it clear that any person giving testimony will be required to do so under oath or affirmation in quasi-judicial proceedings. The rule in New Mexico for zoning hearings REQUIRES witnesses to be sworn, and their testimony was taken only on an oath or affirmation. The cross-examination of all witnesses giving testimony is another essential element of procedural due process. A reasonable opportunity to confront and cross-examine witnesses is all that the Due Process Clause requires. In conducting the hearing, the body need not adhere strictly to the evidentiary standards applied by a court for examination and cross-examination. However, the body must conform to fairness and due process principles. A reasonable opportunity to cross-examine involves the right to ask questions bearing on the testimony presented or the position taken by the witness. It might include exploration of motivation or bias on the witness and might even touch on issues involving conflicts of interest. A witness will never be subjected to badgering or unreasonable attack by the cross-examiner.

Ex Parte Communications

An ex parte communication is any communication, whether oral or written, that

  1. Involves less than all the parties having a legal interest in the matter,

  2. Is about a pending or impending matter within the jurisdiction of the administrative body,

  3. Made to or initiated by a commission member having jurisdiction over the matter.

4. An ex parte communication may include: a) communications with people involved in the subject matter pending before the Commission. b) Communications with people not involved in the pending matter at all. c) Independent investigations such as visiting the site proposed for development. d) Communications made with the best of intentions.

5. Permissible ex parte communications include: a) communications for scheduling, administrative matters, or emergency purposes. b) Communications with the municipal attorney c) communications with commission staff (if any)

6. The Paradise Hills Special Zoning District has by resolution adopted a policy on ex-parte contacts and conflicts of interest sufficient to request a recusal because improper ex parte communications or connections can invalidate the actions of the Commission.


The Paradise Hills Special Zoning District Commission, Governing Body as a Hearing Panel will conduct an Administrative Hearing for the Amendment of a Special Use Plan for the Paradise Hills Community Center and PHCC West Annex and Planned Development Map, on Match 01, 2022, 7:00 PM MTS.

1. The Hearing will be conducted online, via Zoom with Links and participation instructions on the HOME and MEETING Pages of the Commission’s website:

2. Roll Call /Establishment of Quorum, Call to Order

3. Announcements

4. Introduction of Applicants and Participants. Explanation of PHSZD rules of participation

5. Swearing or affirming testimony by presenters and public giving comments

6. Manner of Presentations to the Commission

· Applicants.

Applicants shall address and succinctly explain the material, confining their comments to matters relevant to the application and the Commission's jurisdiction and decision-making responsibilities. After the applicant's testimony, Commissioners may question the applicant to assist the Commissioner's understanding of the matter considered. Following questions by the Commissioners, people in opposition to the application or with legal standing may pose questions to the applicant. Finally, members of the public may pose questions to the applicant.

· Opponents.

Opponents to the application will proceed with their direct testimony following cross-examination of the applicant. In the same manner, the opponents will stand for questions by the Commissioners, cross-examination by the applicant, and cross-examination by the applicant.

· Members of the Public

Similarly, any interested member of the public may make a statement concerning the application pending before the Commission. Such a statement will be subject to questioning by members of the Commission, the applicant, opponents, persons with legal standing, and other interested public.

· All People Giving Testimony

Testimony or questioning of witnesses concerns matters relevant to the application pending before the Commission or the Commission's decision-making authority concerning the pending application. The Commission's Chair shall direct all questions asked of individual Commissioner by applicants or others testifying before the Commission. All people participating in the proceedings will conduct themselves courteously.

· Evidence

The Chair of the Commission shall enter into evidence any relevant written document tendered by any person during the proceedings.

7. Cross-examination in the form of Questions directed through the Chair.

8. Questions by the Commissioners to applicants, persons with legal standing and the public or other Commissioners.

9. Vote by the Commission

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