Appealing the Hearing Examiner's Decision

The applicant, any party of record, or any county department may appeal any final decision of the Hearing Examiner to the County Council. The appellant is required to file a written notice of appeal (PDF) at the County Council office within ten days of the final decision of the Hearing Examiner. A filing fee must be paid to the County Council office at the time the appeal is filed.

An appeal application must state either:
  1. The specific error of law which is alleged, or
  2. How the decision is clearly erroneous on the entire record
In order to appeal the Hearing Examiner's decision to the County Council, you must be an applicant or other party of record, which requires either that you testify at the hearing or submit timely, relevant, written argument about the merits of the matter. (Note that any Whatcom County department may also file an appeal.)

Once an appeal has been filed, the appellant shall obtain a copy of the electronic recording of the hearing examiner’s hearing from the hearing examiner’s office. The appellant shall make arrangements for the preparation of the verbatim transcript of the hearing examiner’s hearing by a professional transcriptionist who will include a signed transcriber certification with the verbatim transcript.

The appellant shall forward the transcript to the county council office within 30 days of filing the appeal. The time required to prepare the transcripts varies with the amount of testimony to be transcribed. Once prepared, the original transcript is submitted by the appellant to the County Council for inclusion in the record. The decision of the County Council is based solely on the record and written argument submitted by the parties of record. The Council may uphold or reverse the Hearing Examiner's decision, or remand the matter back to the Hearing Examiner.

A concluding note is the suggestion that you consider attending one or more hearings in advance of the hearing in which you will participate. A combination of that advance attendance and a review of this guide and the Business Rules should go far toward making your participation effective.