.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Public Meeting Policies

                                                 PUBLIC COMMENT AT REGULAR BOARD MEETINGS
                                                               AND QUASI-LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS
 
I.                     POLICY
 
                       It is the policy of the DeSoto County Board of County Commissioners to provide an
                       opportunity for citizens to address the Board at its meetings on non-agenda items prior to
                       Board discussion of matters on the agenda and to allow citizens to address the Board on
                       agenda items as they are considered by the Board at regular Board meetings and at quai-
                       legislative hearings. Members of the public shall maintain orderly conduct and proper decorum
                       in addressing the Board in accordance with Section 286.0114, Florida Statutes.
 
II.                    PROCEDURE
 
                       A.       Person wishing to address the Board SHALL:
 
                       1.       Complete a Request to Speak Card available at the door to the Board room and
                                  present it to the Transcribing Secretary;
 
                       2.        When called upon by the Board Chairman, speakers shall state their name and
                                  address and address the Board for no more than five (5) minutes on any matter;
                                  and
 
                       3.       If written materials are to be submitted to the Board, provide at least one (1) copy
                                 to the County Administrator who shall make copies available to the Board after
                                 the meeting.
 
                       B.      Persons wishing to address the Board  SHALL NOT:
 
                                1.      Continue speaking after their five (5) minutes time period is over, unless allowed by
                                          the Chairman;
 
                                2.      Engage in disruptive behavior; or
 
                                3.      Make vulgar comments, threatening remarks or personal attacks against any
                                         Board member, staff, members of the public, or otherwise.
 
III.                   IMPLEMENTATION
 
                       The Chairman of the Board shall have the discretion to have any speaker who disregards this
                       Policy removed from the Boardroom for the remainder of that day's business.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                PUBLIC TESTIMONY AT QUASI-JUDICIAL HEARINGS

Please See the Text of Ordinance 2017-20 Below

 
I.                     POLICY
 
                       It is the policy of the DeSoto County Board of County Commissioners to provide an
                       opportunity for citizens to testify at quasi-judicial hearings. Members of the public shall
                       maintain orderly conduct and proper decorum in addressing the Board in accordance
                       with Section 286.0114, Florida Statutes.
 
II.                    PROCEDURE
 
                       A.     Members of the public wishing to testify in quasi-judicial hearings SHALL:
 
                       1.        Complete a Request to Speak Card available at the door to the Boardroom and
                                  present it to the Transcribing Secretary;
 
                       2.        Be placed under oath prior to giving testimony. Public testimony must
                                  consist of competent, substantial evidence or questions for staff or the
                                  applicant directed to the Chairman. The Chairman or another member
                                  of the Board may, in their discretion, ask the staff or the applicant to
                                  address questions raised by the public. Public testimony shall not include
                                  matters that are irrelevant or speculative.
 
                       3.        Be called upon to testify by the Chairman after testimony is given by County
                                  staff and the applicant.
 
                       4.        When called upon to testify by the Board Chairman, speakers shall state their
                                  name and address and shall testify for no more than five (5) minutes on any
                                  matter; and
 
                       5.        If written materials are to be submitted to the Board, provide at least eight (8)
                                  copies to the Board Chairman who shall distribute copies to the Board, County
                                  Administrator and County Attorney.
 
                       B.    Persons wishing to testify at quasi-judicial hearings SHALL NOT:
 
                       1.        Continue speaking after their five (5) minute time period is over, unless allowed
                                   by the Chairman;
 
                       2.        Engage in disruptive behavior; or
 
                       3.        Make vulgar comments, threatening remarks or personal attacks against any
                                  Board member, staff, the applicant, members of the public, or otherwise.
 
III.                    IMPLEMENTATION
 
                         The Chairman of the Board shall have the discretion to have any member of the public
                         who disregards this Policy removed from the Boardroom for the remainder of that day's
                         business.       

 

DESOTO COUNTY, FLORIDA

ORDINANCE NO.  2017-20

 

AN ORDINANCE OF DESOTO COUNTY, FLORIDA, CONCERNING QUASI-JUDICIAL HEARINGS; PROVIDING FOR SCOPE AND APPLICABILITY, PRELIMINARY MATTERS AND PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE; PROVIDING FOR ALTERNATE PROCEDURES APPLICABLE TO SPECIFIED HEARINGS INCLUDING PREFILING OF EXHIBITS, INTERVENTION, EXPERT TESTIMONY AND PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY, REPEAL OF CONFLICTING ORDINANCES, CODIFICATION AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

 

              WHEREAS,  the DeSoto County Board of County Commissioners (“Board”) has adopted the Land Development Regulations (“LDR”) which are included in the Desoto County Code of Ordinances (“Code”) as Chapter 20; and

              WHEREAS, Sections 20-1401 through 20-1403 of the Code establish procedures to be followed in quasi-judicial hearings; and

              WHEREAS, the Board finds there is a need to clarify and distinguish the procedures by which evidentiary and procedural issues and objections will be handled in quasi-judicial hearings which do and do not present complex issues and expert testimony from multiple witnesses; and 

             WHEREAS, the Board finds that the rights of all persons and parties participating in quasi-judicial hearings will be better protected if the procedures concerning quasi-judicial hearings are amended to establish a process to be followed in more complex, specified hearings held by the Board that allows party intervention, prefiling of exhibits and qualification of expert witnesses; and

              WHEREAS, the Board hereby finds that this Ordinance advances an important government purpose by clarifying quasi-judicial hearing procedures and requirements; and

              WHEREAS, the Board hereby finds that this ordinance is in the public interest, promotes the public welfare, and that adoption of this Ordinance is a proper exercise of the County’s police powers.

              NOW THEREFORE, be it ordained by the Board of County Commissioners of DeSoto County, Florida, as follows:

 

Section 1.   Sections 20-1401, 20-1402 and 20-1403 of the Code of Ordinances are amended to read as follows:

Sec. 20-1401. - Scope and applicability.

(a)   These procedures shall apply to all quasi-judicial hearings held by the Board of County Commissioners, the Planning Commission, and any other board or commission which holds quasi-judicial hearings; provided that the Board may determine by Resolution that alternate procedures as set forth in Sec. 20-1404 shall apply to specified proceedings held by the Board. The County Attorney shall determine which matters are quasi-judicial in nature and shall direct the Board Clerk to designate such matters on the agenda.

(b)  The chairman or other presiding officer shall conduct the proceedings and maintain order. Hearings shall be conducted informally, but in a courteous and professional manner.

(c)  Failure to strictly adhere to these procedures shall not invalidate any action of a County board or commission.

Sec. 20-1402. - Preliminary matters.

(a)  The County Attorney shall represent the Board of County Commissioners, the Planning Commission, or other County board or commission, and shall advise the County board or commission as to evidentiary and procedural issues and objections, the applicable law, and necessary factual findings.

(b)  In all quasi-judicial proceedings, the applicant shall bear the burden of demonstrating by competent and substantial evidence that the application satisfies the standards and requirements of the LDRs and the Comprehensive Plan.

(c)  Prior to the start of any quasi-judicial hearing, each board or commission member shall disclose any ex parte communications which should be brought to the attention of the public and the board or commission.

(d)  Any member of the public wishing to testify must complete a card and present it to the board or commission clerk. The purpose of testimony is to present competent and substantial evidence which may be considered by the board or commission.

(e)  Anyone wishing to testify must declare that he or she will testify truthfully by taking an oath or affirmation prior to testifying.

(f)  Opinion testimony will only be allowed by witnesses who have been qualified and accepted as experts.

 

(g)  At any time during the proceedings, any member of the board or commission, or the County Attorney, may ask questions of the applicant, witnesses who testify, or County staff.

(h)  All decisions by a County board or commission shall be based on the record of the evidence presented to it at the hearing, which shall include testimony of all witnesses, exhibits and other evidence presented.  Strict rules of evidence shall not apply, but evidence must be competent, substantial and relevant to the issues before the County board or commission.

 Sec. 20-1403. - Presentation and hearing.

(a)  Conduct of hearing. The hearing shall be conducted in the following manner:

(1)  Open hearing.

(2)  County staff presentation of staff report.

(3)  Applicant presentation in support of application.

(4)  Other proponents of the application.

(5)  Opponents of the application.

(6)  Rebuttal by applicant and County staff.

(7)  Close hearing and commence deliberations.

 

(b)  Cross examination of witnesses. After each witness testifies, cross examination of the witness is permitted by County staff and the applicant or applicant's representative about matters to which the witness testified.  Members of the public may direct questions to the Board concerning testimony given by witnesses.  Members of the Board may ask witnesses to respond to such questions.

 

(c)  Chairman or Presiding Officer. The chairman or presiding officer shall at all times control the conduct of the hearing, may set time limits on testimony, may exercise his or her discretion regarding the order of presentation of testimony, and may exclude testimony or evidence that is irrelevant, immaterial, incompetent, unreliable or unduly repetitious. The County Attorney shall advise the chairman or presiding officer on such matters.

 

Section 2.   Section 20-1404 is approved and adopted as follows:

Sec. 20-1404.- Procedures for specified hearings before the Board of County Commissioners.

(a)  If the Board determines that issues to be presented at a hearing are complex and likely to result in extensive expert testimony and/or requests by individuals or groups to present testimony, exhibits and cross examine witnesses, thereby resulting in the likelihood of a lengthy, multi-day hearing, the Board may decide that these alternate procedures shall be followed by adopting a Resolution at least forty-five (45) calendar days prior to commencement of the hearing declaring that the procedures set forth in this section shall apply in a specified hearing.  The Resolution shall be posted on the County’s webpage and published in a newspaper at least twenty-eight (28) calendar days prior to commencement of the hearing.

(b)  Scope and applicability.  Sec 20-1401 shall apply to specified hearings.

(c)  Preliminary matters.  The following preliminary matters shall apply in specified hearings in addition to those set forth in Sec. 20-1402:

 

(1)  At least fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the hearing, the applicant shall pre-file with the Development Department copies of all exhibits (other than rebuttal exhibits) that will be presented at the hearing, the names, mailing and email addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses who will be called to testify on their behalf, including resumes of any witness to be called as an expert, and a summary of their expert opinion testimony. These required documents may be pre-filed in electronic format with two (2) hard copies of each document, or alternatively eight (8) hard copies of each document may be filed.   

 

(2)  Intervention in specified hearings

a.              Intervention is not a matter of right but may be granted in the sound discretion of the Board.  If granted, intervention is subordinate to, and in recognition of, the propriety of the main proceeding. An intervenor takes the proceeding and the issues as they exist and may not introduce new issues.

b.              Any person or organization requesting the right to present testimony, exhibits, and/or to cross examine witnesses, must file a written request to intervene with the Development Department at least fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the hearing which includes: (1) a detailed statement of their interest in the application being considered and how that interest differs from the interest of the public at large; (2) argument in favor or against the application; (3) copies of all exhibits (other than rebuttal exhibits) that will be presented at the hearing; and (4) the names, mailing and email addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses who will be called to testify on their behalf, including resumes of any witness to be called as an expert, and a summary of their expert opinion testimony.  These required documents may be pre-filed in electronic format with two (2) hard copies of each document, or alternatively eight (8) hard copies of each document may be filed.

(3)  If a member of the public wishes to testify as an expert, at least fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the hearing, he or she must provide the Development Department with copies of their resume, summary of expert opinion testimony, and their exhibits (other than rebuttal exhibits). These required documents may be pre-filed in electronic format with two (2) hard copies of each document, or alternatively eight (8) hard copies of each document may be filed.

(d)   Presentation and hearing.  The following shall apply in specified hearings in lieu of the procedure set forth in Sec 20-1403:

(1)  Conduct of hearing. The hearing shall be conducted in the following manner:

a. Open hearing.

b. Rulings by chairman or presiding officer on intervention, expert witness qualifications and other preliminary matters

c. County staff presentation of staff report.

d. Applicant presentation in support of application.

e. Intervenor in favor of the application.

f. Intervenor opposed to the application.

g. Public testimony as to facts and qualified expert opinions.

h. Rebuttal testimony and exhibits, and closing argument by intervenor.

i. Rebuttal testimony and exhibits, and closing argument by applicant.

j. Rebuttal testimony and exhibits, and closing argument by County staff.

k. Close hearing and commence deliberations.

 

(2)  Cross examination of witnesses. After each witness testifies, cross examination of the witness is permitted about matters to which the witness testified by members of the Board, County staff, and on behalf of the applicant and intervenor.  Members of the public may direct questions to the Board concerning testimony given by witnesses.  Members of the Board may ask witnesses to respond to such questions.

 

(3)  Chairman or Presiding Officer. The chairman or presiding officer shall at all times control the conduct of the hearing, rule on requests to intervene, requests by witnesses to be accepted as experts, and requests to modify time or other requirements if good cause is shown.  The chairman or presiding officer may set time limits on testimony and the length of hearing on any day, may exercise his or her discretion regarding the order of presentation of testimony, and may exclude testimony or evidence that is irrelevant, immaterial, incompetent, unreliable or unduly repetitious. The County Attorney shall advise the chairman or presiding officer on such matters.

 

Section 3.  Severability.

              If any provision of this Ordinance or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this Ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Ordinance are severable.

Section 4.  Repeal.

              All ordinances, resolutions, official determinations or parts thereof previously adopted or entered by the County in conflict with this Ordinance are hereby repealed to the extent inconsistent herewith.

Section 5.  Code of Ordinances.

              This Ordinance shall be included in and become part of the DeSoto County Code of Ordinances.             

Section 6.  Effective Date.

              This Ordinance takes effect immediately upon adoption and filing with the Secretary of State.

 

PASSED AND DULY ADOPTED in regular session, by the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF DESOTO COUNTY, FLORIDA, this 28th day of November 2017.

Contacts

Mandy Hines
County Administrator
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Ph:   (863) 993-4800
Fax:  (863) 993-4809

201 E. Oak Street
Suite 201
Arcadia, FL 34266
view map

Calendar Events

Nov 12 | THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED
The Board of County Commissioners Office will be closed on Monday November 12, 2018 in observance...  read more

Nov 13 | Board of County Commissioners Public Meeting
THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WILL HOLD A PUBLIC MEETING DATE/TIME: November 13, 2018 at 9:00...  read more

Nov 22 | THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED
The Board of County Commissioners Office will be closed on Thursday November 22, 2018 and Friday...  read more

Nov 27 | BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PUBLIC HEARING
THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WILL HOLD A PUBLIC MEETING DATE/TIME: November 27, 2018 at 3:00...  read more

Nov 27 | BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PUBLIC HEARING
THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WILL HOLD A PUBLIC MEETING DATE/TIME: November 27, 2018 at 1:00...  read more

Click here for full calendar.

News and Announcements

Federally Funded LAP Turner Ave. at Roan St./Gibson St. Intersection Construction Services
DeSoto County Board of County Commissioners Purchasing Division 201 E. Oak Street Suite...  read more

DeSoto County Recycling Program is BACK!!!
DeSoto County Landfill is pleased to announce that we are bringing back our recycling...  read more

Tourism Department wins industry award
Tourism Department recognized for Social Media Campaign at Florida Governor’s Conference on...  read more

Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) Working Group Meeting Scheduled
The next Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) Working Group Meeting will take place on Tuesday July 31,...  read more

COMMUNTIY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT
DESOTO COUNTY IS APPLYING FOR A SMALL CITIES COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT The CDBG Citizens...  read more

Click here for full news archive.