§ 4. Hearing Procedures  

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  • A. Appearing at a Hearing. An applicant may appear in person at a hearing, or may be represented by a duly authorized agent or attorney. Any reference herein to the term "applicant" shall be deemed to be inclusive of applicant's authorized agent or attorney. In the event that an applicant fails to appear at a scheduled hearing and has not requested a postponement as set forth in Section 3(C) above, then the ZHE, in its discretion, shall have the right to (i) continue the case until the next regularly scheduled hearing, or (ii) dismiss the case based on the applicant's failure to prosecute the application.

    All parties of record, witnesses, and members of the public wishing to testify before the ZHE shall sign in on a sheet provided by the ZHE and located at the entrance to the hearing room. The ZHE shall have the right to exclude testimony of anyone who has failed to sign in.

    B. Oath. All persons providing testimony before the ZHE shall be sworn by the ZHE prior to testifying. An attorney shall not be sworn unless the attorney is acting as a witness or providing testimony rather than acting as an advocate and providing argument.

    C. Hearing Etiquette. Prior to testifying at a hearing before the ZHE, all persons appearing shall clearly state their first and last name and their personal address or business address for the record. All parties shall speak clearly into the microphone provided and shall refrain from speaking over other parties. No person shall be permitted to speak from the audience. It shall be the duty of the ZHE to maintain decorum at all times during the hearing. The ZHE shall have the right to expel any person exhibiting a lack of decorum or causing disruptive behavior from the hearing.

    D. Hearing Procedure. The order of business at a regularly scheduled hearing shall be as follows:

    1. The ZHE will call the item being considered.

    2. The ZHE will call the applicant to present its case. The applicant shall have 15 minutes to present its case and to offer evidence and testimony. Upon the expiration of the initial 15 minutes, the ZHE, in its discretion, may grant one extension of up to 15 minutes.

    3. If a party of record is represented by an attorney, the attorney for the party of record may cross-examine the applicant and any witnesses offered by the applicant for a period not to exceed the time granted to the applicant for the presentation of its case.

    4. If Department Staff has provided a report on the item being considered, the ZHE will call Department Staff to present its report. Department Staff shall have 10 minutes to make its presentation. Neither parties of record nor their attorneys may question or cross-examine Department Staff regarding its presentation.

    5. The ZHE will ask whether there are any parties of record or other members of the public who wish to speak on the item being considered. The time limits for each member of the public (and their attorney for those who are represented) shall be a total of five minutes. If the applicant is represented by an attorney, the applicant's attorney shall have the opportunity to question or cross-examine each speaker for a total of five minutes each.

    6. The ZHE shall offer the applicant an opportunity to provide any rebuttal or closing argument for a maximum of five minutes.

    7. The ZHE will close the hearing on the item.

    E. Parties of Record. For the purpose of these rules, "parties of record" shall mean the applicant and any concerned person or entity who submits written correspondence or documentation to the ZHE no later than three business days prior to the date of the hearing. Pursuant to Cincinnati Municipal Code 113-11, the right of cross-examination shall be afforded only to attorneys for parties of record.

    F. Ex Parte Communication. No one may discuss any official matter of the ZHE with the ZHE outside of the regularly scheduled hearing, but applicants and members of the public may contact the ZHE to request access to a case file or clarification of these rules. The ZHE shall immediately report to the City Solicitor any instances or attempts of bribery, intimidation, retaliation, or obstruction of official business (as those terms are defined by Chapter 29 of the Ohio Revised Code), or any other instances or attempts of impermissible ex parte communication or influence by an applicant or member of the public.