[Adopted by the STM 11-3-2009]
In accordance with § 7-152c of the Connecticut General Statutes, as the same may be amended from time to time, there is hereby established a citation hearing procedure, for use in contesting citations issued in accordance with Town ordinances where such hearing procedures apply.
The First Selectman shall appoint one or more hearing citation officers, other than Bethany's Resident State Troopers, constables or Town of Bethany employees or persons who issue citations in Bethany, to conduct hearings authorized by this article. Hearing Officers shall have general knowledge of land use issues, Inland Wetland Regulations, Bethany Code of Ordinances and the Zoning Regulations of the Town of Bethany and shall prior to the conduct of any hearing be advised about the proper hearing procedures by the Town Counsel.
Terms. The First Selectman shall appoint up to three Hearing Officers for terms of one year, two years and three years. Each term shall commence on July 1 and end on June 30.
If any person who is sent notice pursuant to a Town ordinance wishes to pay the fine or any alleged violation, a person may, without requesting a hearing, pay the full amount of the fine admitted to, in person or by mail to the Town of Bethany. Checks should be payable to the Treasurer of the Town of Bethany.
Such payment shall not be admissible in any proceeding, civil or criminal.
Any person who does not deliver or mail written demand for a hearing within 30 days of the notice provided for in the subject Town ordinance shall be deemed to have admitted liability, and the Inland Wetland Enforcement Officer or the Zoning Enforcement Officer who issued the citation shall certify such person's failure to respond to the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer shall thereupon enter and assess the fine provided for by the subject ordinance, and shall follow the procedures set forth in § 129-22 of this article.
Any person who requests a hearing shall be given written notice by certified mail of the date, time and place of the hearing. Such hearing shall be held not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days from the date of the mailing of notice, provided that the Hearing Officer or First Selectman shall grant postponement or continuance for any reasonable request by any interested party for good cause shown.
An original or certified copy of the initial citation issued by the issuing official shall be filed and retained by the Town of Bethany and shall be deemed to be a business record.
The presence of the issuing official shall be required at the hearing. A person wishing to contest his/her liability shall appear at the hearing and may present evidence in his/her behalf.
A designated municipal official, other than the Hearing Officer, may present evidence on behalf of the municipality.
If the person that demanded a hearing fails to appear, the Hearing Officer may enter an assessment by default against him/her upon finding proper notice and liability under this article.
The Hearing Officer may accept from such person copies of investigatory and citation reports and other official documents by mail and may determine thereby that the appearance of such person is not necessary.
The Hearing Officer shall conduct the hearing in the order and form and with such methods of proof as he/she deems fair and appropriate. The rules regarding the admissibility of evidence shall not be strictly applied, but all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation.
The Hearing Officer shall announce his/her decision at the end of the hearing. If the Hearing Officer determines that the person is not liable, he/she shall dismiss the matter and enter his/her determination in writing accordingly. If the Hearing Officer determines that the person is liable for the violation, the Hearing Officer shall forthwith enter and assess the fines, penalties, costs or fees against such person as provided in this article.
If such assessment is not paid on the date of entry, the Hearing Officer shall send, by first class mail, a notice of the assessment to the person liable and shall file, not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months after such mailing, a certified copy of the notice of assessment with the clerk of the Superior Court facility designated by the Chief Court Administrator, together with the statutory entry fee. Within such twelve-month period, assessments against the same person may be accrued and filed as one record of assessment. Notwithstanding any other provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Hearing Officer's assessment, when so entered as a judgment, may be issued without further notice to such person. All costs, attorney fees, court costs and costs of notices shall be paid by the person found to be liable for said assessment.
A person against whom an assessment has been entered pursuant to this article may file an appeal of the Hearing Officer's decision with Small Claims Court. An appeal shall be instituted within 30 days of the mailing of the notice of such assessment, together with an entry fee in an amount equal to the entry fee for a small claims case pursuant to the Connecticut General Statutes. Notice of assessment date shall be the date the notice of assessment is stamped by the United States Postal Service.