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(1) The planning director is authorized to interpret this land use code and decisions issued pursuant to this land use code. Requests for interpretations shall be submitted on a written form approved by the city manager and accompanied by a fee established pursuant to EC Chapter 2. Within 10 days of receipt of the written request, the planning director shall make a written interpretation and mail or deliver a copy to the party requesting the interpretation. Appeals of these interpretations shall be heard by a hearings official in the manner set out in EC 9.7600 – 9.7635.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, or any other section of this land use code, the planning director may appeal to the planning commission any interpretation by a hearings official, including both interpretations rendered as part of an appeal under subsection (1) of this section and interpretations rendered as part of any other land use matter. Appeals by the planning director pursuant to this subsection shall be filed not later than 7 days following the date of the hearings official’s decision. If the hearings official’s decision is appealed by another person, the appeals of the decision and interpretation shall be merged and determined in one appeal proceeding. The planning commission’s review under this subsection shall be limited to determining whether the hearings official made an incorrect interpretation. Prior to reaching a decision, the planning commission shall hold at least one public hearing, and shall provide the parties with at least 7 days notice of the date and time of the hearing. If the planning commission concludes that the hearings official erred, the planning commission shall remand the decision to the hearings official with instructions to issue a new decision consistent with the interpretation rendered by the planning commission. The hearings official’s written revised decision shall be mailed or delivered to the parties within 15 days from the date of the planning commission’s remand.

(3) In lieu of appealing an interpretation of a hearings official pursuant to subsection (2), the planning director may request the planning commission to issue a general interpretation of a code section or its application. Prior to reaching a decision, the planning commission shall hold at least one public hearing. The interpretation issued by the planning commission pursuant to this subsection shall not affect previous land use decisions that applied the code section for which the planning director requested the interpretation. Unless the planning commission reconsiders its interpretation, the interpretation shall apply in all decisions issued following the date of the planning commission’s interpretation except those made by the city council.

(Section 9.0040, see chart at front of Chapter 9 for legislative history from 2/26/01 through 6/1/02.)