Posted by: Patricia Salkin | August 26, 2010

FL Appeals Court Holds that Neighboring Landowners in a Quasi Judicial Hearing Are Not Entitled to Cross-Examine Witnesses

Petitioners, Carillon Community Residential Association, Inc., and its President, sought second-tier certiorari review of a circuit court order upholding the approval by the County Board of County Commissioners of an amendment to the Carillon Planned Unit Development  which  allows a mixed-use development, including a four-story, 600 bed University of Central Florida student housing complex, to be built on two parcels of land adjacent to Petitioners’ subdivision. The Court concluded that the circuit court afforded Petitioners procedural due process and did not depart from the essential requirements of law when the Board denied their request to cross-examine witnesses at the quasi-judicial hearing in which the amendment was approved.  The Court said that Florida law does not require that all participants in quasi-judicial proceedings be allowed to cross-examine witnesses.  The Court states, that “land use hearings are not in the same form as traditional adversarial hearings during which opposing parties are clearly delineated and those entitled to cross-examine witnesses can be clearly identified. Rather, land use hearings are public hearings during which any member of the public has a right to participate. At the hearing in question, in addition to the witnesses for the developers and the petitioners, twenty-five community members spoke at the hearing. It would be impractical to grant each interested party the right to cross-examine the witnesses at such a hearing, especially in light of the fact that the BCC provides a procedure by which the witnesses can be questioned.” 

Carillon Community Residential v. Seminole County, 2010 WL 2628692 (FL, DCA5,  7/2/2010) 

The opinion can be accessed here

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