The Special Magistrate is a licensed attorney appointed by the City Manager, and affirmed by the City Commission to serve as a supplemental code enforcement process for the city. The special magistrate is vested with all the powers granted under Chapter 162 of the Florida Statutes, and as amended.
The Special Magistrate sets the procedures for conduct of hearings that are open to the public. Code enforcement hearings are scheduled for the second Monday of each month. Hearings are conducted much like court proceedings with testimony and evidence presented by both the City (Code Enforcement Officer) and the respondent (Violator).
Any relevant evidence shall be admitted if the Special Magistrate finds it competent and reliable, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule to the contrary. All testimony at the hearing shall be under oath, and each party shall have the right to call and examine witnesses, and to introduce exhibits; to cross-examine opposing witnesses on any matter relevant to the issues.
The Special Magistrate shall make findings of fact based on the evidence in the record alone and may state conclusions of law. The fact-finding determination of the Special Magistrate shall describe whether the alleged violation did in fact occur and, if so, whether the person named in the civil violation notice is legally responsible for that violation.
If the decision of the Special Magistrate affirms the code inspector's determination of violation, then any of the following may be included in the order:
- Amount of civil penalty;
- Pre-hearing and hearing administrative enforcement costs; and
- Date by which the violation shall be corrected to prevent resumption of continuing violation penalties.
Any fines or penalties imposed by the Special Magistrate may be recorded as a lien against the real property of the respondent, and payable to the City.
The Special Magistrate hearings are scheduled to take place at 10:00 a.m. on the second Monday of each month throughout 2016. The meetings will be held at St. Pete Beach City Hall, 155 Corey Avenue, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706.