The Orlando City Council voted unanimously to adopted a new ordinance at the most recent City Council meeting which will allow themselves to conduct quasi-judicial hearings instead of referring the hearings to a contracted hearing officer.
Ordinance No. 2016-96 amends Section 2.206 of the City Code in order to allow City staff to expedite dispositions of an appeal “when circumstances warrant.”
Before the code was passed, if someone wished to appeal against a decision made by an entity like the Municipal Planning Board, they would appeal the decision to a third-party hearing officer. The officer would hear out the case and then send the appeal before the council. Mayor Buddy Dyer stated at the Council Meeting that the new process is meant to streamline the process and bring it straight to the Council, essentially skipping the middleman.
Again, the ordinance does not remove the right to a third party officer entirely, but it does give the City the option of skipping that step, in order to move the process forward.
Four people spoke in opposition and two appeared in support of the new ordinance.