Hearing Procedures & Representation

The Zoning Hearing Examiner's hearings are public and subject to all the requirements and restrictions placed upon the District Council. The hearings are generally posted on or near the Applicant’s properties pursuant to the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.

Hearings are generally held in accordance with the following procedures:

  • The time for presenting cases by parties shall generally be limited to one (1) hour for each side. For good cause, the Examiner may grant additional time.
  • The order of presenting zoning cases shall be as follows:
    (A) Applicant's case;
    (B) Opposition's case;
    (C) Rebuttal by applicant;
    (D) Surrebuttal by opposition;
    (E) Public agency comments and examination;
    (F) Summation by opposition;
    (G) Summation by applicantfi
  • In all cases (including cases remanded by the District Council), the order of presentation may be modified by the Examiner as the nature of the case warrants.
  • The Examiner shall rule upon procedural matters, questions of law, evidence, motions, or objections, and may limit debate. She may ask questions of any witness.
  • All persons who appear to testify in a zoning case shall be sworn. Reasonable cross-examination of witnesses shall be permitted.
  • All subpoenas shall be served in the manner provided by the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure for service in the Circuit Courts of this State. No person shall disobey or fail to answer the subpoena. A witness may be excused from attendance if he can show that his placement under subpoena was frivolous or oppressive.
  • Cases may be referred to any agency which has processed or commented on an application, for the purpose of clarifying, updating, or completing the record.
  • All correspondence received and copies of correspondence sent by public agencies processing applications shall be included in the record. The substance of any oral communication held with a public agency processing applications, regarding the merits of a pending zoning case, shall be reduced to writing and included in the record of that case. 

Representation Before Hearing Examiner

An Individual may represent himself.

A corporation or partnership may be represented only by an attorney admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals of Maryland (attorney-at-law).

A bona fide civic association or homeowners association may be represented by an attorney-at-law or a duly elected officer of the association.

The practice of law, which is prohibited by laymen, consists of:

  1. Giving legal advice;
  2. Representing another person before a unit of the State government or of a political subdivision (City or County);
  3. Performing other services prohibited by the Court of Appeals.

Non-lawyers may only fill out forms and perform other purely mechanical functions, but they may not represent parties before agencies of the State at hearings, nor may they give legal advice, interpret legal documents, or apply legal principles to any problems of complexity for another unless expressly permitted by State statute. (76 Opinions of the Attorney General 329, Opinion # 91-045)