The City of Brooksville code violations are heard by a Special Magistrate, a licensed attorney and member of the Florida Bar. The Special Magistrate is appointed by the City Council and has the jurisdiction and authority to hear and rule over code compliance matters. The Special Magistrate has the authority to subpoena witnesses and records, order rulings on violations and assess fines to be placed upon properties. Property owners cited by a Code Enforcement Officer are given a reasonable amount of time to bring their property into compliance before the code violations are referred to the Special Magistrate.
Upon request of the code inspector or at such other times as may be necessary, a hearing before the special magistrate may be convened. Minutes shall be kept of all code enforcement hearings, and all hearings shall be open to the public. Where proper notice of the hearing has been provided to the alleged violator, a hearing may proceed even in the absence of the alleged violator.
At such hearing, the burden of proof shall be upon the code enforcement division to show by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation exists, or in the case of a repeat violation, existed on the date that the code inspector gave notice to the violator of a repeat violation.
All testimony shall be under oath and shall be recorded. The formal rules of evidence shall not apply but fundamental due process shall be observed and shall govern the proceedings. Upon determination of the special magistrate, irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded, but all other evidence of a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs shall be admissible. Any part of the evidence may be received in written form.
The special magistrate may inquire of or question any witness present at the hearing. The alleged violator (hereinafter also referred to as the respondent), respondent’s attorney, code enforcement officers, or an attorney representing the city shall be permitted to inquire of or question any witness present at the hearing. The special magistrate may consider testimony presented by code enforcement officers, the respondent, or any other witnesses.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the special magistrate shall render his or her decision (order) based on evidence entered into the record. The decision shall then be transmitted to the respondent in the form of a written order including findings of fact, and conclusions of law consistent with the record. The order shall be transmitted by mail to the respondent within ten (10) days after the hearing. The order may include a notice that it must be complied with by a specified date and a fine of up to $250 per day until such violations are brought into compliance. Failure to comply could result in a lien filed against the title of the property.
Special Magistrate hearings are held at 10:00 am on the last Tuesday of each month in the Council Chambers at Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Ave, Brooksville, Florida.