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Special masters shall have all the duties and responsibilities set forth in this section and in F.S. Ch. 162, as amended from time to time, and shall carry out the same functions and procedures as the code enforcement board.
Special masters shall be retained by and serve at the pleasure and will of the city commission.
The community development department shall set a time and a date for a hearing and notify the alleged violator and the code enforcement prosecutor. All violators shall be given seven (7) working days written notification of the proposed hearing. The conduct of the hearing before the special master shall be consistent with F.S. § ch. 162, as amended from time to time.
Hearsay evidence may be accepted at the hearing before the special master for the purpose of supplementing or explaining any direct evidence; that such hearsay evidence shall not, in and of itself, be considered sufficient to support a finding or decision unless the evidence would be admissible over objections and civil action.
The alleged violator shall have the right to be represented by an attorney, however; the alleged violator or their attorney shall provide the city with written notice that an attorney is representing the alleged violator's interest at least five (5) working days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing.
All testimony before the special master shall be under oath and shall be recorded. The alleged violator or the city may cause proceedings to be recorded by a certified court reporter or other certified recording instrument; however; the city shall be under no obligation to provide a certified court reporter or other certified recording instrument, but rather, the city may use the recording device of its own choice to satisfy its obligation to record the meeting.
The burden of proof shall be with the code inspector to show by the greater weight of the evidence that a code violation exists and that the alleged violator committed or is responsible for maintaining the violation.
If written notice has been provided to any alleged violator of the hearing, hearing may be conducted and order rendered in the absence of the violator.
The special master may at his or her own discretion postpone or continue a hearing.
All orders entered by the special master shall be done so in accordance with F.S. ch.
Any orders and liens imposed by the special master may provide that the city shall have the right to foreclose that lien in the event it remains unpaid. All enforcement proceedings and/or foreclosures shall be conducted in a manner provided by state law for the foreclosure of mortgages on real property or, in the alternative, foreclosure proceedings may be instituted and prosecuted on the provisions of F.S. ch. 173, as currently enacted or as amended from time to time, or payment thereof enforced as otherwise authorized by law.
Upon full payment of any lien, the special master shall be authorized to execute and deliver, a full satisfaction of lien to the violator, or his or her representative for recording the public records of Broward County, Florida.