Settlement & Mediation

Settlement and Mediation

The Growth Management Hearings Board encourages and supports settlement discussions to resolve a dispute. The Board strongly suggests that, at a minimum, the parties meet independently at least once prior to the Prehearing Conference in order to discuss settlement options. Once a Petition for Review is filed with the Board, the GMA requires that the Board issue its decision within 180 days. However, the GMA does permit extensions of the 180-day requirement to allow parties to pursue settlement negotiations.

If the parties find that they may be able to settle the matter but need additional time, extensions may be granted for up to ninety days upon the filing of a Motion for Settlement Extension no later than seven days before the Hearing on the Merits. Multiple extensions may be granted. If, however, multiple extensions have been granted, the Board may require substantive information in regard to the settlement negotiations, such as meetings held and an anticipated date for final resolution.

If the parties agree that assistance during settlement discussions is needed, a member of one of the other Panels can be appointed to serve as a Settlement Officer in order to assist the parties in resolving any or all of the issues presented in the Petition for Review. The parties should notify the Presiding Officer of such an agreement and the Presiding Officer will assist them in arranging for a Settlement Officer. Use of a board member from another panel is at no cost to the parties.

The parties may contract directly with a private mediation service. If the parties' settlement negotiations are successful, they must notify the Presiding Officer and file a Stipulated Joint Motion for Dismissal signed by the Petitioner(s) and Respondent(s) no later than seven days prior to the Hearing on the Merits. Although Intervenors and/or Amici may participate in settlement negotiations, the Board does not require their signature on any settlement agreement in order to dismiss a matter. The Board has no authority to enforce a settlement agreement nor may the Board review such an agreement for compliance with the GMA.

If the parties do not reach settlement on all issues or they do not seek dismissal based on settlement negotiations no later than seven days prior to the Hearing on the Merits, the case will proceed as scheduled.