<<Prev Rule

Texas Administrative Code

Next Rule>>
RULE §55.210Direct Referrals

(a) The executive director or the applicant may file a request with the chief clerk that the application be sent directly to State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) for a hearing on the application.

(b) After receipt of a request filed under this section and after the executive director has issued his preliminary decision on the application, the chief clerk shall refer the application directly to SOAH for a hearing on whether the application complies with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

(c) A case which has been referred to SOAH under this section shall not be subject to the public meeting requirements of §55.154 of this title (relating to Public Meetings). The agency may, however, call and conduct public meetings in response to public comment. A public meeting is intended for the taking of public comment, and is not a contested case proceeding under the Administrative Procedure Act. Public meetings held under this section shall be subject to following procedures.

  (1) The executive director shall hold a public meeting when there is a significant degree of public interest in a draft permit, or when required by law.

  (2) To the extent practicable, the public meeting for any case referred under this section shall be held prior to or on the same date as the preliminary hearing.

  (3) Public notice of a public meeting may be abbreviated to facilitate the convening of the public meeting prior to or on the same date as the preliminary hearing, unless the timing of notice is set by statute or a federal regulation governing a permit under a federally authorized program. In any case, public notice must be provided at least ten days before the meeting.

  (4) The public comment period shall be extended to the close of any public meeting.

  (5) The applicant shall attend any public meeting held.

  (6) A tape recording or written transcript of the public meeting shall be filed with the chief clerk and will be included in the chief clerk's case file to be sent to SOAH as provided by §80.6 of this title (relating to Referral to SOAH).

(d) A case which has been referred to SOAH under this section shall be subject to the public comment processing requirements of §55.156(a) and (b)(1) and (3) of this title (relating to Public Comment Processing). The requirements of §39.426(e) of this title (relating to Alternative Language Requirements) shall also be met, as applicable.

(e) For applications filed before September 1, 2015, if Notice of Application and Preliminary Decision is provided at or after direct referral under this section, this notice shall include, in lieu of the information required by §39.411(c) and (e) of this title (relating to Text of Public Notice), the following:

  (1) the information required by §39.411(b)(1) - (3), (4)(A), (6) - (11), and (13) and (e)(10), (11)(A), (C) and (D), (13) and (14) of this title;

  (2) the information required by §39.411(c)(4) and (5) of this title; and

  (3) a brief description of public comment procedures, including a description of the manner in which comments regarding the executive director's preliminary decision may be submitted, the deadline to file public comments or request a public meeting, and a statement that a public meeting will be held by the executive director if there is significant public interest in the proposed activity. These public comment procedures must be printed in a font style or size that clearly provides emphasis and distinguishes it from the remainder of the notice.

(f) For applications filed on or after September 1, 2015, the administrative law judge may not hold a preliminary hearing until after the issuance of the executive director's response to comment.

Source Note: The provisions of this §55.210 adopted to be effective December 27, 2001, 26 TexReg 10606; amended to be effective June 24, 2010, 35 TexReg 5256; amended to be effective December 31, 2015, 40 TexReg 9660; amended to be effective September 16, 2021, 46 TexReg 5844

Link to Texas Secretary of State Home Page | link to Texas Register home page | link to Texas Administrative Code home page | link to Open Meetings home page