(1) Within 10 months after receipt of a complete
petition, the department shall hold a public hearing in the locality of the
area covered by the petition. If all
petitioners and intervenors agree, the hearing need not be held. The department
may subpoena witnesses as necessary.
The department shall allow cross-examination of expert witnesses, but
other witnesses must not be cross-examined.
The department shall make a verbatim transcript of the hearing.
(2) (a) The department shall give notice of the
date, time, and location of the hearing to:
(i) local, state, and federal agencies which may
have an interest in the decision on the petition;
(ii) the petitioner and the intervenors; and
(iii) any person with an ownership or other interest known to the department in the
area covered by the petition.
(b) Notice of the hearing must be sent by
certified mail and postmarked not less than 30 days before the scheduled date
of the hearing.
(3) The department shall notify the general public
of the date, time, and location of the hearing by placing a newspaper
advertisement once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in the locale of the area
covered by the petition and once during the week prior to the scheduled date of
the public hearing. The consecutive
weekly advertisement must begin between 4 and 5 weeks before the scheduled date
of the public hearing.
(4) The department may consolidate in a single
hearing the hearings required for each of several petitions which relate to
areas in the same locale.
(5) In the event that all petitioners and
intervenors stipulate agreement prior to the hearing, the petition may be
withdrawn from consideration.