Can Elected Official Appeal a Committee Decision and Later Vote on Committee Action ?

In Cohan v. City of Thousand Oaks (1994), supra, 30 Cal. App. 4th 547, Division Six of this court specifically addressed the action of a city council in appealing to itself the decision of its planning commission. After invalidating that action, the court cautioned: "Our holding should not be read as invalidating all appeals taken by a city council or other governing body to itself from a decision of a subordinate agency. We do emphasize, however, that if such a procedure is contemplated, it should be authorized by the ordinances or rules which govern appeals to such entity, and some direction should be given in such ordinances or rules concerning specification of grounds and appropriate burdens of proof. No elected individual appealed here. the Council appealed. Had a single council member been the appellant (and complied with the municipal code), he or she might have been disqualified but the remainder of the City Council could have voted." (Id. at p. 559.) It is clear that the Cohan court did not resolve whether and under what circumstances an elected official might both appeal to a city council the decision of one of its committees, and later vote on an action of such committee. In considering this question, we note first that, in contrast to the circumstances present in Cohan, the Torrance Municipal Code specifically permits the filing of an appeal from the decision of the planning commission by a member of the city council. Thus, Torrance Municipal Code section 11.5.1 provides: "Except as otherwise provided in this Code, if any application for any permit or consent of any City body or official having such authority is denied or approved by any City body or official and no other body is designated in the Code to hear an appeal, the applicant, or any interested person adversely affected, upon payment of an appeal fee, the City Manager, or any member of the City Council, may file with the City Clerk, a written notice of appeal to the City Council from such decision within fifteen (15) days after such decision." The Planning Commission of the City of Torrance is created and governed by chapter 3, article 1 of the Torrance Municipal Code. Section 13.1.7 provides in part: "a) the Commission shall hold hearings, make recommendations to the City Council and perform all duties required by law." Chapter 5, article 1, section 95.1.2 states: "The responsibility for review and approval or denial of Conditional Use Permits is as follows: a) Conditional Use Permits will be reviewed and approved or denied by the Planning Commission."