Property or business owner who wishes to modify existing property in a way that is not addressed in the zoning ordinance, can apply for a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The fee for this application is $300 and both the application and fee must be submitted a minimum of 30 days in advance of a ZBA meeting. The advance notice provides adequate time for the city to publish the required legal notices.
When a variance application is received by the city, notices are sent to all property owners and occupants within 300 feet of the subject property. The ZBA will consider the request with emphasis on the applicant demonstrating a Practical Difficulty (for a non-use or dimensional variance) or Undue Hardship (for a use variance). The tests for determining a practical difficulty or undue hardship are on the ZBA application and in the city’s zoning ordinance.
This process includes a public hearing, an open forum, conducted by the ZBA. Property owners are encouraged to have a thorough discussion with the City Planner before a public hearing is scheduled. The purpose of the public hearing is to provide interested parties the opportunity to voice concerns about the proposed project. The applicant also has an opportunity to discuss the details of the proposal and reasons why the variance is requested.
The Zoning Board of Appeals also hears appeals of zoning decisions and under Section 138-62 in order to interpret uses that are not specifically contained in the ordinance.