Board of Zoning Appeals Duties

The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) has the following duties:
  • Hear and decide appeals about administrative decisions or determinations related to the Zoning Code.
  • Hear and decide appeals concerning reconstruction or restoration of Class A Nonconformities.
  • Hear and decide appeals concerning decisions of the Planning Board related to the Zoning Code.
  • Hear and decide appeals requesting variances to the dimensional requirements of the Zoning Code.
  • Typically, these include: front, side or rear yard variances, reduction in the amount of parking required by Code, or variances to allow less lot area for a residential unit than is required by Code.
  • The following criteria are set forth in the Code to determine hardship or practical difficulty:
  • Compliance with Code will make it difficult to use the property in a reasonable manner. For example, when the existing layout of the structure is such that an additional (i.e., kitchen or bedroom) can only reasonably be placed in a certain location and that addition will be in conflict with a dimensional requirement of the Code.
  • Hardship is not caused by action of the applicant; that is, the need of an oversized garage cannot be justified just to store already collected items or junk.
  • Hardship is unique to this lot; that is, its size, shape, topography or other physical characteristic created a hardship or practical difficulty.
  • The standards used to determine the compatibility of the appeal request with the surrounding area is as follows:
  • The proposed use will be of such location, size and character that it will be in harmony with the appropriate and orderly development of the surrounding neighborhood.
  • The proposed use will be of a nature that will make vehicular and pedestrian traffic no more hazardous than is normal for the district involved, taking into consideration vehicular turning movements in relation to routes of traffic flow, proximity and relationship to intersections, adequacy of sight distances, location and access of off-street parking and provisions for pedestrian traffic, with particular attention to minimizing child/vehicle conflicts in residential districts.
  • The location, size, intensity, site layout and periods of operation of any such proposed use will be designed to eliminate a possible nuisance emanating where from which might be noxious to the occupants of any other nearby permitted uses, whether by reason of dust, noise, fumes, vibration, smoke or lights.
  • The location and height of structures and joint driveways and the location, nature and height of walls and fences will be such that the proposed use will not interfere with or discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent land and structure or unreasonably affect their value.