Zoning Board of Appeals
The Zoning Board of Appeals has seven members appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Commission, for three-year, staggered terms. They review and consider all petitions for appeals or variances to the requirements of the zoning ordinance.
Variance requests include dimensional variances, such as requests for signage in excess of that which is permitted, reductions in parking or setback requirements, and buildings in excess of the size permitted by the ordinance. The other type of variance request is for a use variance, when one is asking for approval to use the property for something not otherwise permitted by right. A dimensional variance can be approved by a simple majority of the members of the Zoning Board of Appeals, but a use variance requires a two-thirds approval vote from its members.
Based on state law and subsequent case law, someone applying for variances must be able to prove to the Zoning Board of Appeals that a “practical difficulty” exists if they are compelled to follow the ordinance as it relates to dimensional variances and that an “unnecessary hardship” exists in order to qualify for a use variance.
The Zoning Board of Appeals is also authorized to review appeals from an aggrieved party regarding a decision of the Zoning Administrator, to determine if an interpretation or ruling was sufficient. Under state law, an individual’s appeal of a decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals must be filed in Circuit Court.
The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act of 2006, as amended, allows for one regular member of the Zoning Board of Appeals to also be a member of the Planning Commission. State zoning legislation also provides for the opportunity to appoint two additional “alternate” members.
Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. in City Hall Room 301 (City Commission Chambers), 10 N. Division St., Battle Creek, MI 49014.