Board of Adjustment
Board of Adjustment Duties
The Board hears and makes the final decision of Appeals, which are questions between an applicant and the zoning administrator as to the proper interpretation of the zoning ordinance. They also decide on applications for Special Exceptions as specifically provided in the Zoning Ordinance. The Board also may authorize Variances in the application of the Ordinance where there are unusual circumstances that would otherwise result in unnecessary hardship (physical, not economic) to a particular parcel of land if the Ordinance is literally enforced, and the variance would not be contrary to the public interest.
The Board of Adjustment usually meets on the second Tuesday of each month. The Board will meet only if applications have been submitted for Board action. Call the Planning and Zoning office, 563-659-8149, prior to a scheduled meeting to verify the time and location of the meeting or check the agenda for the next meeting.
Forms and complete requirements for applications to the Board of Adjustment are available in the office of the Zoning Administrator. Complete applications are due at least 20 days prior to the date of the Public Hearing.
Any person, including any officer or agency of Clinton County, aggrieved by a final administrative determination on a development permit or administrative development approval by the Administrator may appeal such final determination to the Board of Adjustment.
A written appeal must be filed with the Administrator within 30 working days after the date of the final decision. The appeal shall contain a written statement of the reasons for which the appellant claims the final decision is erroneous. The appeal shall be accompanied by the fee established by the Board of Supervisors.
The Board of Adjustment shall hear the appeal within 30 days after the filing of the appeal.
The Board of Adjustment may affirm, reverse or modify the decision from which the appeal was taken within 30 days after the date the hearing closed.
Special Exceptions are uses that are generally compatible with the permitted land uses in a given zoning district, but which require individual review of their location, design and configuration and the imposition of conditions in order to ensure the appropriateness of the use at a particular location within a given zoning district. Special Exception uses are listed in the district regulations for each zoning district.
Criteria for the Board of Adjustment to consider when deciding on a Special Exception
- Whether the proposed use at the specified location is consistent with the policies embodied in the adopted Master plan.
- Whether the proposed use is consistent with the general purpose and intent of the applicable zoning district regulations and complies with the requirements of the zoning ordinance.
- Whether the proposed use is not materially detrimental to the public health, safety, convenience and welfare, or results in material damage or prejudice to other property in the vicinity.
- Whether the proposed use is compatible with and preserves the character and integrity of adjacent development and neighborhoods and includes improvements or modifications either on-site or with the public rights-of-way to mitigate development-related adverse impacts, such as traffic, noise, odors, visual nuisances, or other similar adverse effects to adjacent development and neighborhoods. These improvements or modifications may include, but shall not be limited to, the placement or orientation of buildings and entryways, parking areas, buffer yards, and the addition of landscaping, walls or both, to ameliorate such impacts.
- Whether the proposed use does not generate pedestrian and vehicular traffic which will be hazardous to the existing and anticipated traffic in the neighborhood.
A variance is a relaxation of the terms of the zoning ordinance where such variance will not be contrary to the public interest and where, owing to conditions peculiar to the property, and not the result of the actions of the applicant, a literal enforcement of the ordinance would result in unnecessary and undue hardship. Variances cannot be approved because of economic conditions, such as that it would cost more to build in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. As used in the Clinton County Zoning Ordinance, a variance is authorized only for height, area, and size of structure or size of yards and open spaces. Establishment or expansion of a use otherwise prohibited cannot be allowed by the variance, nor can a variance be granted because of the presence of nonconformities in the zoning district or uses in an adjoining zoning district.
In order to grant a variance, it must be found that the property cannot be used for any reasonable purpose within its current zoning district, unless a variance is granted. The cost of removal of an illegally built structure does not constitute unnecessary hardship-it should not have been built in the first place. A variance also cannot be used to create a new non-conforming lot.
Criteria for the Board of Adjustment to consider when deciding on a Variance
- The variance requested arises from a condition or conditions which are unique to the property in question and which are not ordinarily found in the same zone or district; that the condition was not created by an action or actions of the property owner or applicant; and that the condition existed prior to enactment of regulations creating the need for the variance.
- The granting of the permit for variance will not adversely affect the rights of adjacent property owners or residents.
- The strict application of the provisions of this ordinance would constitute unnecessary hardship upon the property owner.
- The variance desired will not adversely affect the public health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity or general welfare.
- The granting of the variance will not conflict with the general spirit and intent of this ordinance.
- The granting of the variance requested will not confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this ordinance to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district. Non-conforming use of neighboring lands, structures or buildings shall not be considered grounds for issuances of a variance.
- The variance requested is the minimum variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure.