A three-member Board of Zoning Appeals considers requests for zoning variances, i.e. exemptions from zoning ordinances. Requests for variances may be granted in unique situations where conforming with the ordinance would create a practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, “provided the spirit of the ordinance is observed, public safety ensured, and substantial justice done.” The zoning board prevents zoning ordinances from becoming rigid, unjust, or confiscatory documents.
Zoning statutes require township boards to appoint a zoning board of appeals. One member of the board must be a township planning commission member and the remaining members must be electors who represent the demographics and various interests within the township. Township board members may not chair the body. The board meets on an as-needed basis.
Basic Responsibilities of the Zoning Board of Appeals – Roles, Responsibilities and Guidelines
How an Appeal Reaches the Zoning Board of Appeals
There are a number of steps that take place prior to a case being presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Typically, the first contact with a potential applicant is made by the applicant contacting the staff of the Community Development Department. These informal meetings or inquiries often provide useful background in developing the Appeal and help residents, developers and business owners determine if there is a hardship or practical difficulty.
• Applicant contacts the Township to file and appeals.
• Applicant completes application and submits to the Township
• Staff coordinates application process, performs review and schedules public hearing and/or meeting as required including any public notices.
What the Zoning Board of Appeals Does
There are basically three types of cases which the Zoning Board of Appeals will hear:
1. An Appeal of an Administrative Decision. This type of case occurs when a citizen appeals a decision made by the zoning administrator, other review body or other official under the guidelines of the Township’s ordinance.
2. A Request for an Interpretation. This type of case occurs when a citizen or public official requests an interpretation of the zoning ordinance in terms of a specific use, classification or zoning boundary.
3. A Variance. Townships are specifically authorized to grant dimensional variances, which are requests for relief from the typical enforcement and administration of the ordinance due to specific and varied circumstances.
Ed Thon-Vice Chairman
Beverly Yanca-Secretary Lynn Kauer-Alternate
The Zoning Board of Appeals is seeking alternate members. To apply, send resumes to:
5851 Mackinaw Road
Saginaw, MI 48604
Meeting Minutes for the ZBA: