I would like to know how other jurisdictions address variances to the subdivision regulations during the public meeting for approval or denial of a subdivsion.
At the public meeting (for minor subdivisions) or public hearing (major subdivisions), staff presents the subdivsion and variance and people are allowed to comment.
It is our policy for staff not to address the merits of the variance. It is a political thing.
It has long been our policy - at the advice of legal counsel - that the governing body at decision time, first address whether to approve or deny the variance. We've done it this way because if the variance is denied, then the conditions of approval often have to be changed to require the applicant(s) to follow the regulation they sought a variance from. Also, how can the governing body vote to approve a subdivision that is in violation of the subdivision regulations?
After they have ruled on the variance, then they move on to consider the subdivision approval or denial.
One of our commissioners wants to approve or deny the subdivision first, then move on a decision to approve or deny the variance. It is a little complicated. It is a pissing match between him and the other two commissioners on just about everything. I would like to know how other jurisdictions do it, so the next time I am presenting I have knowledge of how others do it. I am tired of being the punching bag who gets railed on by the lone commissioner in a public setting because he doesn't like the way we've always done business.
What is your procedure for approval or denial of variances to subdivision regulations? Before subdivision approval or denial? After? Some other method?