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Thread: Adminstrative approvals of variances and conditional uses

  1. #1
    Member Zoning Gangsta's avatar
    Jun 2003
    Upper left edge

    Adminstrative approvals of variances and conditional uses

    Presently we require planning commission approval of all variances and conditional use permits. Since we are facing a budget crunch, I expect to lose staff. I want to try to offset this by streamlining our procedures. Eliminating the need for some staff reports would go a long way in this regard. I'd like to see examples of ordinances that allow for administrative approval of some variances or CUP's.

  2. #2

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    It usually isn't possible to have administrative approval of variances (check your state law), but a lot of communities allow the administrator to approve a deviation of say 5% in certain of their standards. Depending on the type of variances you are processing, that could help. If you are using time on a lot of similar variances, it is a sign that the ordinance needs to be amended. Administrative review of CUPs is fairly common: they key is to have explicit, detailed criteria.

  3. #3
    I am aware that the City of Bloomington, IN performs such administrative reviews. Feel free to contact them and discuss it further.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
    Aug 1997
    Clowns to the left, jokers to the right
    I know that Indiana state law allows a city to appoint one or more Hearing Officers, who can be staff or a member of a citizen board, or anyone really. They can be empowered to grant variances and act as the BZA. The catch is that their decisions can be appealed by any interested party to the Board of Zoning Appeals within ten days. The hearing officer has to hold a public hearing with all the same notice as a BZA meeting. The applicant has to request a hearing officer, and the hearing officer can forward any case to BZA they don't want to hear.

    It was designed to allow cities to create a way for minor variances with no opposition to be granted without a full board meeting. But if anyone objects or requests it, the BZA has to hear the case and decide the matter. After that, it's appealable to district court.

  5. #5
    Hello Rich. I'm a planning consultant who specilizes in writing development codes and zoning ordinances for cities and counties, primarily in Arizona and California. We have written several new codes and ordinances that provide for the Director's review and administrative approval of Minor Conditional Use Permits and Minor Variances. You may wish to contact the following cities in California: Murrieta, Fountain Valley, Diamond Bar, and Chico. You may also e-mail me at the following address: jwplans@lightspeed.net. Bruce

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