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Zoning Minor staff level adjustments

Tobinn

Cyburbian
Messages
318
Points
11
Anyone have or know of any decent Code language allowing planning staff to make minor administrative development parameter adjustments. For example, a site comes in and the required side setback is five feet and for some reason or another (let's assume a legitimate reason) they need a slight reduction, say to four feet. Right now our Code requires some level of formal application and review (whether just through the DRC or through a public hearing) for any deviations. We're looking at allowing some level of staff level discretion in allowing minor deviations. Could be for setbacks, height, parking, lot area/width. Thanks in advance!
 

dw914er

Cyburbian
Messages
1,425
Points
18
We have a Minor Variance application that allows for small deviations to be approved by staff. It is still a formal application and requires meeting the findings, but separates out the smaller types of requests from a public hearing requirement.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,643
Points
51
My last job had an administrative adjustment that allowed the zoning admin to adjust any yard area number by 10%. When you think about it, it's not much. We also had a hearing adjustment that allowed the Board of Adjustment, who handled our variances, to approve up to 30% without the usual variance requirements.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,694
Points
54
We have flexibility built into portions of the code for the ministerial reviews and for existing nonconforming sites.

We have the following for administrative site plan approval for ministerial review of "Minor Developments":

(b) The following Minor Developments may be finally approved by the Planning Director in lieu of action by the Planning Commission. Any improvement which is not in compliance with this Chapter or is determined by the Planning Director to be beyond the scope of a minor building development will be forwarded to the Planning Commission for review.
(1) New construction of one single-family dwelling that will not require off-site construction of any new street or road; or
(2) Renovations, alterations, or expansions to an existing building or site up to 5,000 square feet for land uses other than single- family dwellings and 10,000 square feet for I-1 zoned properties; or
(3) Expansion of an existing parking lot up to thirty percent (30%) of existing spaces; or
(4) Facade alterations which do not alter the existing architectural character.


And the following for expansions of nonconforming buildings/structures:

(2) Enlargement.
A. A nonconforming structure may be expanded provided the proposed expansion does not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the existing footprint and:
1. The expansion does not increase the degree of non-conformity; and,
2. The extension of a structure which is nonconforming due to side yard setback shall be allowed so long as the extension is not closer to the side property line and the extension does not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the existing structure length, including porches and architectural features but excluding decks. Existing footprint and structure length shall mean the dimensions as they existed upon the effective date of this provision.
B. A nonconforming structure may otherwise be enlarged, increased, or extended beyond the area it occupied as of the effective date of this provision, provided the Board of Zoning Appeals, pursuant to the procedure set forth in Section 1107.08 of this Zoning Ordinance, approves such enlargement, increase, or extension under the following conditions:
1. The enlargement will not interfere with the operation of conforming uses in the district or with circulation on adjacent public streets; and
2. The enlarged structure will cause no greater adverse impacts on surrounding properties than did the original conforming structure.


We don't have a process for staff approval of minor variances, but Evanston, IL has a pretty good code/process for such - Minor zoning variation process
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,927
Points
40
My site plan regs have similar language to @mendelman ... and also similarly, NH does not allow for a staff process for zoning ordinance deviations.

Untitled.jpg
 

Tobinn

Cyburbian
Messages
318
Points
11
We have a Minor Variance application that allows for small deviations to be approved by staff. It is still a formal application and requires meeting the findings, but separates out the smaller types of requests from a public hearing requirement.
We have a similar process. To provide a bit more context I submit the following:

Generally, we have three levels of review:
Minimum Standard = easy peasey; building permit

Flexible Standard = some level of flexibility requested either for setbacks, height, parking, use, lot area, lot width; the level of flexibility is specified in the Code; one month, application required; reviewed by the Development Review Committee (representatives from various City Department); administrative in nature; no public hearing but we do send out notices to property owners within 200 feet.

Flexible= additional flexibility and uses; all specified in the Code, goes to DRC and the Community Development Board; public hearing (quasi-judicial); full dog and pony show; about 2.5 months.

Apparently Flexible Standard (one month; administrative review only) is still too onerous (and sometimes, I admit, it might be if all you need is a six-inch or one foot setback deviation). So it's been suggested that perhaps something in between Minimum and Flexible Standard is in order to allow staff to make minor flexibility decisions on the fly.
 

Tobinn

Cyburbian
Messages
318
Points
11
My last job had an administrative adjustment that allowed the zoning admin to adjust any yard area number by 10%. When you think about it, it's not much. We also had a hearing adjustment that allowed the Board of Adjustment, who handled our variances, to approve up to 30% without the usual variance requirements.
Was that process codified? If so, can you send a link?
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,694
Points
54
Then...there is the secret 'ish' administrative determination/interpretation SOP that seasoned development review professionals 'discover' after a couple years in the discipline.

:smirk:
 
Last edited:

dw914er

Cyburbian
Messages
1,425
Points
18
Apparently Flexible Standard (one month; administrative review only) is still too onerous (and sometimes, I admit, it might be if all you need is a six-inch or one foot setback deviation). So it's been suggested that perhaps something in between Minimum and Flexible Standard is in order to allow staff to make minor flexibility decisions on the fly.
What are the most common type of requests you are getting that are requiring the deviation?
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,643
Points
51
Did some digging through the old work website. I make no claims to of greatness to this jurisdictions code. I tried so many times to get them to fix the 100's (I think it was 194) mistakes in the code and just couldn't get them to do it, but this section worked for me.

13A-13.04.02 EXCEPTIONS The zoning administrator may grant up to a ten percent exception and the board of zoning appeals may grant up to a 30 percent exception to land use code regulations specified in ARTICLE 13A-3 AG AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT, ARTICLE 13A-4 RA RESIDENTIAL-AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT, and ARTICLE 13A-5 RS SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT, 13A-3.04 - BUILDING HEIGHT REGULATIONS, 13A-4.04 - BUILDING HEIGHT REGULATIONS, and 13A-5.04 - BUILDING HEIGHT REGULATIONS; 13A-3.05 - LOT AREA, LOT WIDTH AND YARD REQUIREMENTS, 13A-4.05 - LOT AREA, LOT WIDTH, AND YARD REQUIREMENTS, and 13A-5.06 - LOT AREA, LOT WIDTH, AND YARD REQUIREMENTS; 13A-5.05 -DETACHED ACCESSORY BUILDINGS; 13A-5.07 - MAXIMUM LOT COVERAGE; and 13A-5.08 - CORNER LOTS.

a. ZONING ADMINISTRATOR EXCEPTION Public notification shall not be deemed necessary in the granting of an exception that is within ten percent of the actual requirement, e.g. if the setback requirement is 100 feet and the applicant is proposing a setback of 90 feet, the zoning administrator may determine whether the request meets the findings without holding a public hearing.

b. BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS EXCEPTION CODE OF ORDINANCES Saline County, KS RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS Page | 89 CHAPTER 13 Part A: Zoning Resolution Public notification shall be deemed necessary in the granting of an exception that is more than ten percent but no more than 30 percent of the actual requirement; e.g., if the setback requirement is 100 feet and the applicant is proposing a setback of 75 feet, the board of zoning appeals shall determine whether the request meets the findings at a public hearing. Notification of the public hearing shall be the same as the notification for an appeal as stipulated in 13A-13.04.01 POWER AND JURISDICTION (D). No request for an exception that is greater than 30 percent shall be considered.

If you need more here's the place: https://www.saline.org/Portals/0/Co...odes/Section13A.pdf?ver=2018-08-28-133017-790
 
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