Article 24. Board of Adjustment

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Section 24.1. CONFIRMATION OF THE BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT.

The members of the Board of Adjustment are hereby confirmed to continue their appointed terms of office. Members of the Board of Adjustment shall be appointed by the City Council for a term of five (5) years. Members of the Board of Adjustment may be removed from office by the City Council for cause upon written notice and after a public hearing. Absence by any member for three

(3) consecutive meetings without prior excuse from the Board chairperson shall be deemed as sufficient cause for removal. Vacancies shall be filled by the City Council for the unexpired term of the resigning, removed or vacated Board seat.

 

Section 24.2. PROCEEDINGS OF THE BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT.

The Board of Adjustment shall, subject to the approval of the City Council, adopt rules necessary to the conduct of its affairs and in keeping with the provisions of this ordinance. The Board shall consist of five (5) members, subject to the approval of the City Council. The Board shall elect its own chairperson and vice-chairperson. The chairperson, or in the chairperson’s absence the vice or acting chairperson, may administer oaths and compel attendance of witnesses. Meetings shall be held at the call of the chairperson and at such other times as the Board may determine. All meetings shall be open to the public. There shall be a fixed meeting place and all meetings shall be open to the public in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 28A, Code of Iowa. The Board shall give advanced notice of the time and place of each meeting, by providing reasonable notice to the interested parties and the public. The Zoning Administrator may be an ex-officio member and act as secretary for the Board of Adjustment. The Board of Adjustment shall keep minutes of its proceedings showing the vote of each member upon each question, or if absent or failing to vote indicating such fact, and shall keep records of its examination and other official actions, all of which shall be a public record and be immediately filed in the office of the Zoning Administrator. The presence of a majority of the whole Board, or three (3) members, shall constitute a quorum, even in the instance of absentee members or during conflicts of interest.

 

Section 24.3. HEARING, APPEALS AND NOTICE.

Appeals to the Board of Adjustment concerning interpretation or administration of these ordinances by the Zoning Administrator may be taken by any person aggrieved or by any public officer, board, bureau, corporation or others affected by a decision of the Zoning Administrator. Such appeals should be taken within 30 days by filing with the Zoning Administrator and with the City Clerk a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof. The Zoning Administrator shall forthwith transmit to the Board of Adjustment all papers constituting the record from which the action appealed was taken. A concurring vote of at least three (3) members of the Board shall be

necessary to approve, modify or reverse any decision or action of the Zoning Administrator, even in the instance of absentee members or in conflicts of interest. The Board of Adjustment shall fix a reasonable time (typically no more than 30 days) to conduct a hearing of appeal, give public notices thereof, as well as due notice to the parties of interest, and render a decision on the appeal or application. At the hearing any party may appear in person or by agent or attorney. The Board of Adjustment shall make written findings of fact and conclusions on all issues presented in any adjudicatory proceeding. A fee to be determined by resolution of the City Council shall be paid to the Zoning Administrator at the time the notice of appeal is filed.

 

Section 24.4. STAY OF PROCEEDINGS.

An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the action which was appealed, unless the Zoning Administrator from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the Board of Adjustment, after the notice of appeal is filed, that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would cause imminent threat to life or property. In such case, proceedings shall not be stayed other than by a restraining order which may be granted by the Board of Adjustment or by a court of record on the application, on notice to the Zoning Administrator from whom the appeal is taken and on due cause shown.

 

Section 24.5. POWERS AND DUTIES.

The Board of Adjustment shall have the following powers and duties:

Administrative Review: To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged that there is error in any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by the Zoning Administrator in the enforcement of this ordinance.

Conditional Uses: To hear and decide only such exceptions as the Board of Adjustment is specifically authorized to pass on by the terms of this ordinance, and as provided for in accordance with Article 26, Conditional Uses.

Variances: To authorize upon appeal in specific cases such variances from the terms of this ordinance as will not be contrary to the public interest where, owing to the special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship, and as provided for in accordance with Article 25, Variances.

Interpret the Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map: Where certain sections of the zoning ordinance may be vague, unclear or in conflict with other section of the zoning ordinance or other ordinances of the city; or where the street or lot layout of the city varies from the street and lot lines shown on the zoning map, the Board shall interpret the ordinance and zoning map in such a way as to carry out the intent and purpose of the ordinance.

Other such Powers and Duties as granted, including but not limited to: Permitting a nonconforming use of a building to be changed to another nonconforming use of a similar or more restricted classification; and to extend the time limits of zoning permits, variances, conditional uses or other permits issued where no construction work has commenced within one (1) year.

 

Section 24.6. DECISIONS OF THE BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT.

In exercising the above mentioned powers, the Board of Adjustment may, so long as such action is in conformity with the terms of this ordinance and Chapter 414, Code of Iowa, reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify, order requirements, decision, or determination as ought to be made and to that end shall have powers of the Zoning Administrator from whom the appeal is taken. The concurring vote of three (3) members of the whole Board, even upon instances of absentee members or during conflicts of interest, shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of the Zoning Administrator, or to decide in favor of the applicant on any matter upon which it is required to pass under this ordinance, or to affect any variation in application of this ordinance.

The action of the Board shall not become effective until it has a written decision describing such action, the vote of each member participating therein and the reasons for such action, specifying the manner in which the applicant either satisfied or failed to satisfy each of the applicable standards, conditions or elements set forth in this Article. Decisions shall be filed promptly following the Board’s action and shall be open to public inspection. Every variation and exception granted or denied by the Board shall be supported by a written testimony or evidence submitted in connection therewith.

Any person or persons, or any taxpayer, department, Board or bureau of the community or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by any decision of the Board may present to a court of record a petition for writ of certiorari, duly verified, setting forth that such decision is illegal, in whole or in part, specifying the grounds of illegality. The petition shall be presented to the court within 30 days after the filing of the decision in the office of the Board. All decisions of the Board, except decisions granting use variances or a variance from any separation requirement shall be final immediately upon filing. Upon petition from the applicant, a decision granting or denying a variance may be referred to the City Council for review pursuant to Chapter 414.7, Code of Iowa. The Council shall review such decision within 30 days after the decision is filed.

After such review, the Council may remand the decision to the Board for further study. If the council does not act to review the decision within 30 days after it is filed, the decision shall become effective on the 31st day. If the City Council declines to remand a decision, that decision shall become final on the date of the Council’s action. If the City Council remands a decision to the Board of Adjustment for further review, the Board’s decision is final and can only be appealed to District Court.

 

Section 24.7. APPEALS FROM THE BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT.

Any person or persons, or any taxpayer, department, Board or bureau of the community aggrieved by any decision of the Board of Adjustment may seek review of such decision of the Board of Adjustment by a court of record in the manner provided by the laws of the State of Iowa and particularly by Chapter 414, Code of Iowa.

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