Applications now accepted for Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals members

What is the Planning Commission and what do they do?

The Planning Commission provides community leadership on local planning and development policy.  The Planning Commission is an appointed body that advises the legislative body on planning matters. The Planning Commission has the responsibility to prepare a master plan, which influences the regulations and standards in the zoning ordinance and any future changes to it.

The Planning Commission is also the primary body responsible for approval of Site Plans. Commissioners are responsible to ensure that new development fits the community’s vision for a given site, with help from professional staff or consultants. Planning Commissions also have responsibility for Special Use approvals. In some communities, they have the sole power to approve or deny Special Use applications, while in others they recommend approval or denial to the elected officials. Finally, the Planning Commission is the main forum for discussion of changes to the Zoning Ordinance text and map. Changes can be proposed by property owners, the general public, or the Planning Commission itself, but regardless, the Planning Commission must hold a public hearing before recommending any zoning changes to the community’s elected body.

What is Zoning Board of Appeals and what do they do?

The Zoning Board of Appeals is designated to hear appeals on administrative matters relating to the community Zoning Ordinance.  This can include a property owner appealing a decision he or she feels is too stringent or is inconsistent with the zoning ordinance, a property owner requesting a variance, or someone seeking clarification or interpretation of the zoning ordinance.

Members of a Zoning Board of Appeals should always keep in mind the State-defined criteria for granting a variance. Variances should only be granted when the applicant can show “practical difficulty,” meaning a unique situation on their property that functionally prevents them from complying with the Zoning Ordinance.

The Zoning Board of Appeals functions like a court and exists to make quasi-judicial zoning decisions which are subject to review by the circuit court.  The ZBA decisions are required by state law to be guided by specific criteria, and made based upon facts, not opinions.

Please submit application by December 1, 2021 for consideration. Both positions are for a three (3) year term.

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