ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is an important five-member Board appointed by the Town Board to serve a five-year period, with one member expiring each year. One of the most significant functions of the ZBA is to review permit applications that have been denied by the Zoning Enforcement Officer (ZEO). When an individual's permit is denied, they have the opportunity to apply for an Area Variance, Use Variance, or an Interpretation to challenge the ZEO's decision. The ZBA reviews these appeals and has the authority to grant variances or interpretations as a means to address the grievances and provide resolution in the zoning and permitting process. Furthermore, the ZBA may be asked to provide recommendations by the Town Board or Planning Board regarding certain issues. With its important role in the Town, the ZBA works to ensure that all zoning laws are in compliance and make sound decisions while considering the best interest of the community.
The ZBA meets as needed, see Town Calendar, at the Municipal Office Building, located at 8650 LeRay Street, Evans Mills, NY.
ZBA meetings are open to the public. When a Public Hearing is held in regard to a certain project or application, persons attending are offered the opportunity to speak regarding the issue before the Board.
Legal notices, including Special Meeting notices, are published in the Watertown Daily Times newspaper.
Why might you consider an appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals?
A person may want to appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for two basic reasons.
He or she may disagree with a decision the Zoning Enforcement Officer has made or an action he or she has taken.
The appealing party may believe that an exception (variance) to the zoning laws should be made for his or her property.
All zoning laws are complex enough that, from time to time, there will be trouble interpreting them. The ZBA may interpret the zoning law for an applicant only where there is an appeal from a decision of the ZEO, as in the case of variances. If a ZEO denies a permit on the basis of his interpretation of the zoning law, and the applicant disagrees, the applicant may appeal to the ZBA for a “second opinion,” or interpretation, of a particular section of the law. Likewise, a neighbor who disagrees with the issuance of a permit may appeal for an interpretation of the law.
“Area Variance’ shall mean the authorization by the Zoning Board of Appeals for the use of land in a manner which is not allowed by the dimensional or physical requirements of the applicable Zoning Regulations.”
". . . one which permits a use of land which is proscribed by the zoning regulations. Thus, a variance which permits a commercial use in a residential district, which permits a multiple dwelling in a district limited to single-family homes, or which permits an industrial use in a district limited to commercial uses, is a Use variance."