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Board of Adjustments
The Zoning Administrator acts as advisor to the Board of Adjustment.
The Board of Adjustment is a quasi–judicial board made up of five citizens appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The majority reside in the unincorporated areas of the county and serve five year terms.
The Board hears and makes the final decision of Appeals, which are questions between an applicant and the Zoning Administrator as to the proper interpretation of the zoning ordinance.
They also decide on applications for Special Exceptions as specifically provided in the Zoning Ordinance. The Board may authorize Variances in the application
of the Ordinance where there are unusual circumstances that would otherwise result in unnecessary hardship (physical, not economic) to a particular parcel of land if the Ordinance is literally enforced, and the variance would not be contrary to the public interest.
Current Board of Adjustment Members:
Forms and complete requirements for applications to the Board of Adjustment are available in the office of the Zoning Administrator.
Any person, including any officer or agency of Harrison County, aggrieved by a final administrative determination on a development permit or administrative development approval by the Administrator may appeal such final determination to the Board of Adjustment.
A written appeal must be filed with the Administrator within 30 working days after the date of the final decision. The appeal shall contain a written statement of the reasons for which the appellant claims the final decision is erroneous.
The Board of Adjustment shall fix a reasonable time for hearing of appeal, give public notice thereof as well as due notice to the parties in interest, including the owners of property within 500 feet of the property on which the appeal has been filed, and decide the same within a reasonable time. At the hearing any party may appear in person or by agent or attorney. A fee of $100.00 should be paid to the Administrator at the time of the notice of appeal is filed.
Special Exceptions are uses that are generally compatible with the permitted land uses in a given zoning district, but which require individual review of their location, design and configuration and the imposition of conditions in order to ensure the appropriateness of the use at a particular location within a given zoning district. Special Exception uses are listed in the district regulations for each zoning district.
A special exception shall not be granted by the Board of Adjustment unless and until:
A written application for a special exception is submitted indicating the section of this ordinance under which the special exception is sought and stating grounds on which it is requested. Notice shall be given at least 15 days in advance of the public hearing by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the County. The public hearing shall be held. Any party may appear in person, or by agent or attorney. In reviewing an application for special exception, the Board of Adjustment shall consider the most appropriate used
of the land; the conservation and stabilization of property values; adequate open spaces for light & air; concentration of population; congestion of public streets;
the promotion of the public safety, morals, health, convenience and comfort; and the general welfare of the persons residing or working in the general area.
The Board of Adjustment shall make a finding that it is empowered under the section of this ordinance described in the application to grant the special exception, and that the granting of the special exception will not adversely affect the public interest. In making its finding, the Board of Adjustment shall, where applicable, duly consider the following:
Ingress and egress to property with particular reference to automotive and pedestrian safety and convenience, traffic flow and control, and access in case of fire or catastrophe; Off–street parking, loading and service areas where required; Economic, noise, dust, heat, glare, or odor effects of the special exception on surrounding properties; Utilities, with reference to locations, availability, adequacy and compatibility; Screens and buffers with reference to type, dimensions, character and adequacy; General compatibility with surrounding properties; Required yards and other open spaces.
A variance is a relaxation of the terms of the zoning ordinance where such variance will not be contrary to the public interest and where, owing to conditions peculiar to the property, and not the result of the actions of the applicant, a literal enforcement of the ordinance would result in unnecessary and undue hardship. Variances cannot be approved because of economic conditions, such as that it would cost more to build in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.
In order to grant a variance, it must be found that the property cannot be used for any reasonable purpose within its current zoning district, unless a variance is granted. The cost of removal of an illegally built structure does not constitute unnecessary hardship–it should not have been built in the first place. A variance also cannot be used to create a new non-conforming lot.
A variance from the terms of this ordinance shall not be granted by the Board of Adjustment unless and until:
A written application for a variance is submitted demonstrating:
That special conditions and circumstances exist which are particular to the land, structure, building involved and which are not applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district;
That literal interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the terms of this ordinance;
That the special conditions and circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant; That granting the variance requested will not confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this ordinance to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district. No nonconforming use of neighboring lands, structures, or buildings in other districts shall be considered grounds for issuance of a variance. Notice shall be given at least 15 days in advance of the public hearing by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the County. The public hearing shall be held. Any party may appear in person, by agent or attorney.
The Board of Adjustment shall make findings that the requirements of Section (a) above have been met by the applicant for a variance.
The Board of Adjustment shall further make a finding that the reasons set forth in the application justify the granting of the variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure. The Board of Adjustment shall further make a finding that the granting of the variance will be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this ordinance, and will not be injurious to the neighborhood, or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare.