(A)   Board of Zoning Appeals. The Board of Zoning Appeals, in accordance with Indiana Code 36-7-4-900 et seq., as amended, is a legal body based on state statutes. The Board is composed of a group of citizen members established for the purpose of hearing and deciding appeals from the order of the administrative official in the enforcement of the Zoning Code. The Board is not a legislative body, but, rather performs a judicial function. It has no authority to take any action which would amend or change the Zoning Code. The Board has been delegated the authority, however, to grant relief to administrative interpretations, requests for Special Exceptions, and to authorize certain types of Variances and Appeals.
   The Board of Zoning Appeals acts as an interpreter of the Zoning Code in cases of disagreement between citizens and the Building Commissioner, or a designated official who represents the Plan Commission and the governing body. The exceptions and variances the Board can approve are limited by applicable state statutes, cited above.
   At the first meeting of each year, the Board shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from among its members, and it may appoint and fix the compensation of a Secretary and such employees as are necessary for the discharge of its duties, all in conformity to and compliance with salaries and compensation theretofore fixed by the Town Council.
   All meetings of the Board shall be open to the public. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, keep records of its examinations and other official motions, prepare findings of fact on denials and record the vote of each member voting upon each question.
   All minutes and records shall be filed in the office of the Board and shall be a public record. Notification of the decision of an appeal shall be at public hearing at which final action was taken.
   (B)   Power and Duties. The specific powers and duties of the Board of Zoning Appeals are stipulated in the state statutes as follows:
      1.   Hear and determine appeals from and review any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official or board charged with the enforcement of any ordinance or regulation adopted pursuant to zoning regulations.
      2.   Permit and authorize exceptions to the District Regulations only in the classes of cases, or in particular situations, as specified in this Chapter.
      3.   Hear and decide Special Exceptions to the terms of the Chapter upon which the Board is required to act under the Chapter.
      4.   Authorize, upon appeal in specific cases such Variance from the terms of the Chapter as will not be contrary to the public interest, where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of the Chapter will result in unnecessary hardship, and so that the spirit of the Chapter shall be observed and substantial justice done.
   The Board of Zoning Appeals, in exercising the powers given it may affirm or change, in whole or in part, any decision or order which is brought before the Board. In exercising this power, the Board will, therefore, have all the powers of the Officer or Board from whom the appeal is taken.
   (C)   Functions of the Board. The Board of Zoning Appeals is a quasi-judicial body charged with carrying out specific functions. The Board must uphold the meaning and spirit of the Chapter as enacted by the Town Council, even though it may disagree with the provisions of the Chapter. If certain provisions consistently lead to injustice or hardship, the Board should recommend to the Plan Commission that the Chapter be amended.
   The powers and duties of the Board, as previously enumerated, are set forth in the enabling legislation. In the Town of Goodland, the Board's functions fall under three major headings:
      1.   Appeal from an administrative decision
      2.   The granting of Special Exceptions
      3.   Granting of variances
   (D)   Appeals from Administrative Decision. The Board acts in the capacity of a court of law when it hears Appeals from an Administrative Decision (IC 36-7-4-918). Hearings are held when the administrative agent is alleged with misinterpreting the meaning of the Chapter or misapplying its versions in a particular case. The Board must be guided by the letter and intent of the Chapter when exercising the power of hearing appeals. Though the decisions of the Board are ordinarily taken as final, they can be reversed on appeal to the courts.
   (E)   Granting Special Exceptions. There are often Special Exceptions which must be made in a Zoning district. This need arises when certain uses which are necessary and desirable in some types of districts are allowed, but which may be detrimental to the area if proper safeguards are not taken. The usual method of handling such uses is to provide that they be permitted in the District only when they comply with conditions that the Board may impose for the protection of the surrounding conditions and public interest. Careful consideration should be exercised by the Board in granting Special Exceptions to ensure that adequate protection is given to adjacent properties, and that the use does not create a nuisance to the surrounding area. The staff, if any, can aid in technical recommendations offering additional help on these matters.
   (F)   Granting Variances. A Zoning Code would become unduly complicated if every conceivable situation were written into it. The major reason for the creation of the Board of Zoning Appeals is to take care of unusual situations. The ordinary workings of the Chapter may produce hardship cases that would otherwise have to go to court for relief. The Board, with its power to grant Variances, can often settle such cases.
   (G)   BZA Special Exception and Variance Appeals Procedures.
      1.   Upon receipt of the application for a conditional use permit, the Board shall hold a public hearing, assure public notice in newspapers, and assure written notice to all parties in interest.
      2.   The Board of Zoning Appeals shall hold the public hearing within forty-five (45) days after the receipt of an application for an appeal or variance from the Building Commissioner or an applicant. However, the public hearing shall not be held sooner than fifteen (15) days after application receipt.
      3.   Before holding the public hearing, notice of such hearing shall be given in one or more newspapers of general circulation of the Town at least fifteen (15) days before the date of said hearing. The notice shall set forth the time and place of the public hearing, and the nature of the proposed appeal or variance. The applicant shall assume the responsibility and cost of properly noticing and advertising the public hearing.
   Within thirty-five (35) days after the public hearing, the Board of Zoning Appeals shall either approve, approve with supplementary conditions or disapprove the request for appeal or variance in writing. If the application is approved or approved with modifications, the Board shall direct the Building Commissioner to issue a special exception permit listing the specific conditions specified by the Board for approval. If the application is disapproved by the Board the applicant may seek relief through the Circuit Court.