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(A) Establishment. A Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is authorized in accordance with Public Act 110 of 2006, as amended, being M.C.L.A. §§ 125.3101 et seq., to carry out the responsibilities provided therein, and those delegated herein.
(B) Membership. There shall be a Zoning Board of Appeals which shall consist of the City Commission. The members shall serve without pay and act within their authority as set forth in this chapter.
(C) Powers and duties. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have all the power and duties prescribed by law and by this chapter, which are more particularly specified as follows:
(1) Hear appeals. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that there is an error in any order, requirement, permit, decision, or refusal made by the Zoning Administrator or by any other city official in administering or enforcing any provisions of this chapter. Upon appeal, the Zoning Board of Appeals may reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the order, requirement, decision, or determination, as in its opinion ought to be made in the premises, and to that end shall have all the power of the city official from whom the appeal is taken, and may direct the issuance of a permit;
(2) Interpretation. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the power to:
(a) Interpret, upon request, the provisions of this chapter in a way as to carry out the intent and purpose of the chapter;
(b) Determine the precise location of the boundary lines between zoning districts, where uncertainty exists; and
(c) Classify a use which is not specifically mentioned as part of the use regulations of any zoning district so that it conforms to a comparable permitted or prohibited use (in accordance with the purpose and intent of each district), until the time when the unclassified use is properly assigned or classified by amendatory legislation.
(3) Variances. The Board shall have the power to authorize, upon appeal, variances from the specific requirements of this chapter, such as lot area and width regulations, building height and bulk regulations, use regulations, off-street parking and loading space requirements, and the like, provided all of the conditions listed in § 153.311 can be satisfied.
(D) General organization and procedures.
(1) Rules of procedure and decision-making. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall adopt its own rules of procedure as may be necessary to conduct its meetings and carry out its function. The Board shall choose its own chairperson, and in his or her absence, an acting chairperson. The ZBA shall formulate decisions based upon the standards and other various provisions of this chapter.
(2) Meetings. Meetings shall be held at times as the Zoning Board of Appeals may determine. All meetings by the Board shall be open to the public. The Board may declare any meeting, or part of any meeting, a study meeting to pursue matters of business without comment or interruption from the public attendance. A quorum is required.
(a) Minutes shall be recorded of all proceedings which shall contain the evidence received, findings of fact, and data relevant to every case considered, together with the votes of the members and the final disposition of each case. The minutes shall be filed in the City Administration Office and shall be made available to the general public.
(b) The City Clerk shall act as Secretary to the Zoning Board of Appeals and all records of the Board’s action shall be taken and recorded under the City Clerk’s direction.
(4) Employers. The Board may employ clerical or other assistance as may be necessary, provided that it shall not at any time incur any expense beyond the amount of the appropriation made and then available for that purpose.
(5) Counsel. An attorney for the city may act as legal counsel for the ZBA and may be present at any meeting upon request.
(6) Hearings. Between 15 and 25 days from the date an appeal is filed, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall hold a hearing of the appeal. Notice of the hearing shall be published a newspaper of general circulation not less than 15 days before the date of the hearing. Notice of the hearing shall be given at least 15 days prior to the hearing to all persons to whom any real property within 300 feet of the premises in question shall be assessed; and to occupants of single- and two-family dwellings within 300 feet. Notice shall be delivered personally or by mail addressed to the respective owners and tenants at the address given in the last assessment roll. Upon the hearing, any party may appear in person, by agent, or by attorney.
(7) Decisions (voting). The final disposition of any matter by the Zoning Board of Appeals shall require the concurring vote of a majority of its members, except a two-thirds vote is required for use variances.
(E) Conditions of ZBA approval.
(1) Reasonable conditions may be required with the approval of a variance by the Zoning Board of Appeals. The conditions may include but are not limited to conditions necessary to ensure that public services and facilities affected by a proposed land use or activity will be capable of accommodating increased service and facility loads caused by the land use or activity, to protect the natural environment and conserve natural resources and energy, to ensure compatibility with adjacent uses of land, and to promote the use of land in a socially and economically desirable manner. Conditions imposed shall meet all of the following requirements:
(a) Be designed to protect natural resources, the health, safety, and welfare, and the social and economic well-being of those who will use the land use or activity under consideration, residents and landowners immediately adjacent to the proposed land use or activity, and the community as a whole;
(b) Be related to the valid exercise of the police power and purposes which are affected by the proposed use or activity; and
(c) Be necessary to meet the intent and purpose of this chapter, be related to the standards established in this chapter for the land use or activity under consideration, and be necessary to ensure compliance with those standards.
(2) The conditions imposed with respect to the approval of a special land use shall be recorded in the record of the approval action, and shall remain unchanged except upon the mutual consent of the Zoning Board of Appeals and the land owner. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall maintain a record of conditions which are changed.
(3) In the event the Zoning Board of Appeals grants a variance, the individual or his or her successor in interest shall not use the property in question such that it would exceed those rights given by this chapter or the variance, or fail to follow any conditions placed thereon by the Zoning Board of Appeals. In the event the use of the property exceeds those rights given by this chapter or the variance, or fails to follow the conditions placed upon the variance, the variance shall immediately terminate and it shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.
(F) Time limit on decision of ZBA. Any decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals on an appeal or application for a variance which has resulted in granting a zoning approval, special use permit, or variance shall be valid for a period of one year with an additional one-year extension granted by the Zoning Administrator. This is construed to be a reasonable period of time within which to acquire county permits and to implement the provisions of the variance.
(G) Final action on appeals. The decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall not be final, and any person having an interest affected by that decision shall have the right to the courts on questions of law and fact. The records of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be made available for the court’s review.
(H) Effect of appeals proceedings (stay of proceedings). An appeal shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the officer or body from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the Board of Appeals, after the notice of appeal shall have been filed with that officer or body, that by reason of facts stated in the certificate, a stay would cause immediate peril of life or property.
(1993 Code, § 154.224) (Ord. 84-1, passed 1-3-1984)