2009 Annual Report

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STAFF REPORT
Town Council Meeting, August 13, 2009

Zoning Board of Adjustment Annual Report (PL10-003)
Summary of recent activity and actions made by the Zoning Board of Adjustment
Speaker:  Mr. Charles McDarris, Zoning Board of Adjustment Chairperson

From:  Jeffery G. Ulma, AICP, Planning Director
Prepared by:  Debra Grannan, Senior Planner 
Approved by:  Benjamin T. Shivar, Town Manager

Executive Summary:

The role of the Zoning Board of Adjustment is to have review and decision-making responsibilities for:

  • Appeals regarding any order requirement decision or determination by an administrative official including fines and penalties
  • Variance request for building encroachments into setbacks
  •  Variance requests for the square footage limitations set for verandah and wall signs and the setback requirements for real estate signs

Background:

Members of the Board include: Robert Cassell, Robert Evans, Madrica Lowery, Charles McDarris, Catherine Heath, ETJ Representative, and Barry Shuster, Alternate.  Council liaison is Gail Adcock; Town staff includes:  Assistant Town Attorney Lisa Glover serves as legal consultant to the Board; Planning staff liaison is Debra Grannan, and Shelley Kirk serves as Board secretary.

In February 2009, an appeal to an order by the Minimum Housing Inspector requiring an apartment be repaired to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by the Minimum Housing Code was presented to the board.  This case was tabled at the initial meeting to allow the applicant time to seek legal representation.  Prior to convening the next meeting, applicant withdrew his appeal and reached a stipulation agreement through mitigation.  These encompassed the only two meetings held in 2009.  There is an average of 10 pre-application conferences held with the Planning staff each year.  Because the board is required to find an unusual physical situation for a property in order to grant a variance to a setback, and because that requirement is conveyed to applicants, the actual number of cases submitted is low.

In July 2008, Richard Ducker, Associate Professor of Public Law & Government with the UNC Chapel Hill School of Government, conducted a training workshop to ensure Board members understood the criteria necessary for granting variance requests, per NC General Statutes and other applicable laws.