Zoning Board of Appeals

Zoning Board (ZBA)

The Zoning Board of Appeals is a quasi-judicial board, responsible for hearing appeals from persons previously denied building permits.  The standards for review of such matters depend upon the type of variance an applicant may be seeking.  The ZBA has the authority to issue variances to relieve certain zoning restrictions.  The Zoning Board of Appeals guides the future growth of the Village in accordance with a general plan which is developed to ensure the most beneficial and coherent relationships among residential, nonresidential and public areas.Zoning regulations are set in place to guide the character, social, and economic stability of the Village.

The board of appeals has jurisdiction to hear and decide the following:
1. Appeals: Applications brought by aggrieved persons from interpretations of the village code made by the building inspector or from other determinations made by him.
2. Interpretations: Applications brought directly to the board of appeals by any local agency for interpretations of provisions of the village code.
3. Variances: Applications brought by persons for variances from the strict application of provisions of the village code.
4. Special permits: Applications brought by persons for special permits.

Members are appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the Village Board to five years terms.

The ZBA schedules meetings by request of  the Code Enforcement Officer and are held the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month.

What is a Variance?

A variance is a request to deviate from current zoning requirements. If granted, it permits the owner to use his land in a way that is ordinarily not permitted by the zoning ordinance. It is not a change in the zoning law but a waiver of a certain requirement of the zoning ordinance. There are two types of Variances:

1) Definitions – As used in this section:

(a) “Use Variance” shall mean the authorization by the Zoning Board of Appeals for the use of land for a purpose which is otherwise not allowed or is prohibited by the applicable zoning regulations.
(b) “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.

2) Orders, requirements, decisions, interpretations, determinations – The Board of Appeals may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify the order, requirement, decision, interpretation or determination appealed from and shall make such order, requirement, decision, interpretation or determination as in its opinion ought to have been made in the matter by the administrative official charged with the enforcement of such ordinance or local law and to that end shall have all the powers of the administrative official from whose order, requirement, decision, interpretation or determination the appeal is taken.

3) Use Variance

(a) The Board of Appeals, on appeal from the decision or determination of the administrative official charged with the enforcement of such ordinance or local law, shall have the power to grant use variances as defined herein.

(b) No such use variance shall be granted by a Board of Appeals without a showing by the applicant that applicable zoning regulations and restrictions have caused unnecessary hardship. In order to prove such unnecessary hardship, the applicant shall demonstrate to the Board of Appeals that for each and every permitted use under the zoning regulations for the particular district where the property is located:

(i) The applicant cannot realize a reasonable return, provided that lack of return is substantial as demonstrated by competent financial evidence;
(ii) The alleged hardship relating to the property in question is unique and does not apply to a substantial portion of the district or neighborhood.
(iii) The requested use variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood; and
(iv) The alleged hardship has not been self-created.

(c) The Board of Appeals, in the granting of use variances, shall grant the minimum variance that it shall deem necessary and adequate to address the unnecessary hardship proven by the applicant, and at the same time preserve and protect the character of the neighborhood and the health, safety and welfare of the community.

4) Area Variance
(a) The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the power, upon an appeal from a decision or determination of the administrative official charged with the enforcement of such ordinance or local law, to grant area variances as defined herein.
(b) In making its determination, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall take into consideration the benefit to the applicant if the variance is granted as weighed against the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood or community by such grant. In making such determination the Board shall also consider:

(i) Whether an undesirable change will be produced in the character of the neighborhood or a detriment to nearby properties will be created by the granting of the area variance;
(ii) Whether the benefit sought by the applicant can be achieved by some method feasible for the applicant to pursue other than an area variance;
(iii) Whether the requested area variance is substantial;
(iv) Whether the proposed variance will have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district; and
(v) Whether the alleged difficulty was self-created, which consideration shall be relevant to the decision of the Board of Appeals, but shall not necessarily preclude the granting of the area variance.

(c ) The Board of Appeals, in the granting of area variances, shall grant the minimum variance that it shall deem necessary and adequate and at the same time preserve and protect the character of the neighborhood and the health, safety and welfare of the community
5) Imposition of conditions – The Board of Appeals shall, in the granting of both use variances and area variances, have the authority to impose such reasonable conditions and restrictions as are directly related to and incidental to the proposed use of the property. Such conditions shall be consistent with the spirit and the intent of the zoning ordinance or local law, and shall be imposed for the purpose of minimizing any adverse impact such variance may have on the neighborhood or community.

Planning and Enforcement

The ZBA’s mission is to ensure that buildings or structures are safe and to enforce the Comprehensive Plan to achieve the Village’s future vision and to ensure quality development while protecting the health, safety, and welfare of all residents through enforcement of Village Codes and Ordinances and Architectural and Property Maintenance Standards.

Depending on the number of applications and hearings, the Village Sodus Point Zoning Board meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month at the Village of Sodus Point meeting room. (see Notices for Current meeting information)