Chapter 17.12
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS

Sections:

17.12.010    Established.

17.12.020    Meetings.

17.12.030    Appeals.

17.12.040    Powers.

17.12.050    Decision-making procedures.

17.12.060    Further appeal.

17.12.070    Relationship to plan commission.

17.12.010 Established.

There shall be a board of zoning appeals consisting of five members appointed by the mayor, subject to confirmation by the council, for terms of three years, except that of these first appointed, one shall serve for one year, two for two years, and two for three years. The members of the board shall serve without compensation and shall be removable by the mayor for cause upon written charges and after public hearing. The mayor shall designate one of the members chairman. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired terms of members whose terms become vacant. The mayor may appoint, for a term of three years, an alternate member of such board, in addition to the five members above provided for, who shall act, with full power, only when a member of the board refuses to vote because of interest or is absent. The above provisions with regard to removal and the filling of vacancies shall apply to such alternate. (Prior code § 17.41(1))

17.12.020 Meetings.

The board shall adopt rules governing its procedure consistent with the terms of this chapter. Meetings of the board shall be held at the call of the chairman and at such other times as the board may determine. Such chairman or, in his absence, the acting chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. All meetings of the board shall be open to the public. The board shall keep minutes of its proceedings showing the vote of each member upon each question or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed in the office of the board and shall be a public record. (Prior code § 17.41(2))

17.12.030 Appeals.

A.    How Filed. Appeals to the board may be taken by any person aggrieved or by an officer, department, board or bureau of the city affected by any decision of the administrative officer in connection with this chapter. Such appeals shall be taken within a reasonable time, as provided by the rules of the board, by filing with the officer from whom the appeal is taken and with the board a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof. The officer from whom the appeal is taken shall forthwith transmit to the board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken. The appellant shall pay to the city treasurer the fee specified in Section 3.28.010(G) at the time of filing his appeal.

B.    Stay. An appeal shall stay all legal proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from unless the officer from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the board after the notice of appeal shall have been filed with him that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would, in his opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property. In such cases, proceedings shall not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order which may be granted by the board or by a court of record on application, on notice to the officer from whom the appeal is taken and on due cause shown.

C.    Hearing. The board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the appeal or other matter referred to it and shall give the following notices of hearing:

1.    Public notice by publication and posting as provided in the board’s rules;

2.    Notice by mail to the parties in interest;

3.    Notice by mail to the owners of property abutting the property involved in the appeal or other matter before the board. This last notice shall be mailed to the owners’ addresses as shown in the records of the city assessor at least seven days prior to the hearing.

The board shall decide the matter within a reasonable time. At the hearing any person may appear in person or by agent or by attorney. (Ord 1919-03 § 3 (part), 2003; prior code § 17.41(3))

17.12.040 Powers.

The board of zoning appeals shall have the following powers:

A.    To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of Chapter 8.08 and Title 15 of the Municipal Code;

B.    To hear and decide special exceptions to the terms of this chapter upon which such board is required to pass under this title;

C.    To authorize, upon appeal, in specific cases, such variances from the terms of this title as will not be contrary to the public interest where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this title will result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship so that the spirit of this title shall be observed, public safety and welfare secured and substantial justice done. Variances must not permit a lower degree of flood protection than a point two feet above the regional flood elevation for the particular area or be contrary to Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 116 or other applicable state flood plain regulations. (Ord. 1617 § 1, 1997; prior code § 17.41(4)(a))

17.12.050 Decision-making procedures.

A.    When considering an area variance, the board shall use the following standard to determine if unnecessary hardship or practical difficulty exists: whether compliance with the strict letter of the restrictions that govern setbacks, frontage, height, bulk, density or other such matters would unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property for a permitted purpose or would render conformity with such restrictions unnecessarily burdensome.

B.    When considering a use variance, the board shall use the following standard to determine if unnecessary hardship or practical difficulty exists: whether compliance with the strict letter of the use restrictions will mean that no reasonable or feasible use of the property can be made.

C.    In making its determination, the board may impose such requirements and conditions with respect to location, construction, maintenance and operation, in addition to any which may be stipulated in this title, as the board may deem necessary for the protection of adjacent properties and the public interest and welfare.

D.    Enforcement of Decision. In exercising the abovementioned powers, such board may, in conformity with the provisions of this title, reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify the order, requirements, decision or determination appealed from, and may make such order, requirement, decision or determination as ought to be made and, to that end, shall have all the powers of the officer from whom the appeal is taken, and may issue or direct the issue of a permit; provided, that no such action shall have the effect of permitting in any district a use prohibited in that district or of rezoning or of amending the zoning code.

E.    Required Vote. A quorum shall be four members of the board. The vote of three members of the board shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of any such administrative official or to decide in favor of the applicant on any matter upon which it is required to pass under this title or to effect any variation therefrom. The grounds of every such determination shall be stated by the moving member on the audio-taped record. (Ord. 2044-06 § 1, 2006: Ord. 1994-04 § 1, 2004: prior code § 17.41(4)(b)-(e))

17.12.060 Further appeal.

Any person or persons, aggrieved by any decision of the board or any taxpayer or any officer, department, board or bureau of the city, may appeal from a decision of the board within thirty (30) days after the filing of the decision in the office of the board in the manner provided in Section 62.23(7)(e), Wisconsin Statutes. (Prior code § 17.41(4)(f))

17.12.070 Relationship to plan commission.

Whenever the provisions of this title shall require that any person obtain both the approval of the plan commission in connection with any phase of the use of the land and a variance or exception from the board, the person shall first apply to and receive the required approval of the plan commission before making application to the board, provided, wherever the required approval of the plan commission and the requested variance are, in the opinion of the mayor and the clerk, so closely interrelated as to make a joint hearing by the plan commission and the board of zoning appeals desirable, the mayor and the clerk may schedule such a joint hearing at a time which is convenient to the members of both governing bodies. (Prior code § 17.41(4)(g))