Chapter 1
Administrative Organization

6.101 Overview.

Administration of this Ordinance is vested in the following City entities:

A.    Administrative Officer (Section 6.102).

B.    Planning Commission (Section 6.103).

C.    Zoning Board of Appeals (Section 6.104).

6.102 Administrative Officer.

A.    Establishment of Administration Officer. The provisions of this ordinance shall be administered by the building official or any of his duly authorized representatives unless otherwise noted in this Ordinance (example: the planning administrator).

B.    Duties and Limitations of the Building Official.

1.    The building official shall have the power to grant zoning compliance permits and certificates of occupancy, and make inspections of buildings or premises necessary to carry out his duties in the enforcement of this ordinance.

2.    It shall be unlawful for the building official to approve any plans or issue a zoning compliance permit for any excavation or construction or use until he has inspected such plans in detail and has found them in compliance with this ordinance. To this end, the building official shall require that every application for a zoning compliance permit for excavation, construction, moving, alteration, or change in type of use or type of occupancy, shall be accompanied by a written statement and plans or plats as required by Article 6, Chapter 2.

3.    If the proposed excavation construction, moving or alteration, or use of land as set forth in the application is in conformity with the provisions of this ordinance, the building official shall issue a zoning compliance permit. If any application for such a permit is not approved, the building official shall state in writing on an appropriate denial form the cause for such disapproval.

4.    The building official may accept a preliminary application and a lesser number of submitted documents than those listed above in situations where a basic clarification is desired ahead of proceeding with further technical work; and the building official may on such preliminary submittal take the formal action of tentative denial or tentative approval.

5.    Issuance of a zoning compliance permit shall in no case be construed as waiving any provision of this ordinance.

6.    The building official shall carry out the orders of the planning commission and zoning board of appeals which are duly authorized by this ordinance.

7.    The building official is under no circumstance permitted to make changes to this ordinance or to vary the terms of this ordinance in carrying out his duties.

8.    The building official shall not refuse to issue a zoning compliance permit when the conditions imposed are complied with by the applicant despite violation of contracts, such as covenants or private agreements, which may result upon the granting of such permit.

6.103 Planning Commission.

A.    Creation and Designation.

1.    Creation. The Planning Commission created by Ordinance No. 881, adopted March 5, 1935, and as amended by Ordinance 1060 adopted June, 1964, which was charged, along with other powers and duties, with the duty of preparation of and recommending amendments to a Zoning ordinance for the City, is the body referred to herein.

2.    The Planning Commission is hereby designated the commission specified in section 11, Act No. 4 of the Public Acts of Michigan of 2008 (MCL 125.3801 et. seq.), and shall perform the duties of such commission as provided in the statute in connection with this ordinance together with such powers and duties as are given to such commission by the Charter and this Ordinance.

B.    Zoning Commission. The Planning Commission is hereby designated as the Zoning Commission specified in Article III of Public Act 110 of 2006, as amended, and shall perform the duties of said Commission as provided in the statute.

C.    Powers and Duties. The Planning Commission shall have such powers concerning the preparation and adoption of a comprehensive master plan consisting of future land use, street and thoroughfare plan, community facilities, public improvements programs, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, and other such rights, powers, duties and responsibilities as are expressly provided for in this Ordinance, the Michigan Planning Enabling Act, Public Act 33 of 2008, as amended, and the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, Public Act 110 of 2006, as amended.

D.    Sec. 14.4. Rules of procedure. The planning commission is hereby authorized to adopt rules of composition, procedure and policy consistent with the statutes of Michigan and the provisions of this ordinance.

6.104 Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Zoning Board of Appeals (hereinafter referred to as “ZBA” or “Board of Appeals”) is created pursuant to Article VI of the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, PA 110 of 2006 (as amended).

A.    Organization. The qualifications of members, the term of each member, filling of vacancies, compensation of members, and operation of the ZBA shall be in accordance with Section 601 of the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, PA 110 of 2006, as amended, and the following provisions:

1.    Membership.

a.    The ZBA shall consist of seven members who shall be appointed in accordance with Section 601 of the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, PA 110 of 2006, as amended. The ZBA shall represent insofar as is possible the population distribution in the City. Each member of the ZBA shall be a resident of the City of Pontiac. An employee or contractor of the City Council may not serve as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

b.    The City Council may appoint to the zoning board of appeals not more than 2 alternate members for the same term as regular members. An alternate member may be called as specified in the zoning ordinance to serve as a member of the zoning board of appeals in the absence of a regular member if the regular member will be unable to attend 1 or more meetings. An alternate member may also be called to serve as a member for the purpose of reaching a decision on a case in which the member has abstained for reasons of conflict of interest. The alternate member appointed shall serve in the case until a final decision is made. An alternate member serving on the zoning board of appeals has the same voting rights as a regular member.

2.    Terms. The term of each member shall be for three years, except for members serving because of their membership on the Planning Commission, whose terms shall be limited to the time they are members of those bodies.

3.    Vacancies. Successors in office shall be appointed not more than one month after the term of the preceding member has expired. Vacancies for unexpired terms shall be filled for the remainder of the term.

4.    Ex-Officio Members. Pursuant to MCL 125.3601(4), one of the regular members of the Zoning Board of Appeals may be a member of the Planning Commission.

5.    Conflict of Interest. A member of the ZBA who is also a member of the Planning Commission shall not participate in a public hearing or vote on the same matter that the member voted on as a member of the Planning Commission. However, the member may consider and vote on other unrelated matters involving the same property.

B.    Procedures.

1.    Meetings. All meetings of the ZBA shall be held at the call of the chairperson and at other times as the ZBA may determine. All hearings conducted by such 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, indicate such fact, and shall also keep records of its hearings and other official action. The board shall have the power to subpoena and require the attendance of witnesses, administer oaths, compel testimony and the production of books, papers, files and other evidence pertinent to the matters before it.

2.    Quorum and Majority Vote Required. The ZBA shall not conduct business unless at least a majority of the membership of the ZBA is present. The concurring vote of a majority of the members of the zoning board of appeals shall be necessary to reverse an order, requirement, decision or determination of an administrative official or body, or to decide in favor of the applicant a matter upon which they are required to pass under an ordinance, or to effect a variation in an ordinance. The concurring vote of 2/3 of the members of the zoning board of appeals shall be necessary to decide in favor of a use variance.

C.    Powers. The board of appeals shall have the following powers including the power to order the issuance of zoning compliance permits and certificates of occupancy to implement its decisions.

1.    Interpretation of the zoning ordinance and administration review.

2.    Nonconformities. To decide whether or not changes in type “A” nonconformities are more detrimental than the existing use; upon conformity of alterations, extensions or enlargements of type “C” nonconformities; whether or not the type of nonconformity recorded by the building official actually exists; and to decide on the application of regulation set out in Section 6.506 regarding a substandard lot of record (see Article 6, Chapter 5 for noconformity standards).

3.    Interpretation of Zoning Map. To decide on any uncertainty that may exist, after applying the rules set out in Section 2.104 as to the exact location of a district boundary.

4.    Height Exceptions. To decide upon the application of the regulations of Section 2.301.C if a question arises as to the necessity or degree of incidentalness or length of custom as set out in the aforementioned regulations.

5.    Appeals of Administrative Decisions. To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that there is error, in regard to interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance, in any order, requirement, permit, decision, or refusal made by the building official in carrying out or in enforcing any provision of this ordinance. (see Section 6.405)

6.    Dimensional Variance. To hear and decide requests for dimensional variances. (see Section 6.407)

7.    Use Variance. To hear and decide requests for use variances. (see Section 6.408)

D.    Limitations of the Powers. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to empower the board to change the terms of this ordinance, to effect changes in the zoning map, or to add to the uses permitted in any district, except where specifically empowered to do so.