Board of Zoning Appeals
As described in Chapter 8A, Article 8-1 of the West Virginia State Code, the City of Huntington has established a Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) because it has adopted a Zoning Ordinance. The City of Huntington Zoning Ordinance regulates how individuals, organizations and businesses can use land within the City limits. The BZA is required by State law to make quasi-judicial decisions regarding variances, special permits and appeals of administrative employees regarding the Zoning Ordinance. The BZA is made up of volunteers appointed by City Council, and supported by the Development and Planning Department.
The Board of Zoning Appeals regular meeting is at 5:30 on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at City Hall Council Chambers.
For more information regarding how a BZA meeting is conducted, please see this document: BZA Process
WHAT IS A VARIANCE?
The City of Huntington Zoning Ordinance, when administered to its fullest extent, sometimes creates a hardship on a property due to unforeseen circumstances. In those circumstances, there is a need to deviate from the minimum standards required by the zoning ordinance. Below is Section 8A-7-11 of the West Virginia State Code that explains what a variance is:
(a) A variance is a deviation from the minimum standards of the zoning ordinance and shall not involve permitting land uses that are otherwise prohibited in the zoning district nor shall it involve changing the zoning classification of a parcel of land.
(b) The Board of Zoning Appeals shall grant a variance to the zoning ordinance if it finds that the variance:
- Will not adversely affect the public health, safety or welfare, or the rights of adjacent property owners or residents;
- Arises from special conditions or attributes which pertain to the property for which a variance is sought and which were not created by the person seeking the variance;
- Would eliminate an unnecessary hardship and permit a reasonable use of the land; and
- Will allow the intent of the zoning ordinance to be observed and substantial justice done.
WHAT IS A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT?
The City of Huntington Zoning Ordinance established a series of distinct zoning districts to regulate how individuals, organizations and businesses use land within the City limits. Each zoning district has a specific intent and allows for various uses. Those uses are either allowed by right or by Conditional Use Permit. A use that is allowed by right requires only a building permit or certificate of use and occupancy to use the land in that specific manner.
Conditional Uses are uses that, depending on the circumstances, sometimes fit within the intent of the zoning district and sometimes do not, and therefore require further review by the Board of Zoning Appeals. Because Conditional Uses are uses that require further review, the BZA is allowed to stipulate conditions of an approval in order to enable the use of the land, but also protect the health, safety and welfare of surrounding property owners and residents.
According to Section 1359.01 of the City of Huntington Zoning Ordinance, in making its decision, the Board of Zoning Appeals shall consider the following:
- Effect upon the Comprehensive Plan.
- Public health, safety, morals and general welfare.
- Potential injury to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted.
- Effect upon the normal and orderly development and improvement of surrounding property for uses already permitted in the District.
- Adequate provisions for utilities, access roads, drainage and other necessary facilities.
- Adequate ingress and egress so designed to minimize traffic congestion in the public street.
WHAT IS AN APPEAL?
When administrative staff makes a decision regarding the interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance, those affected parties may appeal the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Section 8A-8-10 of the West Virginia State Code states that:
(a) An appeal from any order, requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative official or board charged with the enforcement of a zoning ordinance, or rule and regulation adopted pursuant to a zoning ordinance, shall be filed with the Board of Zoning Appeals.
(b) The appeal shall:
- Specify the grounds of the appeal;
- Be filed within thirty days of the original order, requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative official or board charged with the enforcement of a zoning ordinance; and
- Be on a form prescribed by the Board
(c) Upon request of the Board of Zoning Appeals, the administrative official or board shall transmit all documents, plans and papers constituting the record of the action from which the appeal was taken.