A Zoning Board of Appeals is hereby established in accordance with Act 110 of the Public Acts of 2006, as amended. The Board shall consist of five members: a member of the Planning Commission; a member of the Township Board appointed by the Township Board; and the remaining members appointed by the Township Board from the electors residing in the unincorporated area of the Township. The term of office of the member from the Township Board shall not exceed his/her term of office on the Township Board.
Members may be reappointed. An elected officer of the Township shall not serve as Chairperson of the Zoning Board of Appeals. An employee or contractor of the Township may not serve as a member of the Board. A member of the Board shall disqualify him/herself from a vote in which the member has a conflict of interest.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall perform its duties and exercise its powers as provided in Act 110 of the Public Acts of 2006, as amended, so that the objectives of this chapter shall be attained, the public health, safety, and welfare secured, and substantial justice done. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall hear and decide only those matters which it is specifically authorized to hear and decide as provided therein: administrative review, variance, and expansion of nonconforming buildings and structures.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall not have the power to alter or change the zoning district classification of any property, nor make any change in the terms or intent of this chapter, but does have power to act on those matters for which this chapter provides an administrative review, interpretation, variance or exception.
Zoning Board of Appeals members shall attend training sessions as required by the Township Board of Trustees.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall adopt rules and regulations to govern its procedures. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall appoint one of its members as Chairperson. The concurring vote of a majority of the members of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be necessary to revise any order, requirements, decision or interpretation of the Zoning Administrator or to decide in favor of an applicant any matter upon which they are required to pass under this chapter or to effect any variation in this chapter.
Meetings of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be held at the call of the Chairperson and at such other times as the Board in its rules of procedure may specify. Minutes shall be kept of each meeting, and the Board shall record into the minutes all findings, conditions, facts, and other relevant factors, including the vote of each member upon each question or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and all of its official actions. All meetings and records shall be open to the public. All minutes shall be filed in the office of the Township Clerk.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall hear and decide appeals from and review any order, requirements, decision or determination of the Zoning Administrator.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the power to:
Interpret, upon request, the provisions of this chapter in such a way as to carry out the intent and purpose of this chapter.
Determine the precise location of the boundary lines between zoning districts when there is dissatisfaction with a decision made by the Zoning Administrator.
Classify a use which is not specifically mentioned as a part of the use regulations of any zoning district so that it conforms to a comparable permitted or prohibited use, in accordance with the purpose and intent of each district.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the power and duty to authorize upon appeal in specific cases such variance from the provisions of this chapter as will not be contrary to the public interest where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this chapter would result in practical difficulty.
A variance shall not be granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals unless and until the following conditions are met:
A written application for a variance is submitted, demonstrating:
That special conditions and circumstances exist which are peculiar to the land, structure, or building involved and which are not applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district.
That literal interpretation of the provisions of this chapter would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the terms of this chapter.
That the special conditions and circumstances necessitating the variance did not result from the actions of the applicant.
That granting the variance requested will not confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this chapter to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district.
Any nonconforming use of neighboring lands, structures, or buildings shall not be considered grounds for the issuance of a variance.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall make findings that the requirements of this section have been met by the applicant.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall further find that the reasons set forth in the application justify the granting of the variance, and that it is the minimum variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall further find that the granting of the variance will be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this chapter and will not be injurious to the neighborhood or otherwise detrimental to the public interest.
In granting any variance, the Zoning Board of Appeals may prescribe appropriate conditions and safeguards in conformity with this chapter. Violations of such conditions and safeguards, when made a part of the terms under which the variance is granted, shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.
Under no circumstances shall the Zoning Board of Appeals grant a variance to allow a use not permissible under the terms of this chapter in the district involved or any use expressly or by implication prohibited by the terms of this chapter in said district.
In exercising the above-mentioned powers, the Zoning Board of Appeals may, so long as such action is in conformity with the terms of this chapter, reverse or affirm wholly or partly or may modify the order, requirements, decision, or determination appealed from and may make such order requirements, decision, or determination as ought to be made, and to that end shall have the powers of the public official from whom the appeal is taken.
Each variance granted under the provisions of this chapter shall become null and void unless the occupancy of land or buildings, or the construction authorized by such variance has commenced within 180 days after the granting of such variance, unless extended by the ZBA at a regular meeting.
Appeals concerning interpretation and administration of this chapter shall be made by filing a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof with the Township Clerk within a period of 30 days from the occurrence of the contested action. The Clerk shall transmit to the Board copies of all papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.
A fee shall be paid at the time of filing the notice of appeal and shall be deposited in the Township's general fund. The appeal fee shall be established by the Township Board.
Any party or parties may appear at the hearing in person or by agent or attorney.
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall decide upon all matters within a reasonable time. The decision of the Board shall be in the form of a resolution containing a full record of its findings and determinations in each case.
An appeal shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed unless the Building Inspector or Zoning Administrator certifies to the Board that a stay would, in his/her opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property. In such a case, the proceedings should not be stayed other than by a restraining order issued by the courts.
All questions concerning application of the provisions of this chapter shall first be presented to the Zoning Administrator. Such questions shall be presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals only on appeal from the decisions of the Zoning Administrator. Recourse from decisions of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be to the Circuit Court of Van Buren County, as provided by law.