City of Oswego, NY
Oswego County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 5-23-1994]
The Board of Appeals of the City of Oswego existing at the time of adoption of this amendment shall continue to serve. The Board shall consist of seven members holding no elective office in the City, one of whom shall serve as Chairman, and shall receive no compensation for their services. Six members shall be appointed by the Mayor for terms of three years, beginning upon the date of the expiration of present appointments of existing members. The seventh member shall be appointed by the Mayor for a three year term commencing July 1, 1994. In case of vacancies in the membership of the Board, the Mayor shall appoint new members to serve the unexpired part of the term of the vacant position.
A. 
The Board of Appeals shall be empowered and required to:
(1) 
Hear and decide appeals from any order, requirement, decision or determination of the Zoning Administrator.
(2) 
Hear and decide all matters referred to it by the Zoning Administrator.
(3) 
Decide any question involving interpretation of any provision of this chapter.
B. 
In exercising the above-mentioned powers and duties, the Board of Appeals may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify the order, requirement, decision or determination appealed from and may make such order, decision or determination as ought to be made, and to that end have all the powers of the Zoning Administrator from whom the appeal is made.
C. 
The concurring vote of four members of the Board of Appeals shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of the Zoning Administrator or to decide in favor of the applicant any matter upon which such Board is required to pass.
D. 
Every decision of the Board of Appeals shall be subject to review in accordance with Article 78 of the Civil Practice Act, and such decision may be so appealed by any person aggrieved or by an officer, department, board or bureau of the city.
E. 
Any appeal from a decision of the Zoning Administrator properly filed with the Board of Appeals shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the Zoning Administrator certifies to the Board of Appeals that, by reason of facts stated in the certification, a stay would, in his opinion, cause imminent peril to life and property.
F. 
The Board of Appeals shall have the power to grant a restraining order to stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, over any action by the Zoning Administrator from whom the appeal is taken, upon notice to the Zoning Administrator and on due cause shown.
[Amended 10-9-2007]
A. 
Area variances.
(1) 
Application and issuance. Where strict application of any of the requirements of this chapter, in the case of exceptionally irregular, narrow, shallow or steep lots or other exceptional physical conditions, would result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship that would deprive the owner of the reasonable use of his land or building, the Board of Appeals shall have the power to grant a variance from any of the regulations or provisions of this chapter relating to area, bulk, construction or alteration of buildings or structures or any part thereof, so that the spirit of this chapter shall be observed, public health, safety and welfare secured and substantial justice done. Application for variance shall be made to the Zoning Administrator in such a form as he/she may prescribe.
(2) 
Referral to the Planning Board. Whenever a variance is requested involving development for which a site plan or subdivision plat is required or for which Planning Board approval is requisite, the Planning Board shall also consider the application for variance and render advice to the Board of Appeals.
(3) 
Findings. An area variance shall be granted by the Board of Appeals only if and wherever it finds that:
(a) 
There are special circumstances or physical conditions, fully described in the findings, applying to the land or buildings for which the variance is sought and that said circumstances or conditions are peculiar to such particular land or building and do not apply generally to land or buildings in the neighborhood, and that said circumstances or conditions are such that the strict application of the provisions of this chapter would deprive the applicant of the reasonable use of such land or building.
(b) 
For reasons fully set forth in the findings, the granting of the variance is necessary for the reasonable use of the land or building involved and that the variance, as granted by the Board of Appeals, is the minimum variance to accomplish this purpose.
(c) 
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 welfare.
(4) 
Prescription of conditions. In granting any area variance, the Board of Appeals shall prescribe any conditions that it deems to be necessary or desirable.
(5) 
Limitations on granting area variances. In no case shall an area variance be granted solely for reasons of additional financial gain on the part of the owner of the land or building involved or for relief of any self-imposed hardship.
B. 
Use variances.
(1) 
The Board of Appeals, on referral from the Zoning Administrator or on application by any person allegedly aggrieved by the strict application of any of the requirements of this chapter or desiring to deviate therefrom, shall have the power to grant use variances, as set forth herein. Application for variance shall be made to the Zoning Administrator in such form as he/she may prescribe.
(a) 
Referral to Planning Board. At least 45 days before the date of public hearing held in connection with any application for a use variance submitted, the Board of Appeals shall transmit to the Planning Board a copy of said application, and shall request that the Planning Board submit to the Board of Appeals its advisory opinion on said application. The Planning Board shall submit a report of such advisory opinion prior to the date of said public hearing. The failure of the Planning Board to submit such report shall be interpreted as a favorable opinion for the granting of the use variance applied for.
[Added 6-10-2013]
(2) 
No such use variance shall be granted by the Board of Appeals without the applicant showing 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:
(a) 
The applicant cannot realize a reasonable return, provided that lack of return is substantial as demonstrated by competent financial evidence;
(b) 
The alleged hardship relating to the property in question is unique and does not apply to a substantial portion of the district or neighborhood;
(c) 
The requested use variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood; and
(d) 
The alleged hardship has not been self-created.
(3) 
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.
A. 
Application and issuance of special permit. On referral by the Zoning Administrator after application has been made to him for a building permit, or on direct application, the Board of Appeals is hereby authorized to issue a special permit for any use for which this chapter requires the obtaining of such permit from the Board of Appeals, subject to applicable regulations of this chapter.
B. 
Referral to Planning Board. At least 45 days before the date of public hearing held in connection with any application for a special permit submitted, the Board of Appeals shall transmit to the Planning Board a copy of said application,and shall request that the Planning Board submit to the Board of Appeals its advisory opinion on said application. The Planning Board shall submit a report of such advisory opinion prior to the date of said public hearing. The failure of the Planning Board to submit such report shall be interpreted as a favorable opinion for the granting of the special permit applied for.
C. 
Time limit, transfer and revocation. The Board of Appeals shall grant all special permits with no time limit for specified use approved by the special permit. Transfer of use to a new owner shall require the same conditions and requirements as specified in the granted special permit. Any special permit granted by the Board of Appeals is revocable or subject to reconsideration (rehearing) should any problem arise resulting from the use thereof, based on referral to the Board by the Zoning Administrator.
[Amended 4-26-2004; 5-10-2010]
D. 
Submission of plans. Each application for a special permit shall be accompanied by three copies of a proposed plan showing the size and placement of the lot, the design and location of the proposed facilities (including driveways, parking spaces, screens and fences) and existing and proposed contour lines at an appropriate scale. The location of the subject lot and all streets within a radius of 1,000 feet shall be shown on a separate drawing.
A. 
Form of application.
(1) 
The Board of Appeals shall act in strict accordance with the procedures specified by law and by this chapter and shall determine its own rules of conduct. All appeals and applications made to this Board shall be taken in writing on forms prescribed by the Board.
(2) 
The Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be empowered to administer oaths during any proceeding before the Board.
[Added 3-14-1983]
B. 
Contents of application for variance, appeal or special permit.
(1) 
Any person allegedly aggrieved by the strict application of any of the requirements of this chapter or desiring to deviate therefrom may apply to the Board of Appeals for a variance from any such requirements. Such application shall state the specific provisions of this chapter from which variance is sought and shall state precisely the interpretation which is sought and the details of the variance which is sought, together with the special circumstances which allegedly justify such variance.
(2) 
Appeals or applications shall be taken within such time as shall be prescribed by the Board of Appeals by general rule by the filing with the Zoning Administrator from whom the appeal is taken, and with the Board of Appeals, of a notice of appeal, specifying the grounds thereon.
(3) 
The Zoning Administrator shall forthwith transmit to the Board of Appeals all papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.
C. 
Public hearing.
(1) 
The Board of Appeals shall, after due notice, hold a public hearing on every appeal or application for a variance or for a special permit referred or taken to said Board or upon which it is required to pass, in accordance with this chapter and the law. The Board of Appeals shall have published a notice of each such public hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the City at least 10 days prior to such hearing.
(2) 
All property owners within a one-hundred-foot radius of the appellant shall be notified of the public hearing, in writing, by first class mail, by the Recording Secretary for the Zoning Board of Appeals.
[Amended 3-25-1991]
D. 
Findings and conclusions. After such public hearing and after considering the application, the Board of Appeals shall either grant or deny the variance or special permit and shall make written findings of fact and conclusions concerning the subject matter of such hearing, including the reasons for granting or denial of the relief sought. As to any proposed use, such findings of fact and conclusions shall be made concerning such use as described and represented by the applicant.
E. 
Reporting and filing of decisions, permits and variances.
(1) 
Every official and final decision of the Board of Appeals shall be by written resolution, each of which shall contain a full record of its findings in the particular case, and each of which shall be filed in the City Clerk's office, together with all pertinent documents. The Board of Appeals shall notify the Common Council and Planning Board, in writing, of each special permit and variance issued or granted under provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
The Board of Appeals may employ such clerical or other assistants as may be necessary, provided that it shall not at any time incur expenses beyond the amount of appropriation made and then available for that purpose.
Any persons aggrieved or allegedly aggrieved by a decision, determination, act or refusal to act of a body or officer exercising judicial, quasi-judicial, administrative or corporate functions relating to this chapter may petition for relief to a proper court of law in accordance with the provisions of Article 78 of the Civil Practice Act of the State of New York.