Procedure for Obtaining a Variance

  1. Obtain an application form in the Planning Office of the Department of Planning and Neighborhood Development. Assistance is available when filling out the form. A site plan drawn to scale is required.
  2. Completed applications are filed in the Planning Office. A receipt with the date, place and time of the BZA meeting when the appeal will be heard. A nonrefundable filing fee is required. The fee schedule is established by City Council and is on the application.
  3. The Planning Office staff prepares a letter or postcard that is mailed to surrounding owners and occupants within 300 feet of the subject property notifying them of the place, date and time of the scheduled public hearing, as well as a description of what the applicant proposes. This letter is sent 10 - 15 days in advance of the public hearing.
  4. Each appeal is then discussed at a staff meeting where an opinion is formulated based on the criteria and standards outlined in the Code, and the reasonableness of the proposed change.
  5. The Planning Office staff prepares a report upon information gathered regarding the subject property and the surrounding area including items such as site size, existing land use, zoning and development. This preliminary report is sent to the Board members approximately one week prior to the public hearing. The staff report contains a staff analysis and recommendation.
  6. At the public hearing staff will make a short presentation of the request and the staff's report. The petitioner, or a representative, will be called to speak, then other persons whether in favor or opposed to the proposal. Public comment may also be expressed by letter or telephone call, (517) 483-4066, to the Planning Office. Public input is considered and evaluated at each hearing prior to a final decision by the BZA.
  7. At the close of public hearing on each case the BZA discusses the merits of that appeal. Following their discussion, a decision is made. The BZA may act to approve, approve with conditions, modify or deny an appeal. If additional information is needed, the Board may act to table the appeal.
  8. Once a decision has been made, a letter will be sent by the Secretary of the Board informing the applicant of the decision.