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Posted on: February 7, 2020

Sunbury Recruiting Residents for Board of Zoning Appeals

Photo of a street in downtown Sunbury

The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) is the local government body empowered by the charter to consider granting relief from the requirements of the zoning ordinance.  From a practical standpoint, it is almost impossible to create zoning regulations that universally make sense on all parcels of land.  The BZA allows property owners with unique conditions on their parcels to seek relief.  The board is considered an administrative board that is quasi-judicial in nature.  A quasi-judicial entity operates more like a court than a legislative body and uses many standards and procedures like the courts.  BZA decisions are required to be guided by specific criteria, and decisions are made based upon the facts, not opinions.  The primary role of the board of zoning appeals is to rule on existing zoning laws as opposed to making new laws, and therefore it is considered an administrative body.

The BZA’s duties fall into two categories:

  • Granting of variances – developmental standard variances and property use variances
  • Appeals of administrative decisions

The BZA will meet on an as-needed basis up to once per month and members are volunteers.

To be eligible to serve on the Sunbury BZA one must be:

  • An elector of the Municipality (registered to vote as a resident of Sunbury), and
  • Cannot hold any other office or be an employee of the Municipality.
  •  Must be willing to spend time preparing for the meeting, which will entail reading the relevant section of the zoning code and possibly visiting the applicant’s property to view actual conditions.  When there is no business the BZA will not meet that month.  Must attend and complete a training session covering the BZA Handbook.
  • Must be comfortable reviewing zoning codes and participating in a fact-based discussion and determining findings of fact related to variances and appeals.
  • Individuals with backgrounds in engineering/architecture, law, communications and interviewing and real estate are encouraged to apply.

Residents interested in serving on the BZA can apply with a cover letter and resume by email to arothermel@sunburyvillage.com or drop off a letter and resume to the Sunbury Administrative Office at 9 East Granville Street.   Applicants are encouraged to apply by February 21, 2020 and will be accepted until all six board positions are filled by the Sunbury Council.

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