The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is comprised of seven (7) members and an alternate who are appointed by the City Council to serve up to three (3) year terms. One of the regular members of the zoning board of appeals shall be a member of the planning commission. The ZBA elects its own Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary to serve one (1) year terms. ZBA hearings are generally held on the second Tuesday of the month in the Council Hearing Chambers and are open to the public. Hearings conducted by the Board are required to have a quorum of four (4) members for a variance or exception to be granted. A packet of information is available in the Community Development Department, which is very helpful in assisting an applicant with the ZBA process. The packet includes: the ZBA application, the schedule of meetings including application deadlines, the fee structure, the Public Hearing Format and Rules of Conduct, the Rules of Procedure, the ZBA Checklists, “Ten Timely Tips for a Successful Variance” and Standard for Granting a Variance.

Any person, firm/ corporation, officer, department, board or bureau affected by a decision of the Building Official may take an appeal to the ZBA. The deadline for filing an appeal to the ZBA is four (4) to five (5) weeks prior to the scheduled hearing date. Please refer to the packet of information for specific deadline dates. Applicants are highly encouraged to submit a ZBA application in a timely manner prior to the deadline, as the agenda is limited to twelve (12) cases on a first come first served basis. Applicants are required to submit one (1) physical and one (1) digital copy of all information pertinent to the appeal including the ZBA application and folded site/plot plans depicting the location and setbacks for the variance requested. For residential variance requests it is recommended Applicants submit a letter of approval from the subdivision Homeowners Association. Applicants requesting a variance located on property owned by someone else are required to submit a letter of approval from the property owner for the intended use. All applicants are required to provide a property sidwell number, which may be obtained from the Assessing Department 248-347-0485.

It is important to declare any citations or Notice of Violations issued for the property address as this information is provided to the Board for consideration of an appeal. If an applicant is applying for a sign variance please pay special attention to the section of the ZBA Application pertaining to mock-up signs. Mock up signs are required to be installed ten (10) days prior to the ZBA hearing to show the Board a representation of what the applicant is proposing to erect on a building or on a parcel of land in the case of a ground sign.

The Michigan Zoning and Enabling Act requires fifteen (15) day prior public hearing notification to all persons whom real property is assessed within three hundred (300) feet of the address for the ZBA case as well as publication in the local weekly newspaper. Therefore it is highly recommended Applicants speak with immediate neighbors about the ZBA variance request prior to public hearing notifications being mailed.

Contact the Community Development Department 248-347-0415 for further information.