The purpose of this Board is to hear and decide all appeals and matters referred to it under the laws and ordinances of the City. The Board is authorized to overturn decisions of any official or employee of the City where error is alleged and proven in the interpretation or enforcement of the zoning ordinance, grant variances from the strict letter of the zoning ordinance provided that practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship exists and is proven, and render a decision on applications made to the board in those cases where the zoning ordinance specifically provides that the Board shall render a decision on the matter. Minimum qualification for the five member board are that members be a resident of the City of Columbia. The length of terms is five years, with openings occurring in May for regular members, and November for alternates. Click on Board of Adjustment Forms for a list of the appeal application forms.
Sec. 29-31. Board of adjustment.
(a) Authorized. There shall be a board of adjustment consisting of five (5) members who shall be residents of the city. The board shall have such powers and duties as are provided by law or ordinance.
(b) Terms. The terms of office of the members of the board shall be for five (5) years, except that the five (5) members first appointed shall serve respectively for terms of one (1), two (2), three (3), four (4), and five (5) years. Thereafter all members shall be appointed by the council for terms of five (5) years each. The members shall elect their own chairman, who shall serve for one (1) year. No member shall serve more than two (2) consecutive full terms.
(c) Alternate members. Three (3) alternate members, who shall be residents of the city, shall be appointed by the council to serve in the absence of, or disqualification of, the regular members. The first three (3) alternates appointed shall serve for terms of three (3), four (4), and five (5) years, respectively. Thereafter, all alternates shall be appointed for five-year terms.
(d) Vacancies. The vacancy of any member or alternate member shall be filled by appointment of the council for the unexpired term only.
(e) Removal. All members and alternates may be removed for cause by the council, upon written charges after public hearing.
(f) Office location. The office of the board shall be the office of the city clerk, who shall serve as secretary to the board, be custodian of its records, arrange for its meetings, and perform such other duties, consistent with the provisions of this chapter, as the adopted rules of the board require.
(g) Powers and duties:
(1) The board may, in appropriate cases and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, make special exceptions to the terms of this chapter in harmony with its general purpose and intent in accordance with general or specific rules herein contained.
(2) The board shall adopt rules in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Meetings of the board shall be held at the call of the chairman and at such other times as the board may determine. Such chairman, or in his absence, the acting chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. All meetings of the board shall be open to the public. The board shall keep minutes of the proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed in the office of the board and shall be a public record. All testimony, objections thereto, and rulings thereon shall be taken down by a reporter employed by the board for that purpose and who shall receive reasonable compensation for such from the city. The reporter shall furnish to any person or persons a transcript of all or part of such proceedings upon payment to him of a fee equal to that set forth in section 492.590(2), Revised Statutes of Missouri. The presence of four (4) members shall be necessary to constitute a quorum.
(3) Appeals to the board may be taken by any person aggrieved, or by any officer, department, board or bureau of the city affected by any decision of an administrative official in the administration or enforcement of this chapter. Such appeal shall be taken within a reasonable time, as provided by the rules of the board, by filing with the officer from whom the appeal is taken and with the board a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof. The officer from whom the appeal is taken shall forthwith transmit to the board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken. An applicant shall deposit a sum sufficient to pay the costs of advertising as required by statute and ordinance. The clerk shall inform applicants of the estimated cost of advertising and require a deposit sufficient to meet the costs upon filing. All unexpended portions of the deposit shall be returned after the actual costs of advertising have been met.
(4) An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the officer from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the board, after the notice of appeal shall have been filed with him, that by reason of facts stated in the certificate, a stay would, in his opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property. In such case proceedings shall not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order which may be granted by the board or by a court of record, on application or notice to the officer from whom the appeal is taken and on due cause shown.
(5) The board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the appeal, give public notice thereof, as well as due notice to the parties in interest, and decide the same within a reasonable time. At the hearing any party may appear in person, by agent, or by attorney.
(6) The board shall have the following powers:
a. To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in an order, requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative official in the administration or enforcement of this chapter.
b. To hear and decide all matters referred to it or upon which it is required to pass under the provisions of the laws and ordinances of the city.
c. In passing upon appeals where there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship in the way of carrying out the strict letter of this chapter, to vary or modify the application of any of the regulations or provisions of such chapter relating to the construction or alteration of buildings, so that the spirit of such chapter shall be observed, public safety and welfare secured, and substantial justice done.
d. To grant a permit for a temporary building for commerce or industry in a dwelling district which is incidental to the dwelling development, such permit to be issued for a period of not more than two (2) years.
e. To determine, in cases of uncertainty, the classification of any use not specifically enumerated in this chapter.
(7) In exercising the above-mentioned powers, such board may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly or may modify the order, requirement, decision or determination appealed from and may make such order, requirement, decision or determination as ought to be made, and to that end, shall have all powers of the administrative official from whom the appeal is taken.
(8) The concurring vote of four (4) members of the board shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of any such administrative official, or to decide in favor of the applicant on any matter before the board.
(9) Any person or persons, jointly or severally aggrieved by any decision of the board, any taxpayer, or any officer, department, board or bureau of the municipality, may appeal a decision of the board to a court of competent jurisdiction.
(Code 1964, § 19.260; Ord. No. 9958, § 1, 10-3-83; Ord. No. 13312, § 1, 5-4-92; Ord. No. 13473, § 1, 10-5-92)