One Size Does Not Necessarily Fit All

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Community Development Executive Assistant

The City understands that sometimes an exception to the rule is warranted and necessary.  Zoning rules that fit the vast majority of properties may leave a few folks struggling with a less-than-ideal situation due to the unique conditions related to their property.  The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) reviews requests for variances and determines whether or not to grant such exceptions.  Knowing when and how to grant variances requires a bit of training.

ZBA Training Session led by City Attorney Derk Beckerleg

The ZBA is authorized by State law to grant such variances when the strict or literal application of the Zoning Ordinance would cause a “practical difficulty” for the applicant.  Last night, City Attorney Derk Beckerleg met with our ZBA members to review the responsibilities, procedures, and legalities involved with serving in this capacity.  The Board must ensure that the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance is observed, public safety is secured, and substantial justice is done.  Easy right?  No, not really.

Our five ZBA members are Trina Burrell, Chairperson; Henry Knight, City Council Liaison; Greg Ouellette, Planning Commission Liaison; Jay Boelter and James Buster.

We’re grateful for their time and dedication to the City of Auburn Hills.

The Zoning Problem Solvers!

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

Do you know these people?  They’re the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and this important group provides a critical service for our community.

It’s the ZBA’s job to interpret the City’s Zoning Ordinance, decide appeals to administrative decisions, and grant exceptions.  Zoning standards are applied, in Michigan and across the country, to hundreds and thousands of parcels of land.  Due to unique conditions and characteristics of individual properties, it is nearly impossible to write zoning standards so that they can be universally enforced.  To provide relief in usual circumstances, each municipality needs a group like this.

Zoning Board of Appeals (from left to right) Robert Luttermoser, Henry Knight, Trina Burrell, Greg Ouellette, Robert Waltenspiel and Building Official, Jeff Spencer

Zoning Board of Appeals (from left to right) Robert Luttermoser, Henry Knight, Trina Burrell, Greg Ouellette, Robert Waltenspiel and Building Official/City Staff Liaison, Jeff Spencer

Mayor Kevin McDaniel and our City Council appoint five members to the ZBA, all of whom are City residents.   The City’s ZBA members are Robert Luttermoser, Chairperson; Greg Ouellette, Secretary and Planning Commission Liaison; Henry Knight, City Council Liaison; Trina Burrell and Robert Waltenspiel.

We’re very grateful for this dedicated group of volunteers who meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month, as needed, to help interpret our Zoning Ordinance and make these often complex determinations at our local level.