The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) is a semi-judicial body established by State law and County Ordinance, to provide relief in special circumstances where the exact application of the terms of the ordinance would be unduly restrictive and cause an undue hardship. Without this body to decide on such matters, solutions to unique development problems would have to be accomplished by numerous detailed amendments to the ordinance or through a lawsuit. Therefore, the function of the BZA is to hear and decide upon the interpretation and the application of the provisions of the zoning ordinance in these cases.
Although the BZA has certain discretionary powers in making its decisions, these powers have definite limits. The BZA must always abide by and comply with the powers granted to it by the Zoning Ordinance and the State-enabling act.
The Board of Zoning Appeals is empowered by Section 15.2-2309 - 15.2-2315 of the State Code and Article XVIII, Section 4 of the Zoning Ordinance to:
- Hear and decide on variances to the Zoning Ordinance.
- Hear and decide on appeals from any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Zoning Administrator in the enforcement or interpretation of the zoning ordinance. The Zoning Administrator is responsible for interpreting the terms and conditions that are not specifically addressed in the Ordinance. The Administrators decision must be issued in writing and is filed and available for review. The written interpretation must include the rationale for the decision and cite specific policies of the Board of Supervisors (BOS) as expressed in the adopted Comprehensive Plan that support the interpretation.
For more information, please view the Comprehensive Plan.