What is the Board of Zoning Appeals?
The board of zoning appeals (BZA) is the local government body that is empowered
by State Law 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 board of zoning
appeals allows property owners with unique conditions on their parcels to seek
The BZA 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 by state
law to be guided by specific criteria, and made based upon the facts, not opinions.
The primary role of the board of zoning appeals is to rule on the application of the
existing zoning laws as opposed to passing new laws, and therefore it is considered
an administrative body.
The BZA’s duties fall into three categories:
1) Granting of variances;
– Developmental standards variances; and
– Variances of use (not available to boards with an area plan commission).
2) Granting of special exceptions/conditional uses; and
3) Appeals from administrative decisions.
When you need to ask for a variance from a zoning regulation, you will go to the Board of Zoning Appeals. All needed forms, are found on the Planning and Zoning Department.
All Ordinance Change requests go through the Board and must be turned in to the Planning and Zoning Department by the 10th of the month preceding the Board Meeting when your case will be heard.
Per Indiana State Statute, other persons may not communicate with any BZA member before the hearing with intent to influence the member’s action — this is often referred to as ex parte contact.
There is an $85.00 fee to have your case heard. This fee is non-refundable.
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