Planning & Zoning Board of Adjustment
Meeting Agenda & Minutes
The Planning Board/Board of Adjustment meets on the second Monday of each month at 6:00 pm, except in July and December.
The Town’s Planning Board was created under the authority of NC General Statutes §160A-362. Membership consists of 7 members: 6 residents of the Town appointed by the Board of Aldermen, and 1 from within the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) appointed by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners [ETJ is an area that extends no more than 1 mile outside of the town limits, in which the Town adopted zoning authority – but not police powers – to act as a buffer & transition zone between outside uses of land and those found in zoning districts within the Town’s municipal limits].
Each member’s term is for 3 years, staggered to ensure a continuity of experience on the board. Planning Board members can’t serve on the Zoning Board of Adjustment due to inherent conflicts of responsibility between the two boards. Members may be removed for cause by the Town Board of Aldermen upon written charges, and only after a public hearing.
Generally, the Planning Board acts as the advisory body to the Town Board of Aldermen on zoning-related matters. Specifically, as outlined in Spencer’s Code of Ordinances §155.136, the PB’s powers and duties are to:
- Make studies of the area within its jurisdiction and surrounding areas;
- Determine objectives to be sought in the development of the study area;
- Prepare and adopt plans for achieving these objectives;
- Develop and recommend policies, ordinances, administrative procedures, and other means for carrying out plans in a coordinated and efficient manner;
- Advise the Board of Aldermen concerning the use and amendment of means for carrying out plans;
- Exercise any functions in the administration and enforcement of various means for carving out plans that the Board of Aldermen may direct;
- Perform the duties of the Board of Adjustment; and
- Perform any other related duties that the Board of Aldermen may direct.
Duties of the Board of Adjustment performed by the Planning Board
- To hear and decide all appeals where it is alleged that there is an error in any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by the Zoning Enforcement Officer;
- To hear and decide applications for decisions on conditional and temporary use permits; and
- To authorize, upon appeal in specific cases, a variance from the terms of this chapter that will not be contrary to the public interest, where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this chapter will result in undue hardship and so that the spirit of this chapter will be observed and substantial justice done.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment must make its decisions based solely upon findings of fact. This is in contrast to other legislative, administrative, and advisory boards that are able to make their decisions at least somewhat based on public opinion. Because of that unique nature, decisions of the Zoning Board of Adjustment can only be appealed to the Superior Court of Rowan County for review.