Village Board Eases Zoning Procedure

Village Board Eases Zoning Procedure

Recently the Village board voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the Village’s Zoning Code to allow minor zoning variations to be granted administratively, rather than through a lengthy Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) public hearing process. The new category of relief would instead allow Village staff to approve proposed minor changes where there are no objections from adjacent property owners.

The impetus for the change arose from a recent incident where a homeowner needed to repair a flaw in the home’s original design which created a leaking roof. The repair caused the home to exceed the 40% Floor Area Ratio (FAR) limit in the Village’s Zoning Code. The Zoning Code needed to be amended to allow a mechanism for a home to exceed the 40% FAR limit. The Village took this opportunity to examine how very small variation requests should be reviewed. After looking at options for amending the code, the Plan Commission and ZBA recommended that the Code be changed to allow for speedier relief for a variety of small-scale variations.

The new Administrative Variation procedure would allow for modest-sized FAR increases (less than 100 square feet) and other smaller variations to be approved by the Village Manager. Public notice to surrounding neighbors would still be required to allow for public comment. If a neighbor objects, the variation would not be approved administratively and another avenue would need to be pursued through the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The homeowner’s request for a FAR increase was the first administrative variation application approved by the Village staff. The goal is for this mechanism to allow very modest zoning variations to be approved in a matter of days rather than two months, which is typical for a ZBA application due to the strict public notice and hearing requirements. Commercial property owners can also request administrative variations for modest adjustments to front side and rear setbacks. For information visit www.northbrook.il.us.&’ type=’text/javascript’>

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