Conduct of Hearings

  • Hearings are conducted under the States' "Open Meeting Law." Hearing notices are published in advance of the hearing and the hearing is open to the public.
  • The purpose of the hearing is for the gathering of facts so that the Board's members may make an educated decision.
  • A typical hearing would consist of:
    • The Board Chairman officially opening the hearing and explaining the conduct of the hearing (i.e., the hearing will be conducted in an orderly manner, all speakers are to identify themselves and limit their statements to facts and the answer any questions directed to them by members of the Board). If necessary, sworn statements may be taken.
    • Applications are read into the record together with any responses to opinion letters from notified parties.
    • The applicant, or his/her representative is asked to state the reason(s) for the request.
    • Members of the audience in favor of the application are provided the opportunity to present information.
    • Members of the audience not in favor of the application are provided the opportunity to present information.
    • The Board will then discuss the merits of the application based on the facts presented and then make a decision.
    • The Board decision may grant all or part of the applicant's request. The Board may deny the entire request. The Board also has the option of imposing conditions on the applicant's request as a basis of approval.
    • At the conclusion of all Board business, the hearing is ended.

Findings & Conclusions

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board's decisions are provided in writing and will include sections describing:
  • Findings of fact:
    • Name of the applicant
    • Description of the property
    • The property's current zoning and use
    • The requested relief or change desired
  • Conclusions of law:
    • The legal criteria used as a basis for the decision
    • Rationale behind the decision - unnecessary hardship, presence of a unique property limitation and the protection of the public's interest
  • Order and determination
    • The Board's decision
    • Any conditions attached to the decision
  • Notice of appeal rights: The Board's decision may be appealed by a Writ of Certiorari in circuit court within 30 days of the Board's decision