Board of Zoning Appeals
BZA Meeting Dates & Deadlines
The Board of Zoning Appeals meets on the second Monday of each month.
To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in an order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of this Ordinance.
To hear and decide requests for variance from the requirements of this Ordinance when strict application of the provisions of the ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship. Variances shall be approved in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 11.3.
To permit uses by special exception subject to the terms and conditions for the uses set forth in the Permitted Uses Table in Section 2.4 as Special Exceptions. Special Exceptions shall be approved in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 11.3.
Section 10.3 Board of Zoning Appeals
A. The Board shall be composed of five (5) persons who are citizens of Walterboro.
B. All members shall be appointed to staggered terms of three years by the City Council, and after that time until their successors are appointed.
C. A vacancy in the membership must be filled for the unexpired term by appointment of City Council.
D. The City may remove any member of the Board for cause. The existence of cause shall be discussed by the Council in executive session as permitted by the Freedom of Information Act, SC Code §30-4-70 (a) (1), and the determination of removal shall be by vote in public session declaring a vacancy in the position without a statement of cause. Any fact, which in the discretion of the Council, is deemed to adversely affect the public interest, including lack of attendance at meetings, may constitute cause.
E. None of the members shall hold any elected public office or position in the City or Colleton County.
A. The Board shall elect one of its members chairman, who shall serve for one year or until (s)he is re-elected or his successor is elected and qualified. The Board shall appoint a secretary who may be an officer of the City.
B. The Board shall adopt rules of procedure in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance.
C. Meetings of the Board must be held at the call of the chairman and at such other times as the Board may determine. Public notice of all meetings of the Board of Appeals shall be provided by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality or county.
D. In cases involving variances or special exceptions conspicuous notice shall be posted on or adjacent to the property affected, with at least one such notice being visible from each public thoroughfare that abuts the property.
E. The chairman or, in his or her absence, the acting chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses by subpoena.
F. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or if absent or failing to vote, indicating that fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which must be immediately filed in the office of the Board and must be a public record.
G. The Board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the appeal or other matter referred to it, and give at least fifteen days' public notice of it in a newspaper of general circulation in the community, as well as due notice to the parties in interest, and decide that same within a reasonable time. At the hearing any party may appear in person or by agent or by attorney.
H. The Board of Zoning Appeals may, in conformity with the provisions of this Chapter, reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the order, requirements, decision, or determination, and to that end shall have all the powers of the officer from whom the appeal is taken and may issue or direct the issuance of a permit. The Board in the execution may certify this fact to the Colleton County circuit court.
I. All final decisions and orders of the Board must be in writing and be permanently filed in the office of the Board as a public record. All findings of fact and conclusions of law must be separately stated in final decisions or orders of the Board, which must be delivered to parties of interest by certified mail.
10.3.3 Powers and Duties
The Board of Zoning Appeals shall function in strict accordance with and pursuant to this Ordinance and shall have the following powers:
A. Appeals. To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in an order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of the Ordinance.
1. Appeals to the Board may be taken by any person aggrieved or by any officer, department, Board, or bureau of the City or County.
2. The appeal must be taken within 30 days of the date the appealing party has received actual notice of the action from which the appeal is taken by filing with the officer from whom the appeal is taken and with the Board of Appeals notice of appeal specifying the grounds of it.
3. The officer from whom the appeal is taken immediately shall transmit to the Board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.
4. An appeal stays all legal proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the officer from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the Board, after the notice of appeal has been filed with him, that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would, in his opinion, cause imminent peril to life and property. In that case, proceedings may not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order which may be granted by the Board or by a court of record on application, on notice to the officer from whom the appeal is taken, and on due cause shown.
B. Variances. To hear and decide requests for variance from the requirements of this Ordinance when strict application of the provisions of the ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship. Variances shall be approved in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 11.3.
1. The Board may not grant a variance the effect of which would be to allow the establishment of a use not otherwise permitted in a zoning district, to extend physically a non-conforming use of land, or to change the zoning district boundaries shown on the official zoning map. The fact that property may be utilized more profitable, should a variance be granted, may not be considered grounds for a variance. Other requirements are prescribed by this zoning ordinance.
2. The City by ordinance may permit or preclude the granting of a variance for a use of land, a building, or a structure that is prohibited in a given district, and if it does permit such a variance, it may require the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Board members present and voting. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the City may overrule the decision of the Board concerning a use variance.
3. In granting a variance, the Board may attach to it such conditions regarding the location character, or other features of the proposed building, structure, or use as the Board may consider advisable to protect established property values in the surrounding area, or the promote the public health, safety, or general welfare.
4. A variance may be granted in an individual case of unnecessary hardship if the Board makes and explains in writing the following findings:
a. There are extraordinary and exceptional conditions pertaining to the particular piece of property;
b. These conditions do not generally apply to other property in the vicinity;
c. Because of these conditions, the application of the ordinance to the particular piece of property would effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict the utilization of the property; and
d. The authorization of a variance will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property of to the public good, and the character of the district will not be harmed by the granting of the variance.
C. Special Exceptions. To permit uses by special exception subject to the terms and conditions for the uses set forth in the Permitted Uses Table in Section 2.4 as Special Exceptions. Special Exceptions shall be approved in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 11.3.
10.3.5 Contempt and Penalty
In case of contempt by a party, witness, or other person before the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Board may certify this fact to the circuit court of the county in which the contempt occurs and the judge of the court, in open court or in chambers, after hearing, may impose a penalty as authorized by law.
10.3.6 Appeal from the Board of Zoning Appeals
A. A person who may have a substantial interest in any decision of the Board of Appeals or an officer or agent of the appropriate governing authority may appeal from a decision of the Board to the circuit court in and for the County by filing with the Clerk of the Court a petition in writing setting forth plainly, fully, and distinctly why the decision is contrary to law. The appeal must be filed within thirty days after the decision of the Board is mailed.
B. Upon the filing of the appeal, the clerk of the circuit court shall give immediate notice of it to the secretary of the Board and within 30 days from the time of the notice the Board shall file with the clerk a certified copy of the proceedings held before the Board of appeals, including a transcript of the evidence heard before it, if any, and the decision of the Board including its findings of fact and conclusions.
C. The filing of an appeal in the circuit court from a decision of the Board shall not ipso facto act as a supersedeas, but the judge of the circuit court may in his discretion grant a supersedeas upon such terms and conditions as may seem reasonable and proper.
D. At the next term of the circuit court or in chambers, upon 10 days' notice to the parties, the presiding judge of the circuit court of the county shall proceed to hear and pass upon the appeal on the certified record of the Board proceedings. the findings of fact by the Board of Zoning Appeals shall be treated in the same manner as a finding of fact by a jury, and the court may not take additional evidence. In the event the judge determines that the certified record is insufficient for review, the matter may be remanded to the Board of Zoning Appeals for rehearing. In determining the questions presented by the appeal, the court shall determine only whether the decision of the Board is correct as a matter of law.
E. In the event that the decision of the Board is reversed by the circuit court, the Board is charged with the costs, and the costs must be paid by the governing authority, which established the Board of Zoning Appeals.
10.3.7 Appeal to the Supreme Court
A party in interest who is aggrieved by the judgment rendered by the circuit court upon the appeal may appeal in the same manner as provided by law for appeals from other judgments of the circuit court in law cases.