City Commissions and Boards

Zoning Board of Appeals

2nd Monday of the month, 5:00 pm, Mayor's Conference Room

Meetings and Submission Dates for 2014:

 

Meetings and Submission Dates for 2013:

*** Submission Deadlines and Meeting Dates change due to City Hall Holiday observances or scheduling.

Meetings 2012:

 

Meeting Dates 2011:

Meeting Dates 2010:

 

Chair:

Mary Kay Hickey
73 Greenbush St
Cortland, NY 13045

Appointment; term; vacancies; party affiliation; qualifications.

A. The Zoning Board of Appeals as it is presently constituted is hereby reaffirmed as having been established in accordance with the provisions of the General City Law. The Board shall consist of seven members appointed by the Mayor subject to confirmation by the Common Council. All appointments shall be made for a term of three years.

B. Vacancies for the unexpired term of any member shall be filled for such unexpired period only.

C. No person shall be appointed to more than three consecutive full three-year terms.

D. The Mayor shall have the power to remove, after public hearing, any member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for cause. A Board member may be removed for failure to attend three consecutive meetings or for noncompliance with any minimum training requirement established by this chapter.

E. No more than four members of the Board may be enrolled in any one political party.

F. Each member of the Board shall complete a basic qualification program for Zoning Board of Appeals persons within 12 months of appointment and thereafter shall participate annually in a continuing education course to be approved by the Common Council upon the recommendation of the Board.

Organization.

The Board shall hold an annual meeting in January of each year to elect, from its members, a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson to assume the duties of the Chairperson in his absence. Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons shall be elected for a two-year term. No person shall be elected to more than two consecutive terms as Chairperson.

Procedure.

A. The Board shall hold at least one meeting each month and may hold additional meetings at other times at the call of the Chairperson. The Chairperson may cancel any meeting.

B. The presence of four members shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business before the Board.

C. A concurring vote of four members of the Board shall be necessary to decide any matter brought before the Board, except as provided for herein in Subsection E, or unless otherwise provided by law.

D. All votes of the Board shall be taken by roll call.

E. In accordance with General Municipal Law § 239-m, a concurring vote of five members of the Board is necessary to override a recommendation by the Cortland County Planning Board.

F. A motion for the Board to hold a rehearing to review any order, decision or determination of the Board not previously reheard may be made by any member of the Board. A unanimous vote of all members of the Board then present is required for such a rehearing to occur. Upon such rehearing, the Board may reverse, modify or annul its original order, decision or determination upon the unanimous vote of all members then present.

G. In accordance with General Municipal Law § 809, a member of the Board having a conflict of interest shall abstain from any discussion or vote on that matter.

H. The Board may request advice or opinions on the law relating to any matter before it from the Corporation Counsel of the City of Cortland and require the Corporation Counsel to attend its meetings.

I. The Board may require the Zoning Officer or the Code Enforcement Officer to attend its meetings to present any facts relating to any matter before the Board.

J. The Chairperson of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the authority to administer oaths and to compel the attendance of witnesses.

K. The Board shall keep minutes of all its meetings. The City Clerk shall be the secretary to the Board and shall take the minutes.

L. The Board shall make a record of all of its proceedings, including the reading of the case, public hearing, deliberation, voting and decisions of the Board. The record shall be taken by stenographic and/or tape recorder means.

Appeals Procedure.

A. Appeals to the Board may be made by any person or officer, department, board or bureau of the City aggrieved by a decision or order made by the Zoning Officer.

B. Appeals shall be made on appropriate forms supplied by the Zoning Officer and shall include all required information and shall state the grounds for the appeal, which shall be filed with the City Clerk and the Zoning Officer.

C. Appeals shall be made within 60 days of written notification of the decision or order by the Zoning Officer.

D. At the next meeting after receiving a complete application, the Board shall fix a date for the hearing to be held within 62 days.

E. The Board must refer to the Planning Commission any application which involves any of the actions enumerated in § 300-132 and may not render a decision until its report is received or more than 30 days have elapsed since the referral. If the Planning Commission requests an extension of time, such an extension shall be granted and the Board shall defer its decision accordingly.

F. The Board must refer to the Historic District Commission any application which involves any of the actions enumerated in § 300-45 and may not render a decision until its report is received or more than 30 days have elapsed since the referral. If the Historic District Commission requests an extension of time, such an extension shall be granted and the Board shall defer its decision accordingly.

G. The notice of public hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City at least five calendar days prior to the date of the hearing, unless otherwise provided in this chapter, and shall contain the date, time and place of the hearing and the name of the appellant and the relief sought.

H. At least five calendar days prior to the date of the hearing, a notice of the hearing shall be mailed to the appellant and to the owners of property contiguous to the subject property. Such notice shall contain the date, time and place of the hearing and the name of the appellant and the relief sought.

I. Personal knowledge of any of the members of the Board may be used in reaching a decision, provided that such knowledge was openly stated at the hearing and became part of the record of the hearing.

J. On-site inspection by the Board members is encouraged and can be used in making its decision under the following conditions:

(1) The inspection is held prior to the hearing.
(2) Any observation made by any person shall be openly stated and included in the record of the hearing.

K. Every decision of the Board shall be rendered within 62 days after the hearing and shall contain the reasons for its decision. The decision shall be filed with the City Clerk, who shall thereupon mail a copy of the decision to the applicant.

Powers of Board

The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have appellate jurisdiction after due notice and hearing for the following:

A. Under General City Law § 35, it may grant a building permit to a property owner aggrieved by an Official Map of the City adopted under General City Law § 26 and § 29. In this case, a notice of a public hearing must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City 15 days prior to the public hearing. The property owner must show that the property is not yielding a fair return on its value and demonstrate that his request is causing a minimum impact upon the intent of the Official Map.

B. It may grant reasonable exceptions under special circumstances to the prohibitions of General City Law § 36 concerning property without access to public streets.

C. Under General Municipal Law § 239-j, it may grant a building permit to a property owner aggrieved by an Official Map of the county adopted under General Municipal Law § 239-k.

Editor's Note: General Municipal Law §§ 239-j, relating to permits for buildings in rights-of-way or sites preserved by the Official Map, and 239-k, relating to regulations for control of development, were repealed by L.1997, c. 451, § 2, effective 7-1-1998. See now General Municipal Law §§ 239-e and 239-f.In this case, a majority vote of 2/3 is required. The property owner must show that the property is not yielding a fair return on its value and that the building will have a minor impact upon the intent of the Official Map.

D. It may decide any question involving the intent of any provision of this chapter, including the determination of the exact location of any district boundary if there is uncertainty with respect thereto.

E. It may review any decision or order made by the Zoning Officer.

F. It may grant area variances subject to the applicable provisions of Article XV of this chapter.

G. It may grant use variances subject to the applicable provisions of Article XV of this chapter.