What Does the Board of Zoning Appeals Do

The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) is charged with being an entity where decisions made by the Planning Official can be heard. The BZA also serves in to hear Conditional Use and Variance petitions. The BZA is only applicable within zoned areas of the county. They do not administer BZA specifications outside of the zoned areas.  

Board of Zoning Appeals are enabled through West Virginia State Code Chapter 8A, Article 8.

Committee Duties

Being a member of the BZA comes with a host of duties:

  1. Be present for all meetings. We understand that this is a voluntary position, but you must be able to attend meetings. At the very least this allows us to meet quorum requirements.
  2. Review any packet information prior to meetings. This will usually be sent out a week in advance of the meeting.
  3. Approve or deny items based on what is best for the county or municipality, not a specific group, ie. What is great for a developer might have huge negative impacts for county or municipality infrastructure.B

In addition, the BZA is responsible for hearing certain actionable items:

  1. Administrative Appeals – An advanced determination of a prior Planning Staff decision.
  2. Variance – For use when situations arise not of the making of the property owner, ie. Undersized or uniquely shaped parcel.
  3. Conditional Use Permit – Certain uses aren’t automatically disagreeable with a particular zoning district, but may require a closer look to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect the surrounding community, ie. A cemetery isn’t necessary bad, but placement adjacent to a school might create issues with enjoyment of either site. 
  4. Other – Zoning is constantly changing and evolving and thus BZA actionable items may also grow.

WV 8A Requirements

Within West Virginia, State Code 8A - Land Use Planning, outlines the requirements of the County BZA. Per their requirements:

  1. Members must reside within the areas of the county/municipality which are zoned.
  2. The Committee must consist of 5 members.
  3. All members must be residents for 3 plus years prior to joining the Committee. In cases where only part of the county is zoned, they must be residents for 3 plus years in that particular area. All areas of a municipality are required to be zoned.
  4. BZA Committee members CANNOT be a member of the MCPC or hold any other elective/appointive office in the county government.
  5. BZA Committee members must meet at least quarterly.
  6. BZA Committees must elect a chair and vice chair to act in the chair’s stead.
  7. Keep accurate/complete record of proceedings including audio recordings.