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ZONING :: BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

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bullet What is the Zoning Board of Adjustment?
bullet Special Exceptions and Variances
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THE ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
The Zoning Board of Adjustment is a nine member board appointed by City Council. The main purposes of the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) are to provide a “release valve” for those situations where literal enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance may impose unnecessary hardship, and to grant special exceptions that ensure that the City may develop in accordance with the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance, so that land may be fully utilized for a lawful purpose, and that substantial justice may be done. This is achieved by hearing cases for Special Exceptions and Variances. The specific Powers and Duties of the Zoning Board of Adjustment are listed below.

Special Exceptions
There are certain listed uses that may be allowed within the city, designated as special exceptions. Given the nature of these uses, they are allowed provided that an applicant come to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, show where the use will take place on a plan, and that the Board finds that the use will be compatible with the site and will not diminish the stability of adjacent properties. Article XVIII of the Zoning Ordinance lists the Special Exceptions allowed.

Variances
Variances allow for adjustments to specific Zoning Ordinance requirements, owing to special and unique conditions, where the literal enforcement of the ordinance provisions result in an unnecessary hardship. When a lot differs from other lots in the same district by being of such restricted area, shape or slope that it cannot be developed in a manner commensurate with the development permitted upon other lots in the same district, a variance can be sought. It is important to understand that a variance shall not be granted to relieve a self-created or personal hardship, nor for financial reason only.


SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS AND VARIANCES

The following section is a compilation of material from the City of Arlington Zoning Ordinance on Special Exceptions and Variances. The copied sections of the ZONING Chapter of the Code of the City of Arlington, Texas are provided digitally solely for the public's convenience. The Code Provisions contained herein are NOT the Official Code Of The City Of Arlington, Texas. You are urged to verify the current status and wording or content of any code provision contained in this version against the Official Code of the City of Arlington, Texas before relying on any provision. While the most current version of the ZONING Chapter was placed in this document when it was prepared, the provisions thereof may have since been revised by the Arlington City Council. The Official Code of the City of Arlington, Texas is retained in the City Secretary's Office and may be viewed during regular business hours. Current copies of the City of Arlington Code Provisions may be obtained from the City of Arlington, Texas.

 

 

Section 5-600 Special Exceptions

A. Purpose
Certain uses are classified as Special Exceptions and may be permitted in designated districts when specifically authorized by this Ordinance after approval by the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Article XVIII identifies authorized Special Exceptions. Such Special Exceptions may be granted in order that the City may develop, in accordance with the intent and purpose of this Ordinance, so that land may be fully utilized for a lawful purpose, and that substantial justice may be done.
B. Action by the Zoning Board of Adjustment

1. The Zoning Board of Adjustment is authorized to hear and decide listed special exception requests which comply with conditions imposed by this Ordinance (Article XVIII). The Zoning Board of Adjustment will consider the request based on public testimony and the staff recommendations.
2. In reaching a decision on any application for a Special Exception, the Board shall determine:

a. that the requested exception will establish only those uses permitted under the ordinance;
b. that the location of proposed activities and improvements are clearly defined on a site plan filed by the applicant; and,
c. that the exception will be wholly compatible with the use and permitted development of adjacent properties either as filed or subject to such requirements as the Board may find necessary to protect and maintain the stability of adjacent properties.
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Section 18-100 Special Exceptions
Certain uses are classified as special exceptions and may be permitted in designated districts when specifically authorized by this section after approval by the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Such special exceptions may be granted in order that the City may develop, in accordance with the intent and purpose of this ordinance, that land may be fully utilized for a lawful purpose, and that substantial justice may be done.
 

 

Section 18-200 Authorized Special Exceptions
The following uses may be allowed as special exceptions in the districts specified, subject to full and complete compliance with all conditions herein provided, together with such other conditions as the Board may impose.
 

Special Exception District Requiring
Board Approval
A. Offsite advertising and development signs.
Conditions:

1. The use of this special exception shall be limited to the purpose of directing persons to new residential subdivisions.
2. Signs shall not be placed within 660 feet of a state or federally controlled limited access freeway or in a "BP" prefixed zoning district. (Amend Ord 96-72, 5/14/96)
3. The maximum size and height shall be 150 square feet in area and 20 feet in height for offsite advertising signs, and 200 square feet in area and 25 feet in height for offsite development signs. Signs may be of any construction type allowed by this ordinance.
4. Signs shall not be placed within 200 feet of any other sign, including wall signs.
5. Signs shall be located on vacant lots if the property is commercially zoned.
6. The Board shall place a time limit on the sign.
7. A maximum of two offsite development signs may be allowed by the Board. Each offsite development sign granted by the Board will substitute for one onsite development sign allowed by Section 16-2300. (Amend Ord 95-41, 4/25/95)
All districts
B. Sand and gravel extraction, temporary only, with duration set by the Board; the Board shall require safeguards to ensure restoration of land surface to a maintainable condition.
All districts
C. Canopy, portico or covered walkway in required yard; churches, schools and institutional uses only.
All districts
D. Electronic Message Center Sign
Conditions: In compliance with Article XVI, Sign Standards. (Amend Ord 96-72, 5/14/96)
All Districs except as permitted by right for major tourist attractions in the Festival District
E. Outside display of finished products for a time period exceeding 1 day when those products are screened as defined by this ordinance. The use of this special exception is not intended to be outside storage and is limited to businesses where a functioning display of a product is essential to the operation of the related business. The outside display:

1. shall not pose any threat to public health or welfare; and shall not violate any City ordinance or State law related to public health or welfare;
2. shall be limited to the minimum number of units necessary to demonstrate the use of a product;
3. shall not be located within a required side or rear setback;
4. shall not be located between the front property line and the projected face of the building;
"NS" - "B"
F. The deferred construction of up to 20% of the required parking for office buildings of at least 30,000 square feet for one year, provided the area otherwise required for such parking facilities is maintained in grassed, open space (or more enhanced landscaping as deemed appropriate by ZBA). Upon application, the Zoning Board of Adjustment may extend this special exception for additional one year periods.
Conditions:

1. A site plan must be submitted and approved, clearly indicating:

a. the total required parking facilities;
b. parking facilities whose construction is deferred;
c. the general character and location of landscape materials to be placed within the area reserved for deferred parking facilities; and,
d. adequacy of onsite traffic circulation and ingress/egress to the site for all required parking facilities.
2. A letter of intent to install the required parking when the special exception expires or is terminated must be submitted to Building Inspections to be filed with the Certificate of Occupancy. Required parking shall be installed within 120 days after the special exception expires or is terminated.
"NS - IM"
G. Additional signage for new car dealerships: One additional pole or ground sign shall be permitted for new dealerships selling more than one new car product line from the same building under the following conditions:
 

1. The lot on which the dealerships are located has greater than 399 feet of street frontage along a single street;
2. Each sign is specifically limited to advertising new car lines;
3. The minimum spacing between signs shall be 150 feet;
4. No product line or tenant can be displayed on more than one sign;
5. The use of this special exception cannot be authorized in combination with a multi-tenant sign;
6. The size of each sign shall be the same as what may be permitted for a single sign based on sign type and street frontage;
7. On controlled access freeways, one sign of the two signs may be 150 square feet in area (Note: See Section 16-900(A)(1)© for 50 foot height and other requirements).
All districts
H. Porte-cochere, covered walkway or canopy in required street frontage building setback under the following conditions:

1. The structure shall not exceed 25' in width at the building line;
2. The structure must serve to cover the walkway or valet parking area; and
3. Approval shall be based on the Board's finding that the structure will not adversely affect neighboring properties.
MF14,"MF18"
"MF22","O","NS"
"CS","B"
"LI","IM"
I. Required offstreet parking for permitted nonresidential uses in the "E", "R", "R1", "R2", "TH", "D", "MF14", "MF18" and "MF22" districts and for permitted uses in all other districts shall be provided on the lot or tract occupied by the principal use, upon a portion of said lot or tract which is contained in the same zoning district as the principal use. The Board may permit a parking facility to accommodate either required or additional off-premise parking, as a special exception, under such regulations and conditions as the Board may deem advisable, when:

1. The proposed parking facility is on a platted lot within 300' of the principal use property; and
2. The principal use is located in an "E", "R", "R1", "R2", "TH", "MF14", "MF18" or "MF22" district and the proposed parking facility is located in one of such districts; or,
3. The principal use is required by this ordinance to be located in an "O" or less restrictive district and the proposed parking facility is located in the same or a more intensive district in which the use is first permitted. (Amend Ord 95-135, 10/3/95)
 
J. Installation of new motor vehicle parts and accessories, including tires, telephones, sound equipment and window tinting and/or motor vehicle repair as an incidental use to retail sales:
Conditions:

1. Installation/repair areas including service bays shall not exceed 20% of the gross floor area of the related tenant space.
2. Spray painting, body work, dismantling, remanufacturing and rebuilding are not permitted.
3. Service bays facing a public street or residential use shall be screened to a height of at least eight feet (8'). (Amend Ord 95-11,1/10/95)
"F"
K. Building elements spanning public street rights-of-way.

1. The use of this special exception is intended for connecting buildings with an enclosure to convey persons or materials across a public street.
2. No structural supports shall be located in rights-of-way.
3. An agreement must be executed with the City prior to permitting for the use of right-of-way.
4. Compliance with any other condition which the Board may impose. (Amend Ord 95-41, 4/25/95)
O,"NS","CS", "B","LI","IM"
"BP","F"
 
L. Temporary Asphalt or Concrete Batch Plant
All districts
M.  Temporary Carnival, Circus or Amusement Ride (Amend Ord 01-010, 2/20/01)
DB, "F", "NS", "CS","B" districts
N. Wall signs on an exterior façade wall not immediately abutting the tenant space or business that it advertises.
Conditions:

1. The wall sign shall be placed only on the top or bottom floor of the same elevation as the tenant space or business that it advertises, and only if there is no building identification sign on that elevation, and there are no other wall signs in place between the relocated wall sign and the first floor.
2. The permitted size of the wall sign shall not exceed the size of the sign that would have been allowed by right on the wall immediately abutting the tenant space or business that it advertises. However, in no case shall the wall sign exceed 75% of the width of the requested location.
3. A tenant who locates a wall sign consistent with these provisions shall not be allowed to place any additional wall sign(s) that would be allowed by right, or otherwise, under this Ordinance on the same elevation.
4. A letter of permission from the building owner or his designee shall be submitted to the Building Official prior to issuance of a permit for the wall sign. (Amend Ord 02-094, 8/27/02)
 
O. Masonry Coverage: In order to allow for the development of neo-traditional neighborhoods, cementitious fiberboard or wood may be used as the primary, exterior building material provided that at least 3 of the following features are integrated into the design of the primary structure:

1. Variation in street facing facades through either vertical or horizontal breaks in the wall plane of at least 12";
2. Variation in the roofline of at least 12";
3. Enhanced window treatments on street-facing facades (such as accent materials, shutters, window box-outs);
4. Covered front porch; or
5. Enhanced entryway details (such as materials, pilasters, decorative sconces, or ground mounted accent lights).
E, "R","R1", "R2"
P. Minimum Gross Living Area:  Minimum gross living area may be reduced to 1,000 square feet for homes in subdivisions that are platted or replatted after the effective date of this ordinance if:

1. The subdivision is less than 2 acres in size;
2. Contains 10 or fewer dwelling units;
3. Is adjoined on at least two sides by existing development; and
4. The proposed development is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood with respect to lot size, house size and setbacks. (Amend Ord 02-121, 11/12/02)
E, "R", "R1", "R2"
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Section 5-100 Procedures and General Applicability

B. Action by Decision-making Bodies. In any zoning change, amendment to this Ordinance, specific use permit, or development plan decision, the Planning and Zoning Commission makes a recommendation to the City Council who has final authority. The Zoning Administrator has the authority to make minor modifications to the zoning districts in accordance with this ordinance. The Planning and Zoning Commission may approve Substitute Plans found in compliance with the spirit and intent of this ordinance. The decision of the Commission on Substitute Plans may be appealed to the City Council as authorized by this Ordinance. Special Exceptions, variances and appeals are only considered by the Zoning Board of Adjustment who has final authority. Refer to the chart at the end of this Article. (Amend Ord 98-148, 11/17/98)
 


Section 5-700 Variances 

A. Purpose. To allow for an adjustment of a specific Zoning Ordinance requirement, here owing to special and unique conditions, the literal enforcement of the ordinance provisions result in an unnecessary hardship. The Board of Adjustment shall not have the authority to grant use variances.
B. Board of Adjustment Decision. The Board of Adjustment shall review the application and the recommendation of the Building Official and shall conduct a public hearing on the application. The Board may decide to permit such variance of the front setback, side setback, rear setback, lot width, lot depth, minimum setback standards, off-street parking or off-street loading regulations where the literal enforcement of the provisions of this ordinance would result in an unnecessary hardship, and where such variance is necessary to permit a specific lot which differs from other lots in the same district by being of such restricted area, shape or slope that it cannot be developed in a manner commensurate with the development permitted upon other lots in the same district. A modification of the standards established by this ordinance shall not be granted to relieve a self-created or personal hardship, nor for financial reason only, nor shall such modification be granted to permit any person a privilege in developing a parcel of land not permitted by this Ordinance to other parcels of land in the same district. Following the public hearing, the Board will reach a final decision granting a variance only if the applicant demonstrates:
1. That the request is not contrary to the public interest so that the spirit of the ordinance is observed and substantial justice done.
2. That there is some unique characteristics associated with the site.
3. That the hardship is not self-created or personal, nor is solely based on financial reasons.
C. Limitation on Reapplication. No application to the Board for a variance shall be allowed on the same piece of property prior to the expiration of six months from a previous ruling by the Board on any application to such body unless other property in the immediate vicinity has, within the six months period, been changed or acted on by the Board or City Council so as to alter the facts and conditions on which the previous Board action was based. Such change of circumstances shall permit the rehearing of an application by the Board prior to the expiration of a six months period, but such conditions shall in no way have any force in law to compel the Board, after a hearing, to grant a subsequent appeal. Such subsequent appeal shall be considered entirely on its merits and the peculiar and specific conditions related to the property on which the appeal is brought.
D. Appeal to Board of Adjustment Decision. Any appeal to a Board decision must be made to a Court of Record within ten days of the decision.
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Section 3-300 Zoning Board of Adjustment

A. Powers and Duties. In addition to any authority granted to the Board of Adjustment by state law or other ordinances of the City, the Board of Adjustment shall have the following powers and duties under the provisions of these regulations:
1. To hear and decide special exceptions to the terms of the ordinance upon which the Board is required to pass under this ordinance.
2. To authorize upon appeal in special cases such variances from the terms of the ordinance as will not be contrary to the public interest, where, owing to special conditions, the literal enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance will result in unnecessary hardship, so that the spirit of this ordinance shall be observed and substantial justice done.
3. To permit such variance of the street frontage setback, side setback, rear setback, lot width, lot depth, minimum setback standards, off-street parking or off-street loading regulations where the literal enforcement of the provisions of this ordinance would result in an unnecessary hardship, and where such variance is necessary to permit a specific lot which differs from other lots in the same district by being of such restricted area, shape or slope that it cannot be developed in a manner commensurate with the development permitted upon other lots in the same district. A modification of the standards established by this ordinance shall not be granted to relieve a self-created or personal hardship, nor for financial reason only, nor shall such modification be granted to permit any person a privilege in developing a parcel of land not permitted by this ordinance to other parcels of land in the same district.
4. To initiate, on its motion or otherwise, action to bring about the discontinuance of a nonconforming use in accordance with (5) below.
5. To require the discontinuance of a nonconforming use under any plan whereby full value of the structure or use can be amortized within a definite period of time, taking into consideration the general character of the neighborhood and the necessity for all property to conform to the regulations of this ordinance.
6. To interpret the intent of the Zoning Map where uncertainty exists and none of the rules set forth in Article II apply.
7. To approve the use of a lot for off-street parking of vehicles as provided in Section 18-200(J) hereof.
8. To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of this ordinance.
9. In exercising its powers, the Board may, in conformity with the provisions of Chapter 211 of the Local Government Code, revise or reform, wholly or partly, or may modify the order, requirement, decision or determination as ought to be made and shall have all the powers of the officer from whom the appeal is taken.
B. Membership, Appointment and Term of Office
1.  Membership. The Board of Adjustment shall consist of nine (9) members. In addition, four (4) alternate members shall be appointed, who shall serve in the absence of one or more of the regular members of the Board when requested to do so by the Zoning Administrator, or her designee, so that all cases to be heard by the Board will always be heard by at least seven (7) members. (Amend Ord 02-095, 8/27/02)
2.  Appointment and Term of Office. The Mayor and each City Council member shall nominate a member with confirmation by majority vote of the City Council in accordance with the City of Arlington Boards and Commissions Policy Statement. In addition, there shall be four (4) alternates with the Mayor and each at-large City Council member nominating an alternate with confirmation by majority vote of the City Council. Each of the nine (9) seats for the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be assigned a Place number ranging from one to nine. Members shall serve at the will and pleasure of the City Council. The terms of office for the membership shall be two (2) years, not to exceed three (3) full terms. (Amend Ord 04-047, 5/11/04)
3.  Officers. The members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall organize and elect their own officers, except the Chairman who is appointed by City Council.
4.  Vacancies. Vacancies shall be filled with a suitable person to serve out the unexpired term of any member whose place on the Board has become vacant for any cause. (Amend Ord 96-72, 5/14/96)
C. Meetings, Hearings and Procedures.
1. General. All meetings of the Board shall be open to the public and shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in these regulations and rules of procedure adopted by the Board of Adjustment.
2. Rules of Procedure. The Board may adopt rules governing its proceedings, not inconsistent with this ordinance.
3. Meetings. Meetings of the Board shall be held at the call of the chairman and at such other times as the Board or Zoning Administrator may determine. The chairman or, in his absence, the acting chairman, may administer oath and compel the attendance of witnesses. (Amend Ord 02-095, 8/27/02)
4. Voting. The concurring vote of seven (7) members of the Board shall be necessary to revise any order, requirement, decision or determination of any such administrative official, or to decide in favor of the application on any matter upon which it is required to pass under this ordinance or to effect any variance in said ordinance. (Amend Ord 95-163, 11/14/95)
5. Minutes. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or, if a member is absent or fails to vote, indicate such fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed in the office of the Board and shall be public record. The office of the Zoning Administrator is hereby designated as the office of the Board and shall have the duty of care, custody and control of the records of the Board. (Amend Ord 02-095, 8/27/02)
D. Appeals from Board Decisions. Any person or persons, jointly or severally, aggrieved by any decision of the Board, or any taxpayer or any officer, department, or board of the City may present to a court of record a petition, duly verified, setting forth that such decision is illegal, in whole or in part, specifying the grounds of the illegality. Such petition shall be presented to the court within ten days after the filing of the decision in the office of the Board.
 

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