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BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
1101. MembershipA Board consisting of five (5) members shall be appointed by the Circuit Court of the County of Bedford. The term of office of the members of the Board shall be for five (5) years each except that original appointment shall have been made for such terms that the term of one member shall expire each year.
1101.02 Public Offices Held. No member shall hold any public office; however, one (1) may be a member of the Commission.
1102. Rules of ProcedureThe Board shall observe the following procedures:
1102.02. Said Board shall elect a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary from its own membership who shall serve annual terms as such and may succeed themselves.
1102.03. Said Board shall keep a full public record of its proceedings and shall submit a report of its activities to the Bedford City Council at least once each year.
1102.04. All meetings of said Board shall be open to the public.
1102.05. Any member of said Board shall be disqualified to act upon a matter before said Board with respect to property in which the member has an interest.
1102.06. The meetings of said Board shall be held at the call of the Chairman and at such other times as a quorum of said Board may determine.
1102.07. The Chairman, or in his absence the Vice-Chairman or acting Chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses.
1102.08. A quorum shall be at least three (3) members.
1102.09. A favorable vote of three (3) members of said Board shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision, or determination of any administrative official or to decide in favor of the applicant on any matter upon which said Board is required to pass.
1103. Duties and Powers of the Board of Zoning AppealsThe Board of Zoning Appeals shall have the following duties and powers:
1103.02. To authorize upon appeal in specific cases such variance from the terms of the Ordinance as will not be contrary to the public interest, when owing to special conditions a literal enforcement of the provisions will result in unnecessary hardship; provided that the spirit of the Ordinance shall be observed and substantial justice done as follows:
b. No such variance shall be authorized by the Board unless it finds: (1) that the strict application of the Ordinance would produce hardship; (2) that such hardship is not shared generally by other properties in the same district and the same vicinity; and (3) that the authorization of such variance will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property and that the character of the district will not be changed by the granting of the variance.
c. No such variance shall be authorized except after notice and hearing as required by Section 15.1-431 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended.
d. No variance shall be authorized unless the Board finds that the condition or situation of the property concerned or the intended use of the property is not of so general or recurring a nature as to make reasonable practicable the formulation of a general regulation to be adopted as an amendment to the Ordinance.
e. In authorizing a variance the Board may impose such conditions regarding the location, character, and other features of the proposed structure for use as it may deem necessary to the public interest, and may require a guarantee or bond to insure that the conditions imposed are being and will continue to be complied with.
f. Once a variance has been authorized for a change in lot dimension, location and size of proposed structures or yard dimensions, the lot, and any existing or proposed structures shall be considered in conformance with zoning requirements. Subsequent improvements to such lot or property that are in conformance with the zoning requirements of the area, and the minimum requirements of the City of Bedford shall not require an additional variance.
g. No sign variance shall be given for the purpose of meeting a business, firm or tenantís logo or message national standard or design.
1104. Procedure for Requesting a Hearing Before the Board of Zoning Appeals.Requests for as hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals for an administrative review or a variance shall observe the following procedures:
1104.02. Applications for appeal shall be submitted to the Zoning Administrator who shall refer the application to the Board; such applications shall specify the grounds for appeal.
1104.03. Applications for appeal shall be accompanied by a statement signed by the person requesting the appeal or his designated representative, that the owner or owners, their agent or the occupant, of all abutting property and property immediately across the street or road from the property affected have been notified of the request. Notice of the request sent by first class mail to the last know address of such owner of the adjoining property as shown on the current real estate tax assessment book shall be deemed adequate compliance with this requirement. Such notice shall contain a statement notifying the owner of the property to contact the Zoning Administrator for information concerning the request. Such notice shall also contain the name and address of the Zoning Administrator.
1104.04. The Zoning Administrator shall send application to the Commission, which may send a recommendation to the Board or appear as a party at the hearing.
1104.05. When applicable, an application shall be accompanied by an acceptable site plan as specified in Section 1002.02 of this Ordinance.
1104.06. Each application for an appeal shall be accompanied by payment of a fee as required by Section 1401 to help defray the cost of publicizing and conducting the public hearing.
1104.07. The Board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of appeals or other matters referred to said Board; the Board shall consider appeals after notice and hearing as required by Section 15.1-431 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, and decide the same within sixty (60) days from the date of such public hearing
1104.08. An appeal shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from unless the Zoning Administrator certifies to the Board that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would in his opinion cause imminent peril to life or property, in which case proceedings shall not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order granted by the Board or by a Court of Record, on application and on notice to the Zoning Administrator and for good cause shown.
1104.09. In exercising the powers granted the Board in Section 1103 of this Ordinance, the said Board may, in conformity with the provisions of this Ordinance, reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the order, requirements, decisions, or determination of the Zoning Administrator and to that end shall have all the powers of the Zoning Administrator and may issue or direct the issuance of a Zoning Permit.
1104.10. A property owner, or his appointed agent, shall not initiate action for a hearing before the Board relating to the same parcel of land more often than once every twelve (12) months without specific approval of the Board.
1104.11. Any petition for a hearing before the Board may be withdrawn prior to action thereon by said Board at the discretion of the person, firm, or corporation initiating such a request upon written notice to the Secretary of said Board.
1104.12. The applicant shall post a sign approved by the Zoning Administrator, notifying the public of the requested zoning change on the property for which the request has been received. A sign shall be posted for at least ten (10) days prior to the required public hearing. The applicant must in all cases notify the adjoining and adjacent property owners according to the procedures outlined in the Code of Virginia, as may be amended.
1105. Decision of Board of Zoning Appeals
1105.02. Upon the presentation of such petition, the Court shall allow a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the Board and shall prescribe therein the time within which a return thereto must be made and served upon the realtor's attorney, which shall not be less than ten (10) days and may be extended by the Court. The allowance of the writ shall not stay proceedings upon the decision appealed from, but the Court may, on application, on notice to the Board, and on due cause shown, grant a restraining order.
1105.03. The Board shall not be required to return the original papers acted upon by it, but it shall be sufficient to return certified or sworn copies thereof of such portions thereof as may be called for by such writ. The return shall concisely set forth such other facts as may be pertinent and material to show the grounds of the decision appealed from and shall be verified.
1105.04. If, upon the hearing, it shall appear to the court that testimony is necessary for the proper disposition of the matter, it may take evidence or appoint a commissioner to take such evidence as it may direct and report the same to the court with his findings of fact and conclusions of law, which shall constitute a part of the proceedings upon which the determination of the court shall be made. The court may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify the decision brought up for review.
1105.05. Costs shall not be allowed against the board, unless it shall appear to the court that it acted in bad faith or with malice in making the decision appealed from.