Board of Adjustment is no more

Image: Appeal Authority Chart

Appeal Authority Chart (Smithfield City)

The Board of Adjustment was disbanded Wednesday evening by the Smithfield City Council. In it’s place are the Appeal Authorities — an individual, board and council designated to appeal city decisions. Jim Gass presented a chart (above) showing which decisions will be appealed by which Appeal Authority. “Eighty percent of the time the appeal will go to the administrative officer,” said Gass.

The Appeal Authority Officer is an independent individual hired by the city for the sole purpose of hearing appeals. Other cities have usually hired a lawyer familiar with the land use laws covered by the new appeal ordinance. This officer will hear appeals for matters like:

  • rezoning
  • vehicle access
  • nonconforming uses
  • final subdivision plats
  • zone boundary interpretations
  • lot conformity
  • kennel permits

For specific decisions such as conditional use permits or grazing permits, appeals are made to the city council or planning commission.

Gass pointed out that three types of appeals can only be made in District Court — amending the general plan, amending the land use ordinance (like the council just did), and appealing a variance decision by the appeal officer. In changing the general plan or the land use ordinance the city has to legislate the action and by state law only the district court can overturn city legislation. In the case of a variance, the appeals officer must go by the law. In order to overturn the law limiting the variance, an appeal must also go through district court.

Police station financing

A resolution to lease the new police station was approved. Gass presented how the city would benefit from leasing the new police station.

First, they will pay off the fire station lease. Currently $273,855 is owed for the fire station. They will use capital funds to pay that lease off. The lease payment for the fire station was $47,000.

Second, they will accept the $500,000 lease for the new police department. The monthly payment for the police station lease is expected to be $48,000. By paying off the old lease and accepting the new one the city only uses half the money from their capital funds ($274,000 vs $500,000) while only increasing the monthly lease payment by $1000.

Stone Haven PUD

The council approved a request by Ryan Rogers to change the plat for the Stone Haven PUD. He said the one-car garage units were not selling as well as the two-car units. They wish to complete the development using only the two-car garage units.