Zoning Board of Appeals
Town Of Kirkwood Zoning Board of Appeals
70 Crescent Drive
Kirkwood, NY 13795
Chairperson: Duane Travis
Secretary: Mary Kay Sullivan
Peter M. Maciak
Ad Hoc Members
Scheduled Meetings: Third Monday of each Month, 7:00 PM
The Zoning Board of Appeals is a five member “quasi-judicial” board comprised of Town of Kirkwood residents appointed by the Town of Kirkwood Town Board. It is the function of the Zoning Board of Appeals to give applicants permission to do something contrary to the Zoning Regulations, provided the applicant provides sufficient evidence to justify the variance. The Board of Appeals has the legal power to issue “use” and “area” variances, and also resolve issues concerning disagreements with the decision of the Building Official. The Zoning Board of Appeals also is the body that interprets the meaning of the Zoning Ordinance.
What is an Area and Use Variance?
An Area variance seeks relief of the Zoning Ordinance of a dimensional nature, such as setback requirements, lot coverage, and square footage requirements, number of off street parking etc. According to the guidelines published by the New York State Department of State, Courts have held that area variances may be granted if the applicant proves “practical difficulties.”
A Use variance gives permission to the applicant to use the property contrary to the uses permitted in the Zoning Ordinance.
For complete New York State and Town regulations please contact the Town Building Office.
How can I apply for a Variance?
In most cases, in order for applicants to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals, they have to be formally denied permission by an Administrative Officer of the Town of Kirkwood. In most cases, the denial of a Building Permit or a Certificate of Occupancy will allow you to apply for the necessary variances.
In order to be denied for a building permit, the applicant is required to submit a plot plan drawn to scale showing the existing and proposed building(s) and structure(s) on the property. Construction plans will also be required showing what the proposal will look like when completed. For commercial uses parking areas, landscaping, and drainage plans will also be required. Plans are submitted to the Town of Kirkwood Building Department for review. The staff will also assist you in preparing your application for necessary variances.
What happens after I file my request?
The Board of Appeals schedules a preliminary hearing with the applicant as soon as its’ schedule permits. The meetings are held the third Monday evening of each month starting at 7:00 PM. It is necessary for the applicant or agent representing them to be present during the preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing is held to familiarize the applicant with the Zoning Board and for the Zoning Board to familiarize itself with the applicants’ requests. In many instances, the case is referred to the Broome County Planning Department, and the Town of Kirkwood Planning Board for recommendations.
The review process may take up to thirty days at the Broome County Planning Department. A public hearing will be scheduled on your variance request as the Board of Appeals schedule permits. A public hearing notice is printed in the Press-Sun Bulletin (at the applicant’s expense) a week prior to the hearing. The public hearing is a formal hearing and the testimony is taken verbatim. The Board of Appeals will make a decision of the applicants’ request as soon as it has enough information to vote on the request.
Reasons for a denied Building Permit Request
In most cases, it was probably one (or more) of these reasons your request was denied:
- The Town of Kirkwood Zoning Ordinance, as with other ordinances, requires certain setbacks from property lines to structure(s) on the lot. Also accessory structures (garages, pools, storage sheds, etc.) have to be a minimum distance from the principal structure on the lot. In many cases, the existing structure(s) on the lot do not meet the current ordinance.
- Each parcel of land in the Town of Kirkwood is zoned based on a comprehensive master plan. It is possible that the current or proposed use of the parcel does not conform to the current zoning of the lot. It is possible for a residence to be located on a commercially zoned parcel, which is not permitted under the current Zoning Laws.
- The Building Inspector/Ordinance Control Officer has to enforce the Zoning Ordinance as he reads it. It may be possible for you to read the same section of the Ordinance and disagree with the inspector’s ruling.
When Can I start building?
If the Zoning Board passes your request you are then eligible to apply for a building permit.
If my request was denied, can I apply again?
If the Board of Appeals denies your request, you can re-file an application with the Board of Appeals based on evidence not submitted at the original hearing. However, all Board Members present at the time of reviewing your rehearing request must vote in favor of reopening the hearing.
The other option is to appeal the decision to the State Supreme Court in Broome County.