Boards & Commissions

City Board of Zoning Appeals

City Board of Zoning Appeals Rules & Procedures

Rule 1. Meetings

The Board of Zoning Appeals will meet regularly on the last Friday of each month and shall begin its meetings at 1:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of the County City Building. The date, time and/or place of any regular meeting can be changed by the Chairperson or by the Chairperson upon the request of any two members of the Board.

Rule 2. Agenda

A Written agenda of the matters to come before the board will be prepared by the Planning Department and mailed to all Board members and known interested parties seven days prior to the public hearing. Items not on the agenda will not be heard by the Board unless by unanimous vote of the members present, it determines that an emergency exists and that the public interest dictates that the matter be heard. Items not on the agenda may only be heard by the Board if legal requirements regarding notice are satisfied.

The matters shall be heard in the order that the items appear on the agenda, however, the Chairperson may adjust the order of the agenda unless a majority of the members in attendance decides otherwise. In the event that an agenda item which is set for public hearing is adjusted to an earlier time on the agenda, the public hearing on that item will remain open at least until its previously scheduled time in order to assure an opportunity for all interested persons to present testimony. Upon a majority vote of the Board members (three votes) an item which has not previously been placed on the agenda shall be included on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Rule 3. Notice

Legal notice of all agenda items requiring such legal notice shall be given in accordance with law. In addition, the board will endeavor to give written notice to all persons whose property is subject to Board action, at least on week prior to the date of the public hearing. In addition, the Board will make reasonable efforts to inform the public of the agenda through news media.

Rule 4. Nature of Testimony

The role and function of the Board of Zoning Appeals is to conduct public hearings and issue rulings on the following:

  1. Appeals of orders, decisions, and determinations by administrative officers concerning the Lincoln Municipal Zoning Code;
  2. Petitions for zoning variances;
  3. Petitions for zoning exceptions;
  4. Petitions for variances and exceptions relative to airport zoning.

All of the above are subject to the jurisdictional bases and limitations set forth in the Lincoln Municipal Charter, the Lincoln Municipal Code, and the Nebraska Revised Statutes. Due to the judicial nature of the Board, all speakers before the Board shall be sworn in prior to giving testimony.

All applications to the Board shall contain a statement of the jurisdictional basis upon which the application is made, and shall state the name of the real party or parties in interest.

Testimony before the Board shall be relevant to the jurisdictional basis upon which the application is made. Other forms of communication or documentation such as written statements, drawings, photographs, or recordings may be submitted in support or opposition to an agenda item and may be submitted to the Board at the public hearing or may or may accompany the application when filed. Material and testimony submitted should be as factual as possible. The Board may ask questions of person testifying. There shall, however, be no cross examination or direct questioning in front of the Board between proponents and opponents. All questions and testimony shall be directed to the Board. A copy of Rules 4 and 5 should be distributed to each applicant at the time the agenda is mailed to the applicant.

Rule 5. Presentation of Testimony

The applicant or the applicant's representative will be requested to present his or testimony first. Other persons who support the application will then be allowed to testify, followed by those persons who oppose the application. The applicant or the applicant's representative will then be given an opportunity for a brief rebuttal, after which the public hearing will be closed.

Each person should first state his or her name and address and, if that person is appearing as a representative of another, the person should state the nature of his or her representative capacity. Each person should present the reasons why the application should or should not be granted, relative to the Board's jurisdiction.

Five minutes is the preferred maximum for each individual's testimony. The Chairperson may grant additional time for items of major significance, upon request.

It is requested that large groups in attendance choose one or two representatives to present the arguments for the entire group. The representatives may have the group stand to give the Board an idea of the number of persons sharing similar views. It should be recognized, however, that Board is interested in factual information rather than a show of popular support for a particular viewpoint.

Individual speakers should not repeat testimony previously given. The Chairperson shall reserve the right to discontinue repetitious or irrelevant testimony.

Any member of the Board may call upon the City staff for assistance or comments at any time during the proceedings.

Rule 6. Withdrawal or Deferral

Any matter which has been advertised for public hearing may be withdrawn or deferred prior to preparation of the agenda, approximately 8 days prior to the scheduled Board meeting. Once the agenda has been prepared, items may be withdrawn or deferred only with the approval of the Chairperson.

If the applicant requests a deferral after the preparation of the agenda, then such deferral shall be for a period of to be determined by the Chairperson, however, a majority of the board members present may determine a different deferral period.

Rule 7. Administrative Action

At the conclusion of all public hearings, the Board will take administrative action on all items appearing on the agenda. The administrative portion of the meeting shall be open to the public but there shall be no testimony or other input from the public unless otherwise determined by the Board. During administrative action, the Board may request additional testimony from the applicant or from any other interested person and may call upon City staff for assistance or comments.

As required by law, three affirmative votes are required for final action on any matter. "Final action" shall be defined to mean any vote on a main motion which results in a favorable or unfavorable disposition of any agenda item. Unless otherwise provided by these rules, all other votes or decisions of the Board, including but not limited to, amendments, additions, deletions, and procedural matters, shall be determined by the majority vote of the members present at any meeting.

Any agenda item which is scheduled for final action but does not receive three or more votes either for or against, shall be deemed to have received neither approval nor disapproval and shall, without further order of the Board, be continued to the next regular meeting for administrative action only.

The Board shall develop factual findings in support of its final action on each matter, and shall indicate the basis upon which such action was made. The Board's decision, together with the findings of fact developed by the Board, shall be filed in the office of the City Clerk within seven days of such final action.

After a matter has received final action decision, such matter cannot be reconsidered by the board except as provided by law.

Rule 8. Suspension of Rules

Any and all rules may be suspended by three affirmative votes of the Board.

Rule 9. Amendment of Rules

These rules may be amended by three affirmative votes of the Board.

Rule 10. Election of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson

The chairperson and vice-chairperson shall be elected for a one year term at the regular October meeting. In the event of a vacancy by either the chairperson or the vice-chairperson, the Board shall elect a replacement to fill the unexpired term at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board following the creation of the vacancy. Should the vice-chairperson be elected to fill the unexpired term of the chairperson, the Board shall thereupon, immediately elect a replacement for the vice-chairperson. All elections pursuant to this paragraph shall be by majority vote of the entire Board (three votes).

In the event of a vacancy by the chairperson, the vice-chairperson shall have the authority to act as the chairperson until a replacement is elected. In the event of a temporary absence by the chairperson, the vice-chairperson shall have the authority to act as chairperson during such absence.

In the event that both the chairperson and vice-chairperson are temporarily absent, the chairperson may appoint a temporary chairperson who will have the authority to act as chairperson during such absence. In the event that the chairperson has not appointed a temporary chairperson, the Planning Director, or someone designated by the Planning Director, shall call the meeting to order for the purpose of electing a temporary chairperson. The Board shall elect a temporary chairperson immediately thereafter. Such election shall be by a majority vote of the members present. The temporary chairperson, so elected, shall have the authority to act as the chairperson during the absence of the chairperson and vice-chairperson.

Either the Chairperson or the vice-chairperson may be removed from office by a four-fifths majority vote of the entire Board prior to the expiration of the regular term.

In addition to the other powers, duties and responsibilities specifically set out in these Rules, the Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Board, and shall be responsible for directing the order of the Board, for making rulings upon the propriety of testimony presented to the Board, and for directing the development of the findings of fact on any final action taken by the Board.

Rule 11. Roberts Rules of Order

Except as otherwise specifically set out herein, all business before the Board shall be conducted in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order.

Adopted as amended this 17th day of March 1995.