Area Board of Zoning Appeals
The Area Board of Zoning Appeals (ABZA) meets each month to hear requests on various zoning related issues (see below).
Agendas, filing deadlines with the meeting schedule, the fee schedule, and application forms (petitions) are available below.
|AGENDAS||FILING DEADLINES & MEETING SCHEDULE||ABZA FEE SCHEDULE||COUNTY ABZA PETITION|
The ABZA serves St. Joseph County and the Towns of Lakeville, New Carlisle, North Liberty, Osceola, and Roseland.
A variance is a grant of relief from the requirements of the zoning ordinance, which permits construction in a manner otherwise prohibited where specific enforcement would result in unnecessary hardship.
A variance means you don’t have to follow the law like everyone else!
Because of this variances are rare and not easily obtained.
Hardship: The Area Board of Zoning Appeals requires that the variance is exceptional, unusual, and peculiar to the property involved. Mere economic or financial hardship alone is NOT exceptional.
Inconvenience, aesthetic considerations, physical handicaps, personal preferences, or the disapproval of one’s neighbors likewise cannot, as a rule, qualify as an exceptional hardship.
All of these problems can be resolved through other means without granting a variance, even if the alternative is more expensive, or requires the property owner to build elsewhere or put the parcel to a different use than originally intended.
The ABZA has seven members, as set by state law (IC 36-7-4-902(c)). Please note that the ABZA works similar to a jury in a court case. They are not permitted what is called ex-parte contact. Meaning petitioners and the public should not approach them about the cases they consider before they hear the case in the public hearing. Similarly, members of the Board will abstain from participating in a petition if they have a conflict of interest.
|Member Name||Term End Date||Position||Appointing Authority|
|Joseph Velleman||12/31/2021||Chair||Legislative bodies of participating towns|
|Sidney A. Shafer||12/31/2022||Vice Chair||County legislative body - County Council (citizen)|
|Robert M. Hawley||12/31/2022||Member||Area Plan Commission from its membership (county representative)|
|(vacant)||12/31/2021||Member||Area Plan Commission from its membership (municipal representative)|
|Michael Urbanski||12/31/2020||Member||County executive - Board of Commissioners (citizen)|
|Donny Ritsema, AICP||12/31/2022||Member||County legislative body - County Council (citizen)|
|Christine M. Deutscher||12/31/2022||Member||County legislative body - County Council (citizen)|
The ABZA was established in accordance with Indiana Code 36-7-4-900 et seq.
When: 2nd Wednesday of each Month
Location: 4th Floor County-City Building