Saturday, January 14, 2012

Variance Application and the Board of Adjustment

Bill Cowman wrote this to provide property owners with some background information to all the recent newspaper articles about the Board of Adjustment.  Bill has helped several people with this process over the past year. 
This information is from working with the Hubbard County Shoreland Management Ordinance.  This ordinance applies to all property within 1000` of the Ordinary High Water Level ( OHWL ).  This document is available to you on the county website The majority of variance applications have to do with setbacks i.e.50`shore impact zone;30`bluff impact zone from the top of bluff; 100` from the OHWL; 10` from side lot line`; 20` from rear lot line; 50` from Federal, State or County right of way. Set backs also apply to location of a well and septic system.

Review the Ordinance as it may apply to your situation and take the time to visit the Environmental Service Office ( ESO ) located on the second floor of the Hubbard County Courthouse to answer questions. You can pick up a variance application and schedule of monthly Board of Adjustment meeting dates there also.

The ESO has day to day responsibility for management of the Ordinance and is available to assist you in completing the variance application. The application form is available on the County website. You will note that the application requires proof of ownership which can be the deed for the property; a site plan drawing ( sample is included with the application form ); photographs as required; a statement outlining the need for the variance. The BOA will schedule a site viewal typically the Thursday before the board meeting and encourages your presents at this and the board meeting. You have the option of appointing an Authorized Agent to act on your behalf. This form is available on the web site. If your planning an addition you will be required to submit with the application a current Certificate of Compliance ( C.O.C ) for the existing septic system. This is typically prepared by a certified septic system contractor..

The Board of Adjustment ( BOA ) has the responsibility for approving or denying all variance applications. Since the summer of 2010 COLA has been working with the BOA to help ensure that the BOA`s actions regarding the shoreland development is consistent with State law , the Shoreland Management Ordinance and County`s policy. It is important for COLA to work with the County to improve the variance process in order to ensure fairness, consistency, preservation of property value, protection of the lakes and minimizing the potential for conflict.

Bill Cowman

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