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Board of Adjustments

Under circumstances specified in the Zoning Ordinance, the City Board of Adjustments may, at its discretion and by resolution at a public meeting, modify certain zoning requirements for a particular use, provided that specific findings have been satisfied. For example, lot size in a residential district may be modified if the planning board finds that development would not be possible without the modification, that preservation of hillsides having aesthetic value would be assured, and that the modification would not impair the natural topography, drainage or essential character of the area. Authorizations do not require public hearings and are not subject, but are informally referred to affected community boards for comment.

When development of a particular parcel of land pursuant to zoning would be impractical or cause the owner undue hardship, the Board of Standards and Appeals may grant a variance from use and bulk provisions to the extent necessary to permit a reasonable use of the parcel. A variance may be granted, following a public hearing, only for a specific development and may be for a specified period of time. In order to grant a variance, the board must find that:

  • The practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship is caused by unique physical circumstances;
  • The practical difficulty or hardship was not caused by the property owner or his predecessors;
  • A variance is necessary to realize a reasonable return (except in the case of a non-profit applicant);
  • The essential character of the neighborhood will not be altered, use of adjacent property will not be substantially impaired, and public welfare will not be detrimentally affected; and
  • The variance given is the minimum necessary to provide relief.

For additional information on zoning or to reqiuest a variance or rezoning, contact:


The Planning Department is responsible for creating and maintaining the map records of the city. These maps include:

General City Maps Zoning Maps Water System Maps
Official Street Maps Voting District Maps Electric System Maps
Subdivision Plat Maps Traffic Count Maps FEMA Flood Maps


The department also maintains property ownership records for land inside the city limits.