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Today’s information on the Salem Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustments is the sixth in a series on city committees, who is on them and their role in helping make city policy. Committees are an important part of how city government is supposed to work, and their responsibilities are spelled out in city ordinances. Section 106.150 calls for policy to be made “with the advice, information and analysis provided by the public, boards, commissions, committees and the city staff.

Last week, The Salem News published information about the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustments is related to the commission but separate in operation and function.

The Board of Adjustment shall consist of five members who shall be residents of the City of Salem except as provided in Section 305.410, RSMo., appointed by the mayor and approved by the board of aldermen, each to be appointed for a term of five years.

The Board of Adjustment has three primary functions.

1. To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is an error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the City Building Inspector in the enforcement of City of Salem Planning and Zoning Policies, and may affirm or reverse, in whole or part, said decision of the enforcement officer.

2. To hear requests for variances from the literal provisions of the zoning ordinance in instances where strict enforcement of the zoning ordinance would cause undue hardship due to circumstances unique to the individual property under consideration and grant such variances only when it is demonstrated that such action will be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the provisions of the zoning ordinance. The Board of Adjustment shall not permit, as a variance, any use in a district that is not permitted under the ordinance. The Board of Adjustment may impose conditions in the granting of a variance to insure compliance and to protect adjacent property.

3. To hold public hearings on, and decide the following exceptions to or variations of the Land Use Chapters of the City Ordinances:

a. To permit the extension of a district where the boundary line thereof divides a lot held in a single ownership at the time of adoption of this Chapter.

b. Interpret the provisions of this Chapter in such a way as to carry out the intent and purpose of the plan as shown upon the Zoning District Map where the street layout on the ground varies from the street layout as shown on this map.

c. Permit reconstruction of a non-conforming building otherwise prohibited by Section 405.510 where such action would not constitute continuation of a monopoly.

d. Vary the yard regulations where there is an exceptional or unusual physical condition of a lot, not generally prevalent in the neighborhood, which condition when related to the yard regulations of this Chapter would prevent a reasonable or sensible arrangement of buildings on the lot.

e. Vary the parking regulations by not more than fifty percent (50%) where it is conclusively shown that the specific use of a building would make unnecessary the parking spaces otherwise required by this Chapter, or where it can be conclusively shown that adequate off-street parking to serve a particular use has been provided by or is controlled by the municipality.

Members of the board include Bob Parsons, who serves as board chairman, Ryan Whitaker, Rob Benowitz and Martin Kulik.

When do they meet?

The group meets at a site to be determined when a meeting is called by the board chairman. The meetings are open to the public, and notice is given by the city and announced at and on the city’s Facebook page when submitted. The notice also appears in The Salem News print edition if received before deadline.

Community involvement

The best way to get involved in city committees and boards is to attend meetings as a member of the public and express or demonstrate one’s interest and/or expertise in a given category to the city.

Minutes from all Planning and Zoning committee meetings are open record and are available to the public upon request.