We Got Variances!  Yes We Do! 

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…Our Appeal Authority Needs To Review Them, Oh No! What Do We Do?

For most municipalities and counties in Utah, receiving a request for a variance nowadays can be a headache.  What used to be a commonplace practice has slowly become less and less common.  Probably partially due to improved land use ordinances and practices being adopted by jurisdictions across the State throughout the years, but also likely because of the parameters or guidelines placed on their use by the State during the 2005 General Legislative Session.

In recent years, especially post-COVID-19, this has led jurisdictions of all shapes and sizes across the State to analyze and consider a revamp of their current policies and practices surrounding appeal authorities due to the often non-utilization of administrative entities traditionally assigned to hear such matters, especially variances.   

Boards and Commissions VS A Hearing Officer

Jurisdictions often face challenges in appointing qualified members to boards and commissions, particularly when specialized expertise is required for land use matters. Inconsistent meetings and a lack of agenda items can lead to disengagement or resignation of members. To tackle this, many jurisdictions have successfully adopted a different approach by assigning individual hearing officers to handle appeal issues. This allows for easier tracking and replacement compared to an entire board. Some larger jurisdictions have even established pools of hearing officers to ensure availability when needed. This shift improves efficiency, saves time and resources, and enables prompt decision-making on appeals.

Need Help To Revitalize Your Appeals Process?

If you’ve got difficult decisions on your political horizon, then you’d better make sure you have a transparent (and legal) system of appeals. We can help you revamp and revitalize your process!  Or if you are looking for someone to serve as a hearing officer for your jurisdiction, we can do that too!

Call Rural Community Consultants today to get expert planning, economic, and ordinance advice to make your community the best it can be.

Want To Learn More?

Check out our online training modules! Note: Rural Community Consultants is able to provide access to specific training modules free of charge, courtesy of the Utah Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman.

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