New land development rule eliminates delays
Voters here agreed earlier this month to make it easier for property owners to apply for exceptions to the rules governing land development in the city.
The new system has added an extra dimension: a special magistrate who can act as a backstop to help speed things along.
Under the old system, requests for variances were heard by the Board of Adjustment, a seven-member group responsible for granting or denying variances to city land development codes as well as hearing appeals to administrative determinations concerning the land development codes. The members, who were appointed for three-year terms, met when necessary.
The problem was that, at times, the city had trouble seating a voting quorum in a timely fashion resulting in delays for developers.
Under the new system, the Board of Adjustment will continue to meet when needed. But the magistrate will be available for times when the board is unable to seat a voting quorum.