Board of Adjustment Responsibilities

What is the Board of Adjustment?

The Board meets the second Monday of each month at 7:00 pm at Town Hall located at 401 Old Honeycutt Road.

The Board of Adjustment serves as a quasi-judicial board with eight representatives appointed by the Fuquay-Varina Board of Commissioners and the Wake County Board of Commissioners. The Board serves to consider variances and special exceptions to Town ordinances, and to hear appeals of interpretation of the zoning ordinance by Town staff.

What Can the Board Do?

The Board has the power to decide:

  • Variances: A variance is a permit, which the Board may grant in certain situations, that enables a property owner to make use of the property in some way that conflicts with the literal provisions of the zoning ordinance.
  • Special Exceptions: A Special Exception is a permit that the Zoning Ordinance authorizes to be granted in particular zoning classifications under stated conditions. Each zoning classification has a list of uses that can be constructed and a list of uses that may be allowed to be constructed. (See the Zoning Ordinance for more details.) The Board of Adjustment is given the authority to determine if one or more of these special exceptions will be permitted on a specific piece of property. The Board will make its decision by comparing the specified criteria in the zoning ordinance with the factual evidence of the case. Under no circumstances can the Board grant a special exception for a use not specifically listed in a zoning district.
  • Appeals: The Board is given the responsibility of correcting any mistakes or abuses of discretion made by the code enforcement officers. In this process, it is important to note that the Board does not have the power to change the ordinance and is limited to interpretation of the ordinance. Its decisions are based on what the Board believes to be the actual meaning and intent of the ordinance.

What are the Steps for Petitioning the Board of Adjustment?

 Before filing, each petitioner has the option to meet with the Planning Department and discuss the details of the proposed petition. When the petition is filed a $400.00 fee is charged to cover the cost of advertisement and administration. After the petition is checked for completeness, a public hearing with the Board of Adjustment is scheduled based upon a pre-arranged schedule. Board of Adjustment Schedules are available from the Planning Department. The Board of Adjustment usually meets on the second Monday of each month.

What Can the Board of Adjustment Decide?

The Board's decision making process is like that of a court of law. It will hear the evidence that is presented from both opponents and proponents, and then issue a decision. The Board can decide to approve the petition, deny the petition, or approve the petition with conditions. If the petition is approved, the conflict with the ordinance is allowed. If the petition is denied, the ordinance is enforced as it exists. If conditions are applied to the petition, the conflict is allowed only if certain "reasonable" requirements outlined by the Board are met. Whether a requirement is reasonable or not is determined by the courts. If a condition is found to be invalid by the courts, the petition becomes invalid, and the non-conforming use is not permitted.

What if my Petition is Approved?

If a petition is approved, property owners are allowed to use the property based on the Board's approval. All conditions included must be met. If the applicant does not obtain a building permit or certificate of occupancy within twelve months of the Board's decision, approval will expire, and the petition must be resubmitted.

What if My Petition is Denied?

Petitions that are denied by the Board must abide by the current ordinance. Applicants can accept the decision, appeal the decision to Superior Court within 30 days of the Board's decision, or explore methods of changing Town