Board of Zoning Appeals

Established in 1949, the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) serves Hamilton County by hearing cases related to appeals, variance, nonconforming uses, compatible nonconforming uses and conditional uses as outlined in the Zoning Resolution  .

The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) has the authority to hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in an order, requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of the Zoning Resolution. Traditionally, appeals are heard based upon a letter from the Zoning Field Inspector where it is alleged that there are violations of the Zoning Resolution. These violations range from new construction being done on a property without Zoning Certificates and/or Building Permits to the parking/storage of cars, boats etc. 

Compatible Non-Conforming Uses

The Compatible Nonconforming Use procedure is the process thru which an established Nonconforming Use, legally on file with the Hamilton County Rural Zoning Commission, may be expanded or improved through a public hearing process. The BZA may permit such expansion after having determined that the Nonconforming Use is compatible or can be made compatible, and will have no adverse impact upon the adjacent property owners or other permitted land uses in the surrounding neighborhood. See Chapter 9 of the Zoning Resolution.  


Applications for Nonconforming Uses shall include the following:

Conditional Uses

Conditional Uses are those uses having some special impact or uniqueness which require a careful review of their location, design, configuration, and special impact to determine, against fixed standards, the desirability of permitting their establishment on a given site. The Conditional Use section has a broad spectrum of uses in all districts including, but not limited to the construction, location and use of churches, schools and telecommunication towers. The Conditional Use chapter includes provisions/ requirements for telecommunication towers located in a residential district. See Chapter 17 of the Zoning Resolution.  


Applications for Conditional Uses shall include the following:

Nonconforming Uses

A Nonconforming Use is the lawful use of any land, building, or structure, on the initial effective date of the Hamilton County Zoning Resolution or any amendment thereto, which is not permitted as-of-right, as a conditional use or as a planned unit development, under the zoning resolution or any amendment thereto in the district in which it is situated. So long as no structural alterations are made, the property may be sold. Following the issuance of a zoning certificate, the use may be changed to another nonconforming use of the same use classification or a more restricted use, permitted as-of-right in the zone district.

A record of Nonconforming Uses was established in 1949 and is on file in the Hamilton County Rural Zoning Commission. In the event that a property owner requests the issuance of a Nonconforming Use certificate, where no record of the Nonconforming Use previously existed, the legal recognition of that nonconformity must be established thru the nonconforming certificate process and approved by the Zoning Administrator. See Chapter 9 of the Zoning Resolution.  


Applications for Nonconforming Uses shall include the following:

  • Zoning Certificate Application  
  • Letter of explanation concerning the nonconforming use
  • Tax or business records, affidavits or other similar records establishing that the use was in existence prior to zoning or prior to amendment that prohibited such use
  • Site plan of the property including parcel dimensions as well as the location, dimensions and use of each structure located on the property.  Based on the type of development proposed and the location of such, a registered surveyor’s site plan may be required for review.
  • Application Fee  


The Variance procedure is intended to provide a means by which relief may be granted from unforeseen particular applications of the Zoning Resolution that create practical difficulties or particular hardships through the BZA public hearing process. See Chapter 21 of the Zoning Resolution.  


Applications for Variances shall include the following:

Agenda and Meeting Packet