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Zoning Board of Appeals

The City's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is responsible for the zoning appeals functions of the City, as covered in the relevant sections of the State of Michigan's Planning Enabling Act and Zoning Enabling Act, as well as the City's Zoning Ordinance.

Board members use the City's Zoning Ordinance  and Master Plan to assist them with their duties.

Anyone who would like to request a variance, a zoning ordinance interpretation, a temporary use permit, hearing an appeal, etc. - as specified in the City's General Ordinances and Zoning Ordinance - should fill out a Planning Commission/ ZBA Application and submit it to the Office of the Zoning Administrator via City Building Inspector Ed Carpenter.  Please direct all questions and concerns regarding zoning to Mr. Carpenter.

The ZBA holds meetings on an as-needed basis in the Community Room at City Hall, 224 W. Buffalo St., New Buffalo, MI 49117.  Please check the City calendar for meeting dates, times, and details.

All meetings are open to the public and are accessible.  Persons requiring auxiliary aides and services or other accommodations should contact the City Clerk's office at 269-469-1500. 

The ZBA has seven members; their names with term ending dates are to the right.

Clerical responsibilities for the ZBA are performed by their recording secretary, Deputy Clerk Mary Lynn.  Please direct any questions regarding clerical matters to her with the contact information to the left.

The responsibilities of the ZBA are listed in City Zoning Ordinance, Article 21 "Zoning Board of Appeals", Section 21-5 "Jurisdiction":


The Zoning Board of Appeals shall not have the power to make any change in the terms of this Ordinance, but does have power to act on those matters where this Ordinance provides for an administrative review, interpretation, and to authorize a variance as defined in this Section and the laws of the State of Michigan.  The Zoning Board of Appeals shall not have the authority to hear appeals from a decision made in respect to any special land use, planned unit development, or rezoning.  The powers of the Zoning Board of Appeals include:

A. Hearing of Appeals

To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that there is an error in any order, requirement, permit, decision or refusal made by the Zoning Administrator or any other administrative official in carrying out or enforcing any provisions of this Ordinance.

B. Granting of Variances

A variance from the specific requirements of this Ordinance may be granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals in accordance with the requirements and procedures of this Article.

C. Zoning Ordinance Interpretation

The Zoning Board of Appeals may interpret the provisions of this Ordinance to carry out the intent and purposes of the Zoning Ordinance where the meaning of the provisions is uncertain.

D. Granting of Temporary Uses and Buildings

1. The Zoning Board of Appeals may permit, upon proper application, temporary uses or buildings not otherwise permitted in the district, not to exceed twelve (12) months and to provide up to a twelve (12) month extension when appropriate.

2. The Zoning Board of Appeals, in granting permits for temporary uses and buildings, shall do so under the following conditions:

a. The granting of the temporary use or building shall in no way constitute a change in the basic uses permitted in the district nor on the property where the temporary use or building is permitted.

b. The granting of the temporary use or building shall be issued in writing, stipulating all conditions as to time, nature of development permitted and arrangements for removing the use at the termination of the temporary permit.

c. All setbacks, land coverage, off-street parking, lighting and other requirements shall be made at the discretion of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

d. The use or building shall be in harmony with the general character of the district.

e. No temporary permit shall be granted without first giving notice to owners of adjacent property of the time and place of a public hearing to be held as provided for in this Ordinance.

f. Prior to granting a temporary permit the Board may seek the review and recommendation of the Planning Commission.

ZBA Meetings

PC-ZBA Application

City Zoning Map

Zoning Enabling Act

Liz Grim-Vaughan
ZBA Chair
May 2019

Arlene Pokuta
ZBA Vice-Chair
May 2020

Rich Cooper
ZBA Member
May 2021

Evangelia (Lee) K. Bloom
ZBA Member
May 2019

Tom Smith
ZBA Member
May 2020

Mark Joseph
Planning Commission Liaison
May 2019

Holiday (Holly) Tarr
ZBA Member
May 2021