The Board of Appeals Seeks a New Member

As I’ve said before, I don’t often talk about land use. But here’s a bit of news. The Board of Appeals has an opening and the County Council has put out a call for applications. Short version of the details is that you should apply by June 5th.

The Board of Appeals has two roles in Howard County. In the first role, cases for conditional uses, sometimes called special use permits, are heard by the Board of Appeals Hearing Examiner. Under some circumstances, parties may appeal a decision of the Hearing Examiner and the case will then be heard by the Board of Appeals. When the case is heard by the Board of Appeals, the testimony and evidence is presented again, by all sides (there may be more than two), and the Board of Appeals makes a decision. A similar process is followed for variances.

In the second role, the Board of Appeals will hear cases as an appellate body. In these cases, a decision of some county agency is brought to the Board of Appeals for review. There are numerous routes laid out in the Howard County Code for an appeal to be brought to the Board, and some are heard by the Hearing Examiner before the Board. In the last five years, the overwhelming majority of these were land-use cases originating from a decision of the Department of Planning and Zoning, such as code enforcement decisions, and cases from the Howard County Planning Board, which is authorized to approve development plans based on the Zoning Regulations.

If you’re interested and want to know more before applying, let me know and we’ll set up a time to talk about the Board of Appeals.

Image by Howard County, Maryland.