Zoning Board of Adjustment


The Board considers all special use permits, variance requests and hear and decides appeals where it is alleged there is an error of law in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Building & Neighborhood Services Director or their designated representative in the enforcement of the City's Zoning Chapter.

Membership and Term Length

The Zoning Board of Adjustment shall consist of five members who are residents of the city, appointed by the Mayor, subject to the approval of the Council. Each member shall be appointed for a term of five years. The terms of office shall be staggered. Each term of office shall expire on June 30. Members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall not be reappointed if they have served two consecutive full terms. A majority of the members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be persons representing the public at large and shall not be involved in the business of purchasing and selling real estate.

The Mayor shall appoint, subject to the approval of the Council, persons to fill all vacancies as they occur.

Current Members

MemberTerm End Date
Janet Brown
Tim Hess
Clifford Wilkerson
Edward Wygnal
Stacie Parks


All meetings of the Board shall be held at the call of the Chairperson and at times as the Board may determine. All hearings conducted by the Board shall be open to the public. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating the fact, and the Board shall also keep records of its hearings and other official actions. Findings of fact shall be included in the minutes of each case of a requested variation and the reasons for recommending or denying the variation shall be specified. Each decision or determination of the Board shall be filed immediately in the office of the Board and shall be a public record. The Board shall adopt its own rules of procedure not in conflict with this chapter or with the Iowa statutes in the case made and provided, and may select or appoint the officers as it deems necessary.


An appeal may be taken to the Zoning Board of Adjustment by any person, firm, corporation, or any officer, department, board or bureau affected by a decision of the administrative officer, but the appeal may be taken only when the action involves a subject or instance upon which the Board is authorized to act. The appeal shall be taken within the time as prescribed by the Zoning Board of Adjustment general rules, by filing with the officer from whom the appeal is taken and with the Zoning Board of Adjustment a notice of appeal, specifying the grounds thereof. The officer from whom the appeal is taken shall forthwith transmit to the Board all of the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken. 

Appeal Hearing

The Board shall select a reasonable time and place for the hearing of the appeal and give due notice thereof to the parties and shall render a decision on the appeal without unreasonable delay. Any person may appeal and testify at the hearing, either in person or by duly authorized agent or attorney. 

Fees for Appeal

Fees for Zoning Board of Adjustment appeals, variances and special use permits shall be in amounts established by resolution, from time to time, by the Council. The fees shall be paid at the time of filing.

Powers and Duties

  • All special use permits.
  • To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is an error of law in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Building and Neighborhood Services Director or his or her designated representative in the enforcement of this chapter.
  • In hearing and deciding appeals, the Board shall have the power to grant an exception in the following instances:
    • Permit the extension of a district where the boundary line of a district divides a lot or tract under a single ownership at the time of passage of this section;
    • Interpret the provisions of this section in such a way as to carry out the intent and purpose of the plan, as shown upon the maps fixing the several districts, accompanying and made a part of this chapter where the street layout actually on the ground varies from the street layouts as shown on the maps aforesaid;
    • To permit the erection and use of a building or use of premises in any location for a public service corporation for public utility purposes which the Board deems reasonably necessary for the public convenience or welfare;
    • All reconstruction of the structural components because of fire or an act of God on a nonconforming building is to be approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment where the Board finds some compelling reason to continue the nonconforming use;
    • Waive or reduce the parking and loading requirements in any of the districts whenever the character or use of the building is such as to make unnecessary the full provision of parking or loading facilities, or where the regulations would impose an unreasonable hardship upon the use of a lot as contrasted with merely granting an advantage or a convenience;
    • Permit land within 200 feet of a multiple dwelling to be improved for the parking spaces required in connection with a multiple dwelling but only when there is positive assurance that the land will be used for the purpose during the existence of the multiple dwelling; and
    • Add more uses to the list of those permitted in the C-2, M-1, M-2 and M-3 Districts, provided that the uses are comparable, in general character, as those listed insofar as the emission of odor, dust, noise, gas or smoke is concerned.
  • The Board shall have the authority to grant the following variations:
    • Permit a variation in the yard requirements of any district where there are unusual and practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the carrying out of these provisions due to an irregular shape of the lot, topographical or other conditions, provided that the variation will not seriously affect any adjoining property or the general welfare.
    • Authorize, upon appeal, whenever a property owner can show that a strict application of the terms of this chapter relating to the use, construction or alterations of buildings or structures, or the use of land will impose an unusual and practical difficulty or particular hardship, and that the variations of the strict application of the terms of this section are in harmony with its general purpose and intent, but only when the Board is satisfied that the granting of a variation will not merely serve as a convenience to the applicant, but will alleviate some demonstrable and unusual hardship or difficulty so great as to warrant a variation from the comprehensive plan as established by this section and at the same time, the surrounding property will be properly protected.
    • The Board shall have the power to grant an exemption from screening requirements for solid waste containment if located within a developed area of the city where there is no yard space. Public notice and public hearing requirements will not be needed for this exemption appeal.
    • In considering all appeals and all proposed exception or variations to this chapter, the Board shall, before making any exceptions or variations from this chapter in a specific case, first determine that it will not impair an adequate supply of light and air to adjacent property or unreasonably increase the congestion in public streets or increase the danger of fire or endanger the public safety or unreasonably diminish or impair established property values within the surrounding area or in any other respect impair the public health, safety, comfort, morals or welfare of the inhabitants of the city.
    • The concurring vote of three members of the Board shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of the Building and Neighborhood Services Director or his or her designee or to decide in favor of the applicant upon any matter upon which it is authorized, by this chapter, to render a decision.
    • Nothing contained herein shall be constructed to give or grant to the Zoning Board of Adjustment the power of authority to alter or to change the Zoning Ordinance or the district map, the power and authority being reserved for the Council. No member shall participate in any action of the Board if the member has a financial interest in the property being considered or is related to any of the parties or has any connection whatsoever with the property in question or the parties involved.

Meeting Notice

The Board shall make no recommendation except in a specific case and after a public hearing conducted by the Board. A notice of the time and place of a public hearing shall be published in a Clinton publication of general circulation not less than four days nor more than 20 days of the meeting date.

Required Notification

The applicant for any appeal, variance or special use permit shall notify all adjacent property owners of the purpose of the application.


Any person or persons, jointly or severally aggrieved by any decision of the Board, or any taxpayer or any officer, department, board or bureau of the city shall have recourse to the relief as it is provided by statute.