Earlier this summer Margaret Jaberg, of the Davis & Kuelthau Commercial Real Estate team, chaired in a Board of Appeals hearing in the Village of Brown Deer, WI. The hearing reviewed two cases related to ancillary improvements placed in yards. Both cases involved parcels located on corner lots, with streets on two sides. The Village’s Development Director had previously determined both projects were not permitted under the existing Zoning Code.
In each case, the Board members reviewed merits and hardships of each proposal, and weighed the Zoning Code regarding front and side yard designation. Typically the front yard is assumed to be where the driveway attaches to the street or how the parcel is addressed, but the Zoning Code actually confirms the “front” is the yard abutting the shortest adjacent street segment.
The Board can grant a variance if strict enforcement of the code results in unnecessary hardship and that hardship is a result of unique physical limitations of the property. Because of the complimentary adjacent uses for the first case, which was located in a commercial district, the variance was granted. The second case, regarding a property located in a residential area, drew significant feedback from the neighboring property owners regarding subsequent impacts to their parcels from the proposal, and the variance was not granted.
The Board of Appeals hears cases on appeals for the zoning code or decisions by the Development Director. Having served two terms as Village President and as Chair of the Planning Commission for six years in Brown Deer, Jaberg has a deep knowledge of their Zoning Code. Jaberg has been the Chair of the Board of Appeals since 2012.