Ordinance would reduce notices of BZA meetings from seven to five days

The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that would reduce the time required for Board of Zoning Appeals meeting notices.
Board members took the action during their June 18 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Kelly Rector and seconded by Alderman Billy Ray Morris.
The proposed ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing and final reading at tomorrow night’s board meeting.
It would amend Article XII, Section 12.3(a) of the Oakland Municipal Zoning Ordinance.
The Oakland Municipal Planning Commission reviewed the proposed amendment at its June 2 meeting and recommended its approval by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Section 12.3(a) currently states that:
(1) BZA meetings are scheduled at the “call of the chairman” and “at such other times” as the board may determine.
(2) The BZA adopts “rules of procedure” and keeps public records of applications, as well as the action taken on them.
(3) All BZA meetings are open to the public, with seven days of advanced notice in a local newspaper.
During discussion shortly before the vote, Mayor Chris Goodman said an application for a variance to the Zoning Ordinance must be submitted for BZA approval. He noted that the proposed ordinance would reduce the time required for advanced meeting notices from seven to five days.
With a weekly newspaper, Goodman said, if the BZA does not “catch it just right,” it frequently must wait almost two weeks to schedule a meeting.
“And if it’s a building or something in process,” he noted, “this might just give a little leeway to get it in that much sooner.”
As an example, Town Planner Chris Pate said someone came in on a Monday morning in June and filed an application for a variance. But the “deadline” for last month’s BZA meeting was “that Friday.”
“Now, they have to wait until the fourth Tuesday of July for a fence issue,” he noted. “So, this expedites things, while still informing the public and the neighbors that there’s action in their neighborhood.”