Mayor Walsh Doubles Hearing Capacity for Zoning Board of Appeal Applications & Begins Televising Meetings
Jul 22, 2014
Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City of Boston's Inspectional Services Department (ISD) has directed the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) to extend its hearing hours. Effective August 5, 2014, ZBA hearings will go from half days to full days. The hearings will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. every other Tuesday until further notice.
This revised schedule will significantly reduce the amount of time appellants currently wait for a hearing date at the Zoning Board of Appeal. At present, many applicants can wait up to six months in order for the next available hearing (Comcast channel 24 and RCN channel 13), and on the web at: http://www.cityofboston.gov/cable/live.asp.
"We want to make the permitting process more efficient and transparent for applicants and residents alike," said Mayor Walsh. "This is the first in a set of steps residents will see aimed at improving the overall permitting experience in Boston."
A lengthy, complex Zoning Board of Appeal process was one issue highlighted by in the administration’s Inspectional Services Transition Paper. "The additional hours will help streamline the hearing process time. We will continue to run longer hours until the backlog of cases for review has been addressed," said ISD Commissioner William ‘Buddy’ Christopher.
Mayor Walsh’s interagency permitting team has been meeting regularly since February to improve the process, technology and tracking of permit applications citywide. Additional changes to the permitting processes will be announced in the coming months.
Background on the Zoning Board of Appeal
The Board is comprised of seven individuals who are appointed by the Mayor to serve a three-year term. The ZBA is charged with providing relief to applicants who request variances under the Zoning or Building Codes. The Building & Zoning Code regulates the uses, dimensional boundaries and height of privately owned buildings and land thus, allowing owners and developers to build projects that fall within the guidelines of theZoning Code.