Board of Adjustment

Meeting Schedule

  • WHEN: Second Wednesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. 
  • WHERE: 275 E. 200 N., American Fork, UT 84003
  • Agenda and Minutes

Board Members & Staff

Committee Charter and Goals
The Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial body appointed to hear and decide special exceptions to the varying zoning and building ordinances set by American Fork City.

The statutory language provides that each of the following 5 basic criteria for a variance must be satisfied before a variance can be approved 10-9a-702/17-27a-702 Variances.

The appeal authority may grant a variance only if:
  • Literal enforcement of the ordinance would cause an unreasonable hardship for the applicant that is not necessary to carry out the general purpose of the land use ordinance
  • There are special circumstances attached to the property that do not generally apply to other properties in the same zone
  • Granting the variance is essential to the enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other property in the same zone
  • The variance will not substantially affect the general plan and will not be contrary to the public interest
  • The spirit of the land use ordinance is observed and substantial justice done
“Hardship” means more than just a personal inconvenience. The courts have interpreted hardship very narrowly. Since use of variances are not allowed, variances can only be applicable in those cases where the owner, because of odd-shaped lots or lot remnants, is unable to meet the dimensional standards of the land use ordinance. It should also be noted that special restrictions can be imposed in those cases where a variance is granted. The main purpose for the variance is to serve as a safety valve in those areas where a landowner incurs a hardship as a result of the application of the land use regulations.Applicants are asked to determine if their request is justifiable or not by considering the following examples.

Variance Requests that May Be Justifiable
An extra wide utility easement which interferes with the buildable area of a lot may justify encroachment into a required yard area. Unusual size, shape or topography of a lot may justify some variance from what would normally be required under the ordinance.

Variance Requests that are Not Considered Justifiable
A hardship is not a problem that the property owner creates. For instance, if the house is built in such a manner that you cannot expand the living room without encroaching into a required yard, you will be creating the situation/problem and the ordinance does not recognize that as a legitimate hardship. Likewise, the fact that it might cost you less money to add an extension in a required front yard rather than adding to the house where the addition would be permitted out right, is not a hardship.
The important point is whether the owner is deprived of property rights, not desires. Financial hardship is not considered a legitimate reason for seeking a variance, nor are personal health situations.

In the granting of the variance, the board must take care to assure that the public safety and welfare are preserved and that the substantial justice has been done. The Board of Adjustment has an especially high calling to serve as an advocate of the public interest. The Board should place great importance upon this consideration, rather than looking upon its duties as that of simple arbitration of disputes among private parties.
Important points relative to variances (from 10-9a-702/17-27a-702):
  • The applicant shall bear the burden of proving that all of the conditions justifying a variance have been met;
  • Variances run with the land
  • The appeal authority may not grant a use variance
  • In granting a variance, the appeal authority may impose additional requirements on the applicant that will:
    • Mitigate any harmful affects of the variance
    • Serve the purpose of the standard or requirement that is waived or modified