About the ZBA

Giving Your Interests Fair Consideration

Burlington's Zoning Board of Appeals is primarily responsible for acting on requests for variances from the terms of the Zoning Regulations where a strict interpretation of the regulations would result in unnecessary hardship for a property owner. As a town board, we have the following powers and duties to deliver for our community:

  • To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged that there is an error in any order, requirement or decision made by the official charged with the enforcement of the zoning regulations.
  • To hear and decide all matters including special exceptions and exemptions upon which it is required to pass by the specific terms of the zoning bylaws, ordinances, or regulations.
  • To determine and vary the application of the zoning bylaws, ordinances or regulations in harmony with their general purpose and intent and with due consideration for conserving the public health, safety, convenience, welfare and property values solely with respect to a parcel of land where, owing to conditions especially affecting such parcel but not affecting generally the district in which it is situated, a literal enforcement of such bylaws ordinances or regulations would result in exceptional difficulty or unusual hardship so that substantial justice will be done and public safety and welfare secured, provided that the zoning regulations may specify the extent to which uses shall not be permitted by variances in districts in which such are not otherwise allowed.
  • Town Ordinances

Get a firsthand look at the Town of Burlington Planning & Zoning Regulations. Any person wanting to appeal a decision of a zoning official can apply for a special exception or variance of the regulations or ordinances should complete an application and submit it to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Applications can be obtained at the Zoning Enforcement Office and must be completed in duplicate to be accepted. A few things to keep in mind when filing an application with the Zoning Board of Appeals:

  • Applications for appeal of the decision of a zoning official should include a copy of the decision.
  • Application for special exception or exemption should specify the section of the zoning regulations to which the application applies.
  • Application for a variance of regulations should be accompanied by applicable site plans, specific regulation to be varied, and must include the stated hardship.
  • The applicant should refer to the legal definition of "hardship." In layman's terms a hardship is a strong reason (not financial) why strictly adhering to the regulations in unreasonable. A hardship usually relates to the particular shape, terrain, and placement of structures on the applicant's property.
  • Site plans or maps should show accurate dimension, location of wells and septic systems.
  • All applications will be reviewed for acceptance at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The applicant will not present his case at the meeting where the application is reviewed.  If the application is complete and accepted, a hearing will be scheduled (usually at the subsequent regular meeting of the board).

The public hearing will be legally advertised and the applicant or his representative will present his case at the hearing. An applicant may choose to have legal representative at the hearing and person(s) may speak or submit in writing evidence in favor or opposition to the application at the hearing. After all evidence is submitted, the hearing will be closed and the board will go into executive session to discuss the application and render its decision. The following applications are available in the Burlington Land Use Office:

  • Application for Variance
  • Appeal from Order Decision of Zoning Enforcement Officer
  • Application for Declaratory Ruling

Allison Yudelson, the clerk for the Zoning Board of Appeals is available to answer your questions. Applicants may also contact the Chairman or any member of the board for information on the Zoning Board of Appeals procedures. Board members will not be able to give you advice on how to present your case, as this would force them to disqualify themselves.