Zoning and Codes
Board of Zoning Appeals
The Board of Zoning Appeals is a quasi-judicial County Board that can approve, approve with conditions, or deny a variance request.
All Board members are residents of Douglas County. A variance is a request to deviate from the current zoning requirements. if granted, it permits the owner to use the land in a manner not otherwise permitted by the adopted zoning and land use regulations. A variance acts as a relief valve for property owners who have unique circumstances that the existing regulations do not strictly account for.
The Board of Zoning Appeals has broad powers which differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The authority granted to the Board of Zoning Appeals in Douglas County generally are to consider:
- Appeals of administrative orders, requirements, decisions, or determinations
- Setback requirements
- Signage regulations, to include size, location, and lumination
- Temporary second dwellings
- And more
- That the variance request arises from such conditions that are unique to the property in question and not ordinarily found in the same zoning or district and are not created by actions of the property owner or applicant;
- That granting the variance would not adversely affect the rights of adjacent property owner or residents;
- That strict application of the regulations for which the variance is requested would constitute unnecessary hardship upon the property owner represented in the application;
- That the variance desired would not adversely affect the public health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity, or general welfare; and
- That granting the variance desired would not be opposed to the general spirit and intent of these Regulations.
Agendas, Minutes, and Staff Reports
Access to agendas, minutes, and staff reports on upcoming and prior Board of Zoning Appeals meetings
In an effort for increased transparency, agendas, minutes, and staff reports will regularly be posted for public access. If you seek additional information, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the meeting date and applicant name for faster response.
To view meeting-related documents, please select the meeting from the list below
Charlie grew up in the town of Clinton and later graduated from Lawrence High School. He attended KU for three years, dropped out, and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he was stationed/relocated to the state of Texas. While in Texas, Charlie got married, and received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of North Texas. After working as a high school counselor in Texas for 34 years, Charlie and his wife moved back to Douglas County in 2003 and currently reside in Marion Township. “There is not a better place in the county, to proudly live, than in this area of Kansas.”
Rich moved to Lawrence in 1973 from Hoxie, Kansas and attended KU where he received a BS in Systematics and Ecology in 1975 and a MPA in Public Administration in 1989. Rich served on the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Department. In his 34 years of service, Rich was promoted to Fire Marshall for the City of Lawrence. In 2010, he retired from Fire and Medical and subsequently took a position as the Deputy Director of Douglas County Emergency Communications. He retired from that position in 2019. He has been past chair of the Douglas County Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Kansas State Research and Extension of Douglas County and the Kansas State Research and Extension State Advisory Board. He moved into Clinton Township with his wife Paula and two daughters in 2007. He has been a Board of Zoning Appeals member since 2019.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, BSME, and is a fifth generation Douglas County resident. He is the retired owner of a forklift manufacturing company and has been a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals since 2017. Scott is experienced in all aspects of residential construction and has carried a plumber's license. He has also completed several turn-key industrial metal building projects. Scott likes helping to find creative solutions to tricky problems and has enjoyed working with this Board and County staff.
Jerry and his wife were born and raised in the Kansas City, Kansas area. In 1993, they purchased an 80 acre farm in Douglas County and made that farm their new home in 1996. With his wife and then three young children, they began raising vegetables. In 2006, the family began a strawberry U-pick operation, which was later expanded to include blueberries as well. Jerry and his family have been selling their produce at the Lawrence Farmer’s Market since their operations began, and Jerry himself sets on the Farmers Market Board of Directors. In 2018, Jerry retired from the United Parcel Service after 37 years of service. That same year, he joined the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Fadra Mitchell considers herself incredibly privileged to call Douglas County home. She and her husband Cotter have lived in the unincorporated community of Vinland together since 1997. They raised four children there, and today care for their gardens and tend their cats and chickens.
After growing up in poverty in rural Kansas, Fadra describes using her voice as her superpower. She uses it to speak out against oppression in all forms but especially on behalf of disadvantaged, and differently abled persons. She’s advocated for herself and others as a parent, suicide prevention counselor, job coach, meter reader, medical advocate, therapist, addictions counselor, citizen mycologist, mentor, caregiver, elections volunteer, and nature lover (to name a few). She has learned how to transform the narrative of her childhood traumas into an adulthood that embraces and facilitates discussions of the taboo, respects the power of accurate information, and enshrines equal access for all.
Fadra is a University of Kansas graduate with a general degree in psychology and a masters of Social Welfare. When she isn’t speaking up or speaking out, she spends much of her free time outdoors quietly exploring, documenting, and foraging the wild spaces of Douglas County. She also treasures her relationships with family and friends, and is active in a variety of community, arts, educational, and ecological organizations.