Jackson reduces escrow fee for zoning board applications

BY ANDREW MARTINS
Staff Writer

JACKSON — Residents who may want to install a permanent generator on their home received a bit of a boost from the Township Council on Feb. 26 when members of the governing body voted unanimously to reduce one cost associated with seeking a zoning variance.

If the proposed installation of a home generator puts a resident at odds with the municipal code, the resident is required to appear before the Zoning Board of Adjustment to apply for a variance that would allow the installation of the equipment to move forward.

There are various costs associated with an application to the zoning board.

Several weeks ago, a number of residents who live in adult communities in Jackson appealed for a break on the fees that are required to be paid when going before the zoning board.

The council responded by taking action to reduce the required escrow fee from $650 to $350. The escrow fee covers costs incurred by the township to send professionals out to inspect the viability of an applicant’s variance request and to assess the condition of the site of the application.

The council did not make any other changes relating to the variance application process.

An applicant will still be required to place a notice in local newspapers stating that a variance is being sought, and nearby residents will still have to be notified individually, generally by certified mail, that an application that may affect them will be heard by the zoning board.

A $100 administration fee and a $150 resolution fee will remain in place as part of the zoning board process.

The applicant or his representatives must still appear before the zoning board to make a case for a variance that, if granted, permits a resident to do something that is at odds with the municipal code.

In the wake of power outages caused by storms, some people have indicated they might want to install a generator at their home that will keep the power flowing. Some generators run on natural gas that would continue to flow even if electric power has gone out.

Some people who have indicated they want the ability to place a generator at their homes live in Jackson’s age-restricted communities, where lot size and property-line setbacks could factor into an individual’s request for a variance from the zoning board.

Although council members agreed with residents that a change in the zoning board escrow fee was overdue, the two groups were still debating the specifications of prospective generator models, specifically with regard to the noise such a piece of equipment would make.

Although the issue was brought to the council’s attention by residents of adult communities, council President Ann Updegrave said she was in favor of the reduced escrow payment for everyone who needs to file an application with the zoning board.

Contact Andrew Martins at amartins@gmnews.com