The Building Standards & Reveiw Board (BSRB) is composed of seven appointed citizens (two being alternates) and has the power to hear and decide cases, which interpret provisions of the zoning ordinance. This board sits as a judicial body a citizen court in zoning matters. Unlike the Planning and Zoning Commission, this board is not a recommending body. Its decisions are final, subject only to review by the courts. Members are considered to be officers of the City of Alton, Texas.
The Building Standards & Review Board decides on applications for special exceptions of land use and authorizes variances of land use or development authorized under the zoning ordinance.
The board has three powers as specified in Section 211.009, Texas Local Government Code:
- To render an interpretation of the city zoning ordinance when someone alleges that there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by a city official who administrates the ordinance;
- To decide whether to approve or deny applications for a special exception to normal zoning rules when such use or development is specifically authorized in the zoning ordinance; and
- To authorize requests for variance from the zoning ordinance when it is not contrary to the public interest.
The Building Standards & Review Board meets in the City Council Chambers as deemed necessary by the board.
In actions before the Building Standards & Review Board, the burden of proof falls on the applicant, i.e.: (1) If a variance is requested, factual evidence must be presented to satisfy the Board that a hardship exists, which is not generally true of other properties in the area and which is not a self-created hardship. (The economic cost of compliance is not legally considered a hardship). (2) If the decision of an administrative official is appealed, evidence must be presented to satisfy the Board than an error exists in the officials decision. (3) If a special exception is requested, evidence must be presented to satisfy the Board that a special exception to terms of the ordinance is warranted due to the peculiar circumstances of the situation.
Raul Rodriguez, Miguel Barbosa, Frank Garcia, Julian Carranza, Arnie Trevino, Elizabeth Placeres and Carlos Perez.