Board Openings - Apply Now! : )

Board Openings on the City ZBA & DDA! (Zoning Board of Appeals & Downtown Development Authority)

Details below - Apply Now!  : )

1. ZBA Info:

Applicants are asked to submit an application by noon on August 31, 2017 to City Hall at 121 N. Fourth St., West Branch, MI 48661 or by email at  Listed below is the ZBA job description.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact City Hall at (989) 345-0500. 


The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) consists five (5) members.  One member shall be a member of the City Council, one member shall be a member of the Planning Commission and the remaining three (3) members shall be residents appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council to serve a three (3) year term. The ZBA will annually select a chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary at its first meeting of the calendar year.  The chair may not be an elected officer of the City.  An employee or contractor of the City Council may not serve as a member of the ZBA.  The ZBA has final agency authority on numerous land use applications as well as acting in an advisory capacity to City Council on various other land use matters. 


Two alternate members may be appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council to serve a three (3) year term.  The alternate may used as a substitute for a regular member of the ZBA in the event that a regular member is unable to participate in matters before the ZBA because of a conflict of interest, illness or other absence. 


FUNCTION                                                                                     MONTHLY HOURS
Special Board Meetings, Field Trips, Training, Etc.                                     Variable as needed                   


The general purpose of the Zoning Board of Appeals is to hear and decide any appeal or decision, order or interpretation by the officer whose duty it is to enforce the zoning ordinance, and it shall have the power to reverse any decision of such officer on a concurring vote of the board as provided by statute. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall also conduct hearings on requests for variances. 

In particular, the powers of the ZBA are: 

1. Interpretation: To decide any question involving the interpretation of any provision of the zoning ordinance, including determination of the exact location of any zoning district boundary or any other determination made in the application and administration of this chapter. Such interpretation shall be considered and rendered by the Board only upon application or appeal following a determination made by the City Manager or Zoning Enforcement Officer. 

2. Variances. 

a. Variances may be granted to modify or vary the strict application of any of the requirements of this Ordinance so that the spirit of this chapter shall be observed, public safety and welfare secured and substantial justice done where strict application would result in a practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship that would deprive the owner of the reasonable use of the land or building involved. The unnecessary hardship or practical difficulty must relate to the land, not the applicant, as all variances run with the land. A hardship or difficulty which is merely personal to the current owner of real property will not justify the granting of a variance which runs with the land. Variances granted are subject to site plan review. 

b. Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated: 

USE VARIANCE -- The authorization by the Zoning Board of Appeals for the use of land for a purpose which is otherwise not allowed or is prohibited by the applicable zoning regulations. 

AREA VARIANCE -- The authorization by the Zoning Board of Appeals for the use of land in manner which is not allowed by the dimensional or physical requirements of the applicable zoning regulations, such as minimum lot size, minimum lot width, minimum setbacks, off-street parking requirements or sign limitations.


Recognize and avoid or make public any conflict of interest your position may place you in; don’t pursue special privileges; maintain confidentiality; and let your behavior contribute to the smooth operation of your board. Much acrimony can be avoided this way.

Become familiar with the law that covers public open meetings and hearings and review the materials you were given when you were sworn in.

Able to attend relevant training that may be offered.

Able to attend ZBA meetings to review and discuss up-coming agenda items, development issues, work program activities, and to review and make decisions on land use development applications, changes to the City’s land use regulations, City wide, neighborhood and sub-area plans.

Able to attend occasional special work sessions with the City Council, various interest groups and other planning related presentations and field trips.

Have a willingness and dedication to commit both time and personal energy to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Have an interest in comprehensive community planning, zoning and subdivision of  land,

and the protection of the environment.

Have a desire to assist in implementing the City of West Branch’s Redevelopment Ready Communities and land use policies, including the Masterplan, 10 year plan, and zoning ordinances, for the purpose of protecting the health, safety and welfare of the residents.

Have a willingness to encourage and accept input from citizens, organizations and those directly affected by land use related actions made by the Board of Appeals.

2. DDA Info:

The City of West Branch is seeking applicants to fill a vacancy on the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).  The Downtown Development Authority was created to halt property value deterioration and increase property tax valuation where possible in the business district of the City, to eliminate the causes of that deterioration and to promote economic growth.  The DDA meets the fourth Tuesday of every month at noon at City Hall.  Terms are for four years with the filling of the current term to end on 1/1/18.  Applicants are asked to submit a resume or letter of interest by August 17, 2017 to City Hall at 121 N. Fourth St., West Branch, MI 48661, by phone at 989-345-0500, or by email at  Listed below is the DDA job description.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact City Hall at the addresses above. 

Downtown Development Authority
Job Description 

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was established to halt property value deterioration, increase property tax valuation, eliminate the causes of deterioration in property values, and to promote growth in the Downtown District.  The DDA works with businesses, property owners, City officials and staff, community organizations, and others. Duties will encompass a variety of tasks with a primary focus on the economic revitalization of the Downtown District.  It is composed of between 8-12 members with one member being the Mayor and one from City Council.  Members are appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council, based on nominations from current members of the Authority.  Each member will be appointed to a four-year term with no maximum term limit.  DDA Board meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 12:00 noon at City Hall.


  • Attend and contribute to all meetings.
  • Assist in the development of short- and long-range DDA plans, and aligning plans with the City's Master Plan.
  • Assist on matters affecting the District, such as large-scale development, general direction, and City relationship building.
  • Assisting in developing and preparing the budget.
  • Assisting in procuring revenue enhancements through grant writing, events, and sponsorships.
  • Assisting in promotional events and activities to attract people to the downtown district.
  • Fostering and seeking ways to address the common needs and interests of businesses, understanding the needs of each business, and ensuring that businesses are aware of and actively use the DDA's resources.
  • Assisting in site selection information and other resources for prospective businesses interested in moving to or growing in the DDA districts.
  • Assisting in developing and implementing programs and procedures regarding business recruitment, retention and expansion activities, and suggesting incentive programs for the DDA for formalization to entice business recruitment and retention
  • Assists in working with the local government, the chamber of commerce, merchants associations, redevelopment agencies, and other public, private or nonprofit groups, and associations interested in the downtown development
  • Any other duty and/or responsibility reasonably necessary to carry out the purposes and duties as may be from time to time assigned by the Board.


  • Attending professional development workshops and conferences to keep updated on trends and developments in the field of downtown development
  • Attending important City/DDA functions, events, etc. (business openings, groundbreaking ceremonies, etc.)


  • A willingness and ability to gain knowledge of basic laws, ordinances, and regulations affecting the operation of the DDA.
  • A passion for progress and continuing improvement.
  • A willingness to deal with the public, citizen groups, City staff, City Council, and media with a commitment to work collaboratively.
  • Ability to represent the DDA at internal and external meetings if needed.
  • A willingness to work with other members of the DDA.