Board of Adjustment

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Board of Adjustment

The Board of Adjustment can grant deviations from the provisions of Fargo's zoning code in specific cases where complying with the provisions would cause undue hardship because of circumstances unique to an individual property. The board can grant variances only when it is demonstrated that such actions will be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the zoning code and will not be contrary to the public interest.

The Board of Adjustment also hears and decides appeals where it is alleged that there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the zoning administrator in the enforcement or interpretation of the ordinances. The board does not hear variance requests for residential dwelling unit densities.

North Dakota Century Code 40-47-07 provides for appointment of five members to the Board for three-year terms as well as an alternate member if so desired. It states in part, “the concurring vote of four members of the board shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement, decision or determination of any such administrative official or to decide in favor of the applicant any matter upon which it is required to pass under any such ordinance or to effect any variation in such ordinance”.

The appeals process is outlined in two sections of the NDCC: 40-47-08 relates to an appeal to the Board of Adjustment and 40-47-11 deals with appeals to the governing body.

City Ordinance 20-0803 relates to composition of the board and its powers and duties.

The Land Development Code (20-0803) states the Board of Adjustment shall be responsible for reviewing and taking local action to approve, approve with conditions or deny zoning variance applications. It further states that in all matters where appeal powers have not been specifically assigned to the Planning Commission or Board of City Commissioners, the Board of Adjustment shall be responsible for hearing appeals of administrative decisions and for taking the final local action to uphold or overturn the administrative official’s decision.

How to be Placed on the Board's Agenda

Property owners interested in asking the board for a variance must submit an application to do so. Applications can be obtained in the Department of Planning and Development. Each application should be accompanied by a $185 fee. This fee covers legal publishing and mailings to the local neighborhood to notify the public of the request for a variance.

Meeting Schedule & Location

The Board of Adjustment meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Commission Chambers, City Hall, at 225 4th Street North, Fargo, ND, 58102. Notice of such hearings are published in the Fargo Forum once each week for two successive weeks before the meeting.

Meetings are broadcast live on cable channel TV Fargo 56 and can be seen live at They are rebroadcast each Tuesday at 9 a.m. and Friday at 1 p.m.

People with disabilities who plan to attend the meeting and need special accommodations should contact the Planning Office at 701.241.1474 or TDD at 701.241.8258. Please contact us at least 48 hours before the meeting to give our staff adequate time to make arrangements.