• 2014 Snow Show

    Please join the City of Des Moines Department of Public Works at the "Snow Show" on Saturday, October 4th from 8 am to 12 noon at the Court Avenue Bridge.

    News

    More Info

  • Best City for Young Professionals

    City Award - Best City for Young Professionals. Des Moines tops the list for the Best City for Young Professionals. Factors such as local unemployment rates, job growth projections and median salaries of 24 - 34 year old employed college grads.

    News

    More Info

  • Des Moines Named #1 Up and Coming City for Food

    Women’s Health and Yelp teamed up to find the best of the best and Des Moines tops their list of “5 Best Up and Coming Cities for Food” . “Des Moines isn't just a presidential-hopeful pit stop—it's practically a foodie paradise.”

    News

    More Info

  • #1 Up-and-Coming Downtown

    Fortune magazine names Des Moines number one "up-and-coming" downtown.

    News

    More Info

  • Welcome to the City of Des Moines

    A major center for insurance, financial services and publishing, Des Moines has a lot to offer, such as affordable housing, short commute times, a diverse population, and was also recently named one of the best places to live on the Silicon Prairie.

    News

    More Info

  • Spotlight on Des Moines

    Gray's Lake Park features the 1,400 foot-long Kruidenier Trail pedestrian bridge and a 1.9 mile trail around the lake. "...Residents can walk, bike, boat or fish -- right in the very heart of downtown," said Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie.

    News

    View Article

  • Iowa State Capitol

    The Iowa State Capitol is among the most beautiful state capitols in the country with its 275-foot, 23-karat gold leafed dome anchoring the east end of downtown Des Moines.

    News

    More Info

  • East Village

    Historic East Village is an eclectic neighborhood of restored historic properties, beautiful streetscapes, and urban living at the foot of the State Capitol.

    News

    More Info

  • World Food Prize

    Des Moines is home to the World Food Prize the foremost international award recognizing the achievements in advancing human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

    News

    More Info

The Zoning Board of Adjustment hear appeals for Zoning variances. 

Powers of the Board of Adjustment

The first of three powers granted boards of adjustment as a "safety valve’ is interpretation of the zoning ordinance. In this case the careful wording of intent and purpose of the ordinance and each zoning district is especially crucial. For example, an ordinance may permit "home occupations" within residential district buy may not list all of the specific uses that can be included in this category. An applicant may apply for a building permit to remodel a portion of a residence for use as a bicycle shop. If the permit is refused, an appeal may be made to the board because the applicant believes this is as much of a home occupation as engaging in ironing or dress making.


The second safety valve permitted in zoning is the power to grant special exceptions. Certain special uses occur infrequently within a city or county and rarely, if ever, do they exist in groups. As such, these special uses may be listed in the ordinance either as a permitted use within certain zoning districts or a permitted use throughout the jurisdiction, subject to a hearing before the board. The applicant petitions the board of adjustment directly to authorize a special use. At this time the legislative bodies are not involved; however, most boards of adjustment refer the special-use request to the planning and zoning commission for its review and recommendation. Generally, as a part of granting the special use, the board attaches conditions to the approval to ensure that the purpose of the zoning ordinance is carried out.


The final power of the board of adjustment is the authority to grant variances. This power is the least understood and most abused, and in many cases is the principal reason a zoning ordinance loses much of its effectiveness. A variance is exactly that-the board of adjustment authorizes a landowner or developer to vary from the express regulations of the zoning ordinance because enforcing the provisions of the ordinance would cause extraordinary hardship on that person.


 Zoning Board of Adjustment


Zoning Board of Adjustment Application