Board of Adjustment and Appeals


The Washington County Board of Adjustment and Appeals is established pursuant to Minnesota State Statute 394.27 and the Washington County Development Code, Chapter One, Section 6.

The Board of Adjustment and Appeals shall have the following powers with respect to the Washington County Development Code:

  1. Administrative Appeals
    The Board shall have the exclusive authority to hear and decide appeals from and review any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Zoning Administrator with respect to the administration of the Washington County Development Code.
  2. Variances
    The Board shall have the exclusive power to order the issuance of variances from the terms of any Official Control, including restrictions placed upon nonconformities.
  3. Official Map 
    Where an Official Map has been adopted by the County, the Board shall hear and decide an appeal by the owner of land who has been denied a permit to build within the limits of land delineated on an Official Map.


The Board of Adjustment and Appeals consists of seven members, the majority of whom come from the unincorporated area of the county:

  • Six of the members are appointed by the County Board on an at-large basis.
  • One is chair of the Washington County Planning Advisory Commission (or his/her designee). 

No elected official of the county nor any employee of the county may serve as a member of the Board of Adjustment and Appeals.


This is a quasi-judicial activity, and the membership has specific duties and procedures set out by state statute. Familiarity with land-use regulation is critical in filling these positions. Members should have prior experience with review and approval procedures for various types of requests for land development.

Procedure for appointment

Applicants must complete the required application for appointment to this committee. Submit any background information requested. Applicants for at-large appointment to the Board of Adjustment and Appeals are interviewed by the County Board.

Member terms

Committee members are appointed by the County Board for staggered three-year terms, so that no more than two terms expire in any one year. Board members may be reappointed to additional terms as determined by the County Board. Even though a member may be appointed (or reappointed) for a three-year term, the County Board may, at its discretion, replace the member at any time when, in the opinion of the board, it is in the best interests of the county to do so.

Meeting requirements

Meetings are normally held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. Additional meetings may be held at the call of the Zoning Administrator at other times as the Board of Adjustment and Appeals may specify, or as may be necessary, in order to complete the work of the Board. Meetings are at the Government Center in Stillwater.


Members of the Board of Adjustment and Appeals receive meeting per diem and mileage reimbursement at the rate established by the County Board.