What is a variance?

Variance permits are requested by citizens in specific cases where strict enforcement of a zoning regulation would cause unnecessary or unusual hardship. The Board of Zoning Appeals hears requests for variances and can vary or modify a regulation. An application for a variance must contain a surveyed plat and a statement of the unusual circumstances or unique physical characteristics which would cause an unreasonable hardship on the applicant with the strict enforcement of the requirements of the Zoning ordinance. These may include exceptional narrowness, shallowness, size, or topographic conditions of the property.

The process for a variance is as follows:

  1. Bring proposed plans to the Community Development Department where staff will provide pre-application counseling. An application form and other necessary information will need to be presented to the Board of Zoning Appeals in preparation for a public hearing.
  2. Upon receipt of the complete application form and required fee, the Planning staff and representatives from other City departments will review the request.
  3. A site inspection will be made. All staff analysis and recommendations will be prepared and submitted to the Board and the applicant. During this time, the request will be advertised in local newspapers, and notice of requests will be sent to adjacent property owners.

At the public hearing, the applicant or a representative must appear to present the proposal and answer questions. Other interested parties will also be allowed to speak. After hearing the testimony, the Board will take action on the request by either approving the request (with or without conditions), deny the request, or defer for additional consideration. The process takes approximately one month.

Show All Answers

1. What are special uses and rezoning permits?
2. What is a variance?