The Zoning Ordinance sets forth development standards for each Zoning District. The Variance Permit is required to waive or alter one or more of these development standards. There are occasions when the strict application of these standards may deprive a property owner the basic land use intended for the zone because of special circumstances, such as the size, shape, topography, location, and surroundings of a property. The intent of this review is to grant an exception to the standard zoning regulations when hardship is proven.
Is my project subject to a Variance Permit?
A Variance Permit is required if your project does not meet the minimum standards set forth in your zoning district, such as parking, setbacks, height, lot coverage, etc. A variance may not be used to permit uses of property other than those permitted by the existing zoning district.
A Variance Permit application must be submitted to the Planning & Building Department for review. Projects minor in scope can be acted upon at a staff level by the Zoning Administrator, while larger and more complex projects are acted upon by the Design Review Commission or Planning Commission. A Variance Permit will only be approved if it meets the required findings.
We recommend that applicants consider submitting a Study Session Application, which enables you to receive feedback from the Design Review Commission on a preliminary design of your project and often results in a better project and a smoother review process. For other tips, please visit our Marquis de Lafayette's Tips for Success handout.
Check the Project Checklist to determine if your project is subject to other triggers for review.