Variance review procedures allow the deviation from the dimensional standards in the UDO (lot size or area, setbacks, height, bulk standards) when the strict application of these standards would result in “practical difficulties and unnecessary hardships” that result from the unique circumstances related to the land.
The hardship must stem from special circumstances or conditions beyond the landowner’s control (such as topographical conditions, narrowness, shallowness, or the shape of a specific parcel of land), and not be created by the actions of the landowner.
A Variance does not allow a change in use (if a landowner wants to accomplish a change in use, it is necessary to obtain approval of a Map or Text Amendment).
Special Steps in the Variance Process
Variance hearings are quasi-judicial in nature and must follow the requirements of such hearings. A public hearing is required at the Zoning Commission. A pre-application conference is required for all Variance applications.