Variance

A variance is a tool to obtain relief from the strict application of requirements such as building height, building setback, and yard requirements. The Board of Zoning Appeals may grant a variance upon a finding that there is some extraordinary circumstance or condition on the property that would warrant a waiver of a Zoning Ordinance requirement, or that strict application of the requirement would result in peculiar and unusual practical difficulties, or exceptional or undue hardship upon the owner.

historic building at the corner of intersectionPre-Application Conference: Required under new Zoning Ordinance only when associated with a companion case. Not applicable to variances heard by the BOA.

Pre-Application Neighborhood Meeting: Required under new Zoning Ordinance only when associated with a companion case, except that owners of a single-family, two-family, three-family, or townhouse dwelling are not required to conduct a Pre-Application Neighborhood Meeting for a proposed variance pertaining to their dwelling or lot. Not applicable to variances heard by the BOA.

Subdivision and Development Review Committee (SDRC): Variance applications may be referred to the SDRC, at the discretion of the Zoning Section Supervisor or at the request of the applicant.

Decision Maker: The Board of Zoning Appeals is authorized to grant most variances. The Planning Board, Zoning Hearing Examiner (ZHE), and District Council are also authorized to grant variances associated with development applications on which they take the final action.

Fees

Existing single-family attached and detached residences
$200
Proposed, newly constructed, or under construction single-family attached and detached residences
$500
Churches in conjunction with a Special Exception
No Fee
All Others
$1,500

Public Notice Requirement

Board of Appeals - Sign postings at subject site are required 15 days prior to the hearing and mailings are required 15 days prior to the hearing to: 

  • The applicant
  • Owners of all lands abutting or opposite the land subject to the application
  • Any municipality in whose boundaries the property is located

Planning Board and Zoning Hearing Examiner - Notice shall be the same as that required for the companion (parent) application.

Estimated Review Time: Dependent upon associated development proposal.


Application Instructions

The new Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations go into effect on April 1, 2022. For a period of two years (until March 31, 2024), Applicants have the option to submit under the requirements of either the new or prior Ordinance. [Note: Review under the prior Ordinance requires a Pre-Application Conference and Statement of Justification to explain why the applicant has not chosen to develop under the provisions of the new Ordinance.

Any application accepted prior to the effective date of the new Ordinance (April 1, 2022) will be reviewed and decided in accordance to the provisions of the prior Ordinance.

Find application materials below separated per the applicable Ordinance.

  1. After April 1, 2022
  2. Prior to April 1, 2022