What Is A Variance In Real Estate? (TOP 5 Tips)

Essentially, a property owner requests a variance when their planned use of their property deviates from local zoning laws designed to protect property values. If granted, a variance acts as a waiver to some aspect of the zoning law or regulations.


What is an example of a variance in real estate?

Some examples of area variances might include: A request to put a fence up along your property line. A request to build a property closer than normally permitted to a roadway. A request to build a structure higher than usually permitted by the local zoning ordinance.

How do you find the variance of a property?

Usually, the land owner seeking the variance files a request or written application for a variance and pays a fee. Normally, the requests go first to a zoning board. The zoning board notifies nearby and adjacent property owners. The zoning examiner may then hold a hearing to determine if the variance should be granted.

Is it hard to get a variance?

A use variance is more difficult to obtain than an area variance. There are many situations where you might require one of these variances, which include: If you want to make a building on an otherwise vacant piece of land. If you want to change how a current building is being used.

What does variance mean in zoning?

A zoning variance is an exception to a zoning ordinance that’s granted on a case-by-case basis by a local government.

How long does a variance last?

As a generally accepted legal principle, zoning variances run with the land. That means that they’re unaffected when you sell your house. However, some variances can be limited for 5 or 10 years, and when they expire, the new owner would have to obtain a new variance.

What do you need a variance for?

A use variance is required when the building’s intended use will violate the zoning ordinances; for example, a use variance would be required to build an office building in a residential neighborhood. Use variances are much harder to obtain than area variances.

How long does it take to get a variance?

A complete Variance application submitted to the Planning Division office by the deadline date will be scheduled for the Planning Commission meeting at the end of the following month. The entire process typically takes 45 to 50 days to complete.

Do variances get approved?

In general, your variance will probably be approved if your property has some unique characteristic”a severe slope or an odd shape, for example”that prevents you from enjoying the same kind of property use that your neighbors have.

Can you apply for a variance after the fact?

The Board argues that granting an after-the-fact variance would, “unduly undermine the zoning code’s requirement of needing a permit or variance before beginning any construction” and would be against public interest. If this reasoning were correct, no person would ever be able to obtain a variance after-the-fact.

How do you win a variance hearing?

So with that said, I have 7 tips to offer for anyone who is going for a zoning variance:

  1. Present a (real) hardship. Obviously, this is quite literally the number one tip for winning a variance.
  2. Be Respectful. Be respectful.
  3. Be Prepared.
  4. Create exhibits.
  5. Practice your argument.
  6. Review with the ZEO.
  7. Express Gratitude.

How do you fight a variance request?

A good way to begin the process is to circulate a petition against the zoning variance request around the neighborhood, obtain signatures, addresses and telephone numbers, and send the signed document to the entity hearing the variance request to be placed in the administrative record before the local zoning board or

What is a setback variance?

A Setback Variance may be processed to provide limited reduction of the structure to the property lines. When a parcel appears to have limited potential, the setback variance process allows a property owner the same development privileges enjoyed by other property owners within the same zone district.

What is a variance approval?

A variance is an approved exception to a zoning law. Obtaining a variance is done through the local zoning board or planning commission and involves submitting an application and, in most cases, gaining approval at a hearing. Each municipality has its own rules and processes.

What are the properties of variance?


  • Var(CX) = C2. Var(X), where C is a constant.
  • Var(aX + b) = a2. Var(X), where a and b are constants.
  • If X1, X2,……., Xn are n independent random variables, then.

What Is a Variance in Real Estate? An Investor’s Guide

Real estate has traditionally been the preferred investment for people seeking to accumulate long-term wealth for their families and future generations. By subscribing to our complete real estate investment guide, you will receive assistance in navigating this asset class. A variance is a legal exemption to your local zoning restrictions that can be used in real estate. If you’re a homeowner or an investor who wants to do anything with your property that isn’t allowed by local zoning regulations, you’ll need a variance to make it functional for you.

What is a variance in real estate?

A variance is an exemption to the local zoning laws that applies to real estate. Obtaining a variance, on the other hand, does not alter the present zoning regulations for the region, and it is not the same as rezoning the property in question. Instead, it functions as a dispensation from zoning regulations, which is issued on an individual basis for special demands. An approved zoning variance “runs with the land,” which means that it becomes part of the property rather than belonging to the individual who applied for it.

Please keep in mind that zoning regulations and ordinances are often set at the local level rather than at the state or federal level.

They will be able to provide you with further information on the zoning laws in the area as well as what sorts of variance requests are commonly granted.

What are the different types of variances?

In order to understand how to get a variance, it’s first necessary to grasp the many sorts of variances available. We’ve gone through each of them in detail below, as well as provided some samples. This understanding should let to determine the sort of variance you require for your property with greater clarity and precision.

Area variance

Zoning appeals for area variances are the most prevalent sort of zoning appeals, and they refer to a request to use the property in a way that is often not permitted by the applicable zoning requirement’s dimensions or physical limitations. However difficult that description appears, it ultimately indicates that you wish to modify a physical element of the property rather than the way it is being utilized. Here are a few instances of area variations to consider:

  • A request for the construction of a fence along your property’s boundary
  • A request to develop a property closer to a roadway than is generally authorized
  • A request for permission to construct a structure that is taller than is typically authorized by the local zoning regulations

Use variance

As you may have guessed from the name, a use variance is a request to modify the way in which property is to be utilized in accordance with the existing zoning regulations, which is not always possible. While homeowners are more likely to request area variances, investors are the ones who are more likely to employ this particular form of variance request. However, because the way a property is used is likely to have an impact on the surrounding area as a whole, use variances are often more difficult to obtain than area variances, and they typically necessitate special circumstances or a much higher burden of proof on the part of the applicant to obtain approval.

  • The conversion of a single-family residence into a multifamily structure
  • A request for permission to operate a commercial enterprise out of a residential residence
  • The construction of an industrial structure in an area designated for commercial use has been requested.

How to get a variance

Again, because variations are assessed on a case-by-case basis, it’s difficult to provide information regarding the precise variance process you’ll need to take in order to receive a variance in your particular situation. In general, though, you’ll follow the methods outlined above.

Fill out an application

An application for a variance and the payment of an application fee are often the first two steps in the process of acquiring one. When it comes to variance applications, they are often more thorough than just outlining what you would like to be done to the land. Providing proof of the need for a variance is your responsibility as a landowner, and you must bear the burden of proof. For a variance to be granted, landowners must demonstrate the following elements to the county:

  1. That complying with current zoning regulations would put you in an unnecessarily difficult situation
  2. That the particular suffering you are experiencing is caused by limits specific to your property
  3. That, if the deviation is allowed, it will not have a negative impact on public interests

Most of the time, for a variance to be allowed, it is necessary to meet all three conditions.

Await a decision

The next step once you’ve submitted your application and paid any applicable costs is to wait for a decision from your local zoning board on the matter. Typically, their decisions are based on a rigorous interpretation of local zoning regulations. If your variance request has been approved, you will be issued a permit to proceed. If you don’t agree with the decision, you’ll usually be given the chance to appeal it.

The appeal process

Most of the time, the zoning appeal procedure takes the form of a public hearing on the subject of the zoning dispute. Occasionally, the zoning board may notify surrounding property owners of your sought deviation, and they may appear at the public hearing to make their case for why they feel granting the variance will be detrimental to the public interest. During the hearing, it is also your responsibility as the petitioner to clearly articulate the exceptional circumstances and unnecessarily difficult conditions that would result if the variance is not granted.

The burden of evidence is higher when it comes to a usage variance, on the other hand.

The bottom line

When it comes to real estate investing or house ownership, acquiring variances may not be the most fun aspect of the process, but when they are required, they are critical. If you require a variance for your property, this document will serve as a guide to the application procedure. Because every municipality has its own zoning law, your best chance if you’re seeking for more specific guidance on what to do is to either speak with someone in your local zoning office or consult an attorney who specializes in real estate.

What is a Variance in Real Estate? Everything About Zoning

A variance in real estate is an exemption to the local zoning restrictions that govern the property.

If you’re a homeowner or an investor who wants to do something on your property that is prohibited by local zoning restrictions, you’ll need a variance to make the adjustments. For a better understanding of what a variance is, it is necessary to first comprehend the notion of zoning.

What is zoning?

Zoning regulations govern the use of land in a municipality. They have complete control over how land may be developed and how the area that has been designated can be used. Residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial zoning are just a handful of the most popular types of zoning classifications. Property kinds that can coexist side by side in a certain region of a municipality are dictated by the zoning regulations in place. Specific single-family house zoning districts exist in certain regions, but some mixed-use or transitional zoning districts may allow for the coexistence of certain businesses and a small number of single and multi-family residences in the same area.

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Structures used for heavy industries are only permitted in specified places and are purposefully located away from residential areas.

Construction Regulation

Zoning regulations might also help to maintain the value of your house. The fact that your nearby buildings are used as residences increases the likelihood that the value of properties in the region will remain high. It is possible to make a significant impact in the general desirability of a community by limiting what may and cannot be constructed, as well as determining how private property can be utilized. Building height limits, minimum lot sizes, and how far your house must be backed from a road are all governed by zoning rules, which also regulate precise elements of construction.

If you wish to proceed down this road, you must first obtain avariance.

Zoning regulations differ from city to city, so it’s important to check with your local planning commission.

What’s a variance in real estate?

Generally speaking, a real estate variance is an exception to a zoning restriction that is given on an individual basis for specific requests. Once a zoning variance is obtained, it becomes part of the land’s ownership. It implies that if a proposed real estate deviation is approved, it will remain in effect even if the ownership of the property changes hands later on. However, while zoning regulations can be useful, they can also be an encumbrance on your right to own private land. Land owners who wish to utilize their property must adhere to the rules and regulations established by the local government.

Zoning regulations govern what may and cannot be erected on your land, and they include limits on things like size, location, use, and many other factors.

Whether or not these regulations were obeyed during the initial building of your house, they may come into play again if you decide to add an addition to your property.

Are you interested in starting a home office or business?

Essentially, you request real estate variance when your intended use of your property differs from the local zoning restrictions that are intended to safeguard property values in your neighborhood. Variances, if granted, are treated as a waiver from a specific provision of the zoning law or rules.

What are the different types of variances?

It’s critical to understand the numerous sorts of real estate deviations that are available to you. Keep in mind that certain deviations will have a time constraint associated with them. Additionally, when a variance is granted, you are not compelled to make improvements unless you want the variance to remain with the property. Obtaining a variance simply means that you have been granted permission to make the adjustments you sought. Zoning appeals for area variances are the most typical form of appeal.

The following are some instances of area variances:

  • Erecting a fence along the perimeter of your land
  • Construction of a structure that is closer to a roadway than is generally authorized
  • The construction of a structure that is taller than is typically authorized by the local zoning regulations

An application for a variance is a request to modify the way real estate is used in accordance with the existing zoning regulations.. While homeowners are more likely to request area variances, investors are the ones who are more likely to employ this particular form of variance request. The way a property is used is likely to have an impact on the surrounding region as a whole; thus, use variances are more difficult to get than area variances, and they need unusual conditions or a considerably greater burden of evidence than area variances do.

  • Converting a single-family residence into a multifamily structure
  • Incorporating a commercial enterprise within a residential building
  • The placement of a commercial structure in an area where an industrial building is prohibited

How do I get a variance?

A variance application must be completed and a fee must be paid before one can be considered for the deviation. You, as the property owner, can write the application, or your attorney can do it on your behalf. As opposed to just outlining what you’d like to do to the property, variance petitions are often more involved affairs. If you are the property owner and you request a variance, you must bear the burden of demonstrating why the deviation is necessary. The following requirements must be met by property owners in order to receive approval for a variance:

  • The current zoning regulations will place an undue burden on your shoulders
  • Thus, you should abide by them. The particular difficulty arises as a result of restrictions that are specific to your property
  • If the deviation is allowed, it will not have a negative impact on public interests.

Most of the time, for a variance to be allowed, it is necessary to meet all three conditions. In order to proceed, you must first await a ruling from your local zoning board on the matter. Typically, their decisions are based on a rigorous interpretation of local zoning regulations. If your request for a variance is approved, you will be issued a building permit. If you don’t agree with the decision, you’ll usually be given the chance to appeal it.

Can neighbors stop a variance?

A public hearing is often held as part of the appeals procedure. Upon receiving your variance request, the zoning board may notify surrounding property owners about it. Neighbors may then attend the hearing to express their concerns about how granting the deviation may harm the public interest. It is your responsibility, as the petitioner, to clearly articulate the exceptional circumstances and unjustified hardship that will result if the variance is not granted. Upnest can connect you with a local Realtor who is knowledgeable about zoning rules and property restrictions in your region if you are considering making improvements to your property or purchasing land on which to build a home.

If you are planning to sell your home and need to make renovations to it, talk to local realtors to find out how they can assist you in streamlining your project and advocating on your behalf during the selling process.

What Is Variance in Real Estate: 6 FAQs About Zoning

A land variance may be present on your property, and you may be concerned about how it may affect the sale of your home. Answers to six of the most frequently asked questions concerning zoning variances are provided in this section. Zoning regulations govern what may be constructed and where it can be erected in a city or municipality. They may apply to concerns such as the height of a structure, signs, or billboards. Property setbacks and fence heights are two of the most frequently encountered deviations by homeowners, particularly those who live in older properties.

Alternatively, your realtor may have inquired as to whether your home has any deviations, and you are unsure of the response.

What does land variance mean?

A land variance is defined as the use or development of a piece of property in a manner that differs from the regulations of the municipality. Land variances are issued by the municipality to allow a property owner to utilize their land in a way that isn’t generally authorized by the town. It can be an exemption to a zoning regulation (for example, a business in a residential zone), a building rule, or a municipal code, among other things. A setback variance permits a homeowner to construct a structure closer to the property line or an alley than is permitted by local building standards.

How do you find the variance of a property?

In order to acquire a variance, a landowner must submit a written request or application to the zoning board of adjustment. If your request is granted, it will be filed with the local zoning board or county office, and you will receive a copy of the decision. This is public information that may be discovered by researching the history of a property. When you’re selling a home, your real estate agent will likely notice if your garage appears to be built too close to the property line, or if there are any other difficulties, allowing you to investigate any previous variations you were unaware of.

Do zoning variances expire?

Planning and zoning authorities are well aware that once a variance has been granted, it is very difficult to have it taken back again. The rulings are final and go with the land when it is transferred. In other cases, however, an ordinance may contain wording stating that a variance approval is only valid for a specific amount of time. Sometimes it just expires if nothing is done about it, for example, if the owner hasn’t completed the fence yet. A copy of the land variance ordinance should be included with the seller’s disclosures if you are selling a property that has a variance.

It’s a good idea to loop in yourrealtorin and rely on their knowledge to assess the variances in application and expiration dates because there are regional variations.

Don’t let a variance scare away potential buyers.

A Clever Partner Agent will understand how to communicate variations to prospective purchasers.

Do variances run with the land?

Zoning deviations, according to commonly recognized legal principles, are transferred with the land. This implies that when you sell your home, they will not be impacted in any way. Some deviations, on the other hand, can only be used for a period of 5 or 10 years, and when they expire, the new owner must apply for another variance. If your variance is set to expire within a few years after the sale, it may cause worry among prospective purchasers. Consult with your real estate agent about the most effective way to offer this information to reassure buyers.

What is a variance letter?

In support of their application for a variance, a homeowner submits a letter of support. It outlines the reasons for the request for a variance as well as their intentions if the request is granted. It is possible that your intention is to demolish and rebuild an existing fence, or that you intend to build an expansion.

What happens at a zoning hearing?

The zoning board will notify your neighbors and anyone else who may be affected by your request for a zoning deviation once you have submitted your application. They will be given the opportunity to express any concerns they may have, either in writing or during a hearing. The hearing will be conducted by the zoning board, and you will be required to provide any evidence in support of your application. Other property owners will have the opportunity to respond to your request and make counter-arguments.

A vote will be taken only after the zoning board has heard all sides of the case.

Zoning boards also take into consideration the neighborhood’s aesthetics, traffic flow, and noise level.

They’re top-rated agents in your neighborhood who are well-versed in local construction codes and know where to look for further information when needed.

Related Articles

There is a possibility that the sort of construction you want to create on a plot of land that you own will not be directly permitted inside the zone that your property falls under when you want to construct a home or building on a plot of land that you own. In this circumstance, you may be able to seek a zoning variance, which would allow you to circumvent the local zoning code and proceed with your project. Consider the following scenario: a construction company’s owner want to construct a structure that will allow them to conduct business in a specified location.

Without a zoning variance, the owner of the construction firm would be forced to find another location to conduct his business.

A regular occurrence is the use of zoning restrictions, which are put in place to keep property values at a high level.

An increase in the value of a single-family property would result from the construction of a library on the lot next to it.

This page provides a comprehensive overview of zoning variances, as well as the several reasons why you would wish to submit an application for one.

Zoning Variances and Permits

Variances and permits for zoning are quite similar, with a few important variations that you should be aware of before applying for one. A zoning permit gives property owners the authority to use their land for a purpose other than that which is specifically permitted by the local zoning legislation. The granting of zoning permits is permissible in cases when the alternative use of the property does not have a detrimental impact on the neighboring area. Understand, however, that these permits are regarded conditional, which means that they are only granted if the landowner can demonstrate that he or she can satisfy the requirements set out by the local zoning board in order to get the permission.

With a variance in hand, it is feasible to alter the minimum lot size requirements or to deviate from the minimum setback standards for property boundaries.

Two Separate Types of Variances

Area variances and usage variances are the two forms of variances that may be obtained. Area variances are the more common type of deviation. In the case of an area variance, the property owner is permitted to erect a structure that does not comply with the physical standards set out in the zoning regulation. For example, you might be able to get an area variance for the purpose of erecting a structure that is bigger than the square-footage limitations specified by the local planning commission.

A person who gets a use variance might possibly operate a business in a residential neighborhood if the use variance is granted.

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There are a variety of instances in which one of these variations may be required, including the following:

  • If you wish to construct a structure on a piece of land that was previously undeveloped
  • You must notify the city when you construct or alter a building in a way that would result in a direct change in its categorization. For example, if you wish to modify the way a present building is utilized
  • If you want to use the land for a purpose other than the one specified in the zoning classification, you must file a variance request.

Because the process of getting a zoning variance may be difficult and time-consuming, it is highly suggested that you seek professional guidance at this point. Because a zoning deviation has the potential to have a negative impact on a community or neighborhood, these variances are not granted to just anybody. Consider enlisting the assistance of a real estate attorney with extensive expertise in dealing with zoning variances in order to prepare for these difficulties. A zoning variance may be easier to acquire if you consult with an expert who can give you with information and help.

How to Obtain a Zoning Variance

The application must be completed and submitted to your local zoning board or building inspector if you desire a variance from the city’s zoning rules and regulations. Recall that all zoning concerns are handled by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, which means they are the ones you will want to contact if you wish to submit an application for a zoning variance. If you are submitting a zoning variance application, the specific rules that you must follow will vary depending on the city.

  1. When you’re preparing to submit an application for a zoning variance, it’s critical that you understand what constitutes a lawful nonconforming use, which is also referred to as a continuing existing use.
  2. If this is the case, your property might continue to be utilized in the same manner regardless of whether or not a new zoning rule is passed.
  3. Keep in mind that even when a legitimate nonconforming use should be permitted, it is not always the case.
  4. This might lead to a determination that the advantages gained by property owners as a result of the new ordinance outweigh any disadvantages they may have suffered.
  5. Applying for an enlargement to the nonconforming use nearly never results in a successful outcome.
  6. When seeking to obtain a zoning variance, one important step that you may do is to directly dispute the zoning ordinance that governs your property.
  7. If a state has approved a master plan, all zoning regulations will be required to take the master plan into consideration.

While you may not be able to get the zoning legislation amended in its entirety, it is feasible that contesting the ordinance will make it simpler for you to obtain a zoning variance in certain circumstances.

Tips for Getting a Zoning Variance

It is critical that you make every effort to obtain a zoning variance rather than breaching the law. Choosing to flout the local zoning regulation and proceeding with construction on your land may result in you being ordered to cease all work on your property if the city becomes aware of the work that you are undertaking. Additionally, the city might order you to demolish all of the construction work that has been accomplished up to this point. Despite the fact that you own the property, the city retains the power to regulate how it is utilized and developed.

Once you’ve gotten in touch with the zoning board and requested an application, there are several suggestions and rules that you should follow in order to increase your chances of having your application granted as quickly as possible.

Review the Application Form

A zoning variance application often contains the conditions for getting a variance, which is why it is important to carefully check the application before submitting it to the appropriate authority.

Consult with your Contractor or Architect

An effective argument or a well-planned project may be provided by the contractor or architect you have engaged, making seeking a zoning variance appear like an understandable request to the local planning commission.

Obtain Permission from Your Neighbors

The zoning board will speak with and listen to your neighbors in order to assess whether or not they are in favor of your project moving forward. As a result, you should speak with your neighbors directly in order to measure their interest.

Attending Meetings with the Zoning Board

Attending a zoning board meeting will assist you in being familiar with the terminology used to define zoning laws, as well as provide you with a chance to meet the persons who will be deciding whether or not to accept or reject your application.

Speak with a Zoning or Real Estate Lawyer in Your Area

If you’re having trouble obtaining a zoning variance, it may be in your best interests to employ the services of a zoning attorney who has extensive expertise in handling such issues. Using these principles, you should have a simpler time obtaining a zoning variance approval. As soon as you have the zoning variance approval, you may begin working on your building project without additional delay.

Jason Somers, PresidentFounder of Crest Real Estate

Jason Somers has over 15 years of professional expertise in the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, and he possesses the knowledge, judgment, and track record necessary to give an unrivaled level of service in the field of real estate. His extensive experience assists customers in the identification and acquisition of income-producing assets as well as value-added development prospects. Find out more about Jason Somersor get in touch with us.

Getting a Zoning Variance—What Steps do I Need to Take?

It is required to establish “unnecessary hardship” in order to receive approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) of the State of New York before a zoning variance may be granted. To establish that you have suffered an unjustified hardship, you must meet certain requirements, including the presentation of evidence that existing zoning restrictions have prevented you from realizing a reasonable return on your property and assurance that the requested use variance will not alter the essential character of the surrounding neighborhood.

  1. What is a Zoning Variance and how does it work?
  2. Zoning variances may only be granted by the New York State Zoning Board of Appeals, and petitioners must fulfill a number of requirements in order to be considered for a variance.
  3. Once a zoning exception has been approved, it is applied to the existing property rather than the owner of the land.
  4. While zoning policies and statutes differ from one New York city to the next, the procedures for obtaining a zoning variance are the same throughout the state.
  5. Exactly what sorts of zoning deviations are available?

The Zoning Board of Appeals points out that the requirements for each of these variance kinds are different. A Use Variance is a permission that allows the use of land that would otherwise be prohibited by zoning restrictions. A few examples provided by the Zoning Board of Appeals are as follows:

  • Commercial use in a residential area
  • Multiple dwellings in a single-family home district
  • And industrial use in a commercial district are all examples of permitted uses in a residential district.

Given that a Use variance requires the use of a property in ways that are otherwise contrary to the nature of the surrounding neighborhood, it is necessary to set a high bar when applying for a zoning variance. This places a heavy burden of proof on the property owner to demonstrate that existing zoning conditions have caused hardship. The following are the prerequisites for establishing hardship and getting a Zoning Variance:

  • Demonstrating that the applicant’s ability to realize a reasonable return is hampered by current zoning restrictions Evidence showing the request for a variance is based on Unusual Circumstances that affect solely the property in issue and do not spread to the surrounding area
  • Demonstrating that the variation will not have an adverse effect on the neighborhood’s essential character
  • And demonstrating that the necessity for a variance is not the result of self-created hardship.

An Area Variance is one in which the ZBA permits the use of property in a way that would otherwise be prohibited due to the size or physical criteria of relevant zoning laws, unless the ZBA deems it necessary. Among the possible examples are:

  • Adding an addition to a home
  • Erecting a fence along a property boundary
  • And establishing off-street parking in conjunction with a property are all examples of home improvement projects.

In most cases, area variances give a more accessible threshold that is contingent on establishing that the zoning deviation will not have a detrimental impact on the neighborhood surrounding the property. A notable feature of this area variance is that, as opposed to the applicant, the Zoning Board of Appeals has the responsibility of ensuring that specific requirements are met. In order to issue an Area Variance, the ZBA must meet the following requirements:

  • Decide whether or not the variation will result in an Unwanted Change in the neighborhood. Consider possible Alternative Strategies to a variance that might be permissible within the terms of current regulations
  • And Determine whether or not the proposed deviation will result in an excessive degree of nonconformity within a neighborhood by addressing the issue of Substantiality
  • Ensure that there is little impact on the environment, including elements such as drainage, noise, and traffic congestion, among others
  • And, determine whether or not the requirement for the variance is the consequence of a property owner’sSelf-Created Difficulty on his or her part.

What procedures must I follow in order to seek a zoning variance? The first step is to figure out what zone your home is within. Using theZoning and Land Use Application (ZoLa), you can find out all the necessary information on the zoning of addresses, blocks, and property lot numbers, which will save you a lot of time. 2. Submit a formal request or application for your variance to the Zoning Board, together with the appropriate filing fee. 3. The Zoning Board will normally inform surrounding property owners of your request for a variance, and it may schedule a hearing to assess whether or not your proposal is reasonable.

Read on to find out more Even though following these basic stages will get you through the process, The Zoning Board of Appeals advises that “the best way to grasp the regulations is to review them in turn, together with the court judgments that rely on them,” according to their website.

You may also reach out to one of our Real Estate professionals for assistance in handling exceptions and any other zoning difficulties right away at:

Definition of Variance for Property Zoning Purposes

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer.Full Bio → Written byInsurance Lawyer

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In the case of variances, the request is to diverge from the present zoning rules.

If approved, it allows the property owner to make use of his or her land in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited by the zoning code. Not a change in the legislation, but an exception from the restrictions of the zoning rule is what is being discussed.

What are some good examples of a variance request?

  • It has always been a dream of mine to construct a gazebo in my garden. In a one-story zone, I would want to propose a second storey addition. Despite the fact that I own an odd-shaped property, I would want to lessen the setback requirements significantly in order to accommodate a structure.

Zoning Changes, Variances, and More

An application for change of zoning may be submitted to the local authorities if the zoning on a parcel of land is conflicting with the use that the land owner wishes for the property. Each legal jurisdiction has its own set of laws and regulations to follow. The application and cost, however, are often followed by some form of hearing at which the owner explains his or her desire and the grounds for the sought modification. Conveying the planned plan may be accomplished through surveys, drawings, pictures, and even model construction.

Even if the owner is unsuccessful in securing the alteration, there may be an opportunity to appeal the decision, either within the administrative structure of the government agency or in a court of law, depending on the circumstances.


It is possible to petition the city for a deviation to the present zoning regulations. If approved, it allows the landowner to use the property in a manner that is not normally authorized by the zoning rule.. It does not constitute a modification in zoning regulations. Instead, it is a particular waiver of the criteria of the zoning legislation that has been granted. The majority of the time, variances are granted when the property owner can establish that the existing zoning laws create a practical impediment in making use of the land.

Typically, the landowner requesting the exception submits a written request or application for a variance along with a fee to the county assessor.

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The zoning board notifies property owners in the immediate vicinity and adjacent properties.

When a final decision is reached, it may be necessary for the applicant to appear before the local governing body (for example, a city council).

Non-Conforming Uses

It is legal to make use of land that is not in compliance with the existing zoning regulation if the usage is not otherwise prohibited by the ordinance. In this case, the use is authorized since the landowner was utilizing the property or the structure for that purpose prior to the implementation of the zoning regulation. Nonconforming uses are frequently referred to as “grandfathered in” to a zoning law, which refers to the fact that they have been allowed to continue. In order to be eligible for nonconforming use, the property nearly usually has to have been consistently used for the nonconforming use for a period of time.

Conditional Use Permits

Conditional use permits, which are similar to variances, allow a property to be used for an use that would otherwise be prohibited by the zoning law.

Conditional use permits are often given after a public hearing before a political authority, with the decision that the new use of the land will be in the public’s interest being reached in the process.

Eminent Domain

In the United States, eminent domain is the authority of the government to acquire private property and put it to public use. Building roads and public infrastructure, including government and public amenities such as parks, are all considered to be typical government operations. However, the conservation of scenic places, wetlands, and historic sites is considered to be a more broadly beneficial activity. A property owner who believes that the government has “taken” their land may be able to sue for compensation if they believe that the government has “taken” their land.

Learn more about the power of eminent domain.

Have Questions About Zoning Changes and Variances? Get Legal Help

Zoning modifications and variances have the potential to open up a whole new world of options for how you may use your property, or they can have a devastating impact. Consultation with a specialist would be recommended before attempting to resolve these concerns yourself. Obtain legal advice from a local land use and zoning attorney to explore potential zoning changes and to learn more about your options and the repercussions of various zoning changes.

Everything About Zoning Variance and Change

Zoning regulations and ordinances may be a difficult subject to understand for anybody involved in the real estate industry. Zoning is meant to provide uniformity between properties that are close by or that are in a comparable geographical location. Nonetheless, it can make some land unsuitable for landowners who seek to use it for a purpose that is not permitted by the restrictions. That’s where zoning adjustments and variances come in – they provide landowners with the opportunity to be granted an exemption to the zoning rules of the surrounding region.

Millman National Land Services can assist you in determining this!

What Is a Zoning Variance?

In some cases, property owners may be granted zoning exceptions, which allow them to utilize their land and construct structures that would otherwise be in violation of municipal zoning regulations. Varying the use of a piece of property does not alter its zoning; rather, it permits the landowner to make use of the property in ways that would otherwise be prohibited. Variances are often not granted unless the property owner can demonstrate that the existing restrictions provide a significant barrier to the use of the property in question.

Types of Zoning Variances

Variances in use and area zoning are the two most prevalent forms of variances. Let’s have a look at the distinctions between these two variations.

Use Variances

Utilize exceptions provide the property owner permission to use the land for purposes that are often prohibited by the zoning restrictions that govern it. The following are some examples of when you might need to get a usage variance:

  • The presence of business activity in a residential neighborhood
  • The presence of industrial activity in a commercial region
  • Multiple dwellings in a neighborhood that is designated for single-family residences

Because a use variance permits property owners to use their land in ways that are incompatible with the character of their community, acquiring one is a difficult undertaking.

The property owner must demonstrate that the current zoning restrictions imposed a burden on them. The following are some of the requirements for getting a zoning variance and proving hardship:

  • The prevailing zoning regulations hinder the landowner from obtaining a “reasonable return” on his investment. Proof that a variance application will solely have an impact on the property in issue and will not have an impact on nearby structures or communities
  • Demonstrating that the additional deviation will not have an adverse impact on the character of the district
  • Demonstrating that the variance is not required as a result of a hardship that was imposed on oneself

Area Variances

Area variances allow a property owner to make use of their land in a way that would otherwise be prohibited by the size or physical limitations of the zoning restrictions. Here are a few instances of what I mean:

  • Extending the living space of a house
  • Constructing a fence around the property’s boundary
  • The construction of off-street parking lots that are connected to the property

Obtaining an area variance is not nearly as difficult as obtaining an usage variance in the majority of circumstances. In order to get an area variance, you must demonstrate that the deviation will not have a detrimental impact on the neighboring community. In order to be awarded an area variance, you may be required to demonstrate that:

  • Any unfavorable changes in the community will not be brought about by the variance. When current ordinances were found to be insufficient, alternative techniques were tried. The sought deviation will not result in an excessive amount of conformity in the neighborhood. The deviation will have no substantial environmental impact, as evidenced by factors such as noise, drainage, and congestion in the roadways. Because of the owner’s self-inflicted difficulties, he or she does not need to seek a variance.

Why Would You Want a Zoning Change?

There are a variety of reasons why a property owner might want to apply for a zoning variance on their property. They usually do so because they see an opportunity with their land that would be impossible to realize under the current zoning regulations. Depending on the situation, this opportunity could range from the development of an apartment complex or a residential subdivision to the conversion of a home into office space. Make sure to always check your local zoning laws before making any changes to your property, no matter how big or small the changes are.

How To Apply for a Zoning Change

If you need to file for a zoning variance, you’ll need to check with your local government to see if a zoning modification is possible. Every jurisdiction has its own set of norms and restrictions, but in most cases, you will be required to submit an application and pay a fee. In most cases, the application will first be considered by your local zoning board, which will then inform the owners of adjacent and surrounding properties of the proposed changes. A hearing may be held by the zoning board to determine whether or not the variance should be granted.

The action taken against you may be appealingable through the local governing body or even through the courts if your request for zoning modification is refused.

Non-Conforming Uses

Nonconforming uses might be regarded of as a property being “grandfathered in” to a zoning ordinance that has already been established. In order to be granted this permission, the property owner must demonstrate that the building or land was being utilized for a certain purpose prior to the implementation of zoning regulations that resulted in a hardship for the owner. If the business on the site was closed for any period of time before the zoning ordinances went into effect, it may not be feasible to get a nonconforming use permit under the new rules and regulations.

Conditional Use Permits

In many ways, conditional use permits and variances are the same thing. They both allow a property to operate in a way that is not authorized by the local zoning restrictions.

A public hearing is usually held before a governmental authority in order to provide these permissions. A majority of the time, they will only vote yes if they believe that the property’s new use would benefit the general public.

Eminent Domain

The power of eminent domain grants the government the authority to acquire private property and transform it into something that can be used by the public. Building government and public facilities, roads, buildings, and parks are examples of objects that are used for public purposes. It is also utilized to conserve and preserve wetland and scenic places, as well as historical landmarks, by the general public.

Obtaining a Zoning Variance

Zoning variances and amendments can offer up a broad variety of options for the way you utilize your property, but they can also have a detrimental influence on the surrounding neighborhood, which is why obtaining a variance can be difficult. Variances in zoning may be a terrific tool for real estate owners who want to utilize or develop their properties in a way that does not fall within the parameters of the standard zoning classifications. Do you require a Zoning Compliance Report for your property?

Related: Understanding Zoning Codes: What You Need to Know

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When a bankrupt individual declares bankruptcy, they might be appointed by the court or his or her creditors to handle various tasks, including as selling his or her assets and managing the monies raised from the sale of those assets. The practice of having two contracts for the same transaction is considered illegal. It is possible to use one contract as a ruse to get the second contract through deception. Borrower makes a considerable down payment, with the remainder of the loan total paid in equal recurring payments over a short period of time.

  1. As an illustration, consider the case of a real estate salesperson.
  2. One of three options is available to a property owner who has mineral rights to his or her property.
  3. When a debtor fails to make payments on a loan secured by a deed of trust, the trustee is compelled to arrange for the sale of the real estate security for the benefit of the lending institution.
  4. The exterior finishing finish of a structure that serves to protect it from the elements on the outside.

Popular Real Estate Questions

The lovely city of Annapolis, Maryland, located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, is located inside the Chesapeake Bay. It is considered to be one of the most ideal locations to live, and many people agree that it is one of the most desired. Fort Myers is a city in the state of Florida located in the state’s southern region with a population of around 75,000 people. A serene and tranquil environment is provided in this city, allowing individuals to relax and unwind. Naples, Florida is a city in the state of Florida that is located on the Gulf Coast.

  1. On Florida’s East Coast, you’ll discover a city that has been dubbed “the calmer side of Florida” because of its peaceful atmosphere.
  2. The very term conjures up images in one’s mind.
  3. The stunning vistas of Gulf Shores, with its white sand beaches and green-blue waters, make it one of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States.
  4. Veteran-backed loans are those that are insured by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
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Naples, Florida is a picturesque coastal city with a population of roughly 22,000 people. It is a popular tourist destination. This small and compact community provides its citizens with one of the quietest and most pleasant environments in the country.

What is Variance? – Commercial Real Estate Dictionary

What is variation, and how does it affect you? What are the different forms of variance? What is the definition of area variance? What is the definition of usage variance? What exactly is variance? A variance is an official exemption or dispensation from a rule or regulation in the real estate industry. For example, a permit that is granted to allow a property to be used or developed in a manner that is inconsistent with the zoning restrictions that are relevant to the property’s location may be considered an authorisation.

In this case, the owner must apply for a variance from the local planning commission.

Several identical individual lot variance requests that are submitted in close proximity to one another may eventually result in the rezoning of the entire area in a way that accommodates the changes that have accumulated in the region over time.

Zoning deviations fall into two kinds, both of which can be sought from a zoning board or commission: area variations and use variations, respectively.

In zoning law, an area variance is permission to use property in a way that would otherwise be prohibited or significantly hampered by the dimensions and/or physical restrictions of the existing zoning laws.

Consider this scenario: A developer’s project is unable to be erected because the lot is uneven and makes maintaining required setbacks on all sides of the building difficult.

What is the definition of usage variance?

Use variances are more contentious than other types of deviations because the adjustments necessary may have an impact on adjoining lot owners or users.

What is the function of a notary public?

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