Variance & When One is AppropriateThe zoning code helps to regulate development in the city. Regulations include, in part, minimum lot sizes, building setback lines, lot coverage, building height and parking requirements. Each development must meet the regulations for its zoning district.
Sometimes there are unusual conditions on the property and it may not be possible to meet all the zoning requirements when you are planning new construction. Your property may be so shallow, narrow or oddly shaped that you might qualify for a Variance. Sometimes the use or development of an adjacent property could make your building project impossible. In these cases, a Variance may be the solution.
A Variance may allow relief from zoning code regulations if enforcement of the regulations would:
- Deprive you of the privileges enjoyed by other nearby properties having the same zoning and
- If unique conditions (such as those listed above) are present
When a Variance is InappropriateA zoning Variance may not allow a use other than one permitted by the zoning district where the property is located.
Apply for a VarianceYou or your representative needs to submit a completed Variance Application, along with copies of the site plan, a description of the project, and appropriate maps. The information you give us must show how property conditions keep you from meeting specific zoning code regulations.
Because a public hearing will be held, you also will need to give us a list of the names and addresses of all property owners within 300 feet of the property. This information will be used to notify the surrounding property owners of your Variance request.
The Review ProcessWe will check your application to see if it is complete. Next, we will assign it to a planner for review and a possible field inspection. The planner will prepare a staff report for Planning Commission review at a public hearing. After hearing comments from you, the public and staff the Planning Commission will approve or deny your request.
The Planning Commission can only approve your request if all of the following can be found to be true:
How the Decision is Made
- Conditions on the property causing a hardship are not common to all or most properties in the immediate area and zoning district
- A hardship exists because of the conditions on the property and not by an act of an owner of the property
- A Variance is needed to provide the same property rights enjoyed by other properties in the area with the same zoning. Granting a Variance may not give special privileges to the property
- Granting a Variance will not create a problem for adjacent properties and will not conflict with public interests, the zoning code or the General Plan