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.
Pre-Application Conference: Optional under current Zoning Ordinance. Required under new Zoning Ordinance only when associated with a companion case. Not applicable to variances heard by the BOA.
Pre-Application Neighborhood Meeting: Optional under current Zoning Ordinance. 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 and District Council are also authorized to grant variances associated with development applications on which they take the final action.
Existing single-family attached and detached residences
Proposed, newly constructed, or under construction single-family attached and detached residences
Churches in conjunction with a Special Exception
Public Notice Requirement: Public notice of public hearings are satisfied by mailings to the appellant, the agency whose decision is the subject of the appeal, the owners of abutting property, parties of record, and municipalities at least 15 days prior; and by posting signs with notice of the public hearing at least 15 days prior.
Estimated Review Time: Dependent upon associated development proposal.
Important and Required Documents
Application Form and Filing Instructions
Public Notice Requirements
Relevant Development Review Bulletins
Guides and References