A variance is a request to deviate from a literal requirement of the zoning, subdivision, or sign ordinances due to special circumstances of a property. It is not considered a change in municipal law, but a waiver of a certain requirement of the ordinance. If granted, it permits the owner to utilize his land in a way that is ordinarily not permitted by the ordinance.
All variance requests must be reviewed by the Board of Adjustment (BOA). An administrative official of a city cannot approve a variance. It is important to note that use variances cannot be legally granted via a variance, as that is considered to be rezoning and is governed by a different process. Additionally, self-imposed hardships and economically related hardships are insufficient findings to grant a variance. This chart is used to assist the Board in its decision making concerning variance requests.