Definition of Variance

A variance is a discretionary alteration of a zoning requirement. It typically applies where the strict application of the zoning ordinance or zoning code would result in a practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship for the owner of the land. Typically, the difficulty or hardship must be due to an unusual physical characteristic of the parcel.

Types of Variances

The two types of variances are a use variance and an area variance. A use variance allows the owner of the landowner to use the land use in a way that is not allowed in its zoning area.  The area variance is an exception to the zoning area’s zoning ordinance which allows the landowner the same use of another owner in the same zoning area who does not have the unusual physical characteristics of that specific parcel.