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Definition of Variance for Property Zoning Purposes

UPDATED: September 18, 2013

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A variance is a request to deviate from current zoning requirements. If granted, it permits the owner to use his land in a way that is ordinarily not permitted by the zoning ordinance. It is not a change in the zoning law, but a waiver from the requirements of the zoning ordinance.

Examples of a Variance Request

  • I would like to build a gazebo in the back yard.
  • I request a second story addition in a one-story zone.
  • Though I own an odd-shaped lot, I want to reduce slightly the setback requirements to fit a building.

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