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What is a Zoning Variance?

If you're in the process of designing a new home or adding an addition to your current home, you're likely aware of the term zoning: the government’s way of controlling the physical development of land and the kinds of uses to which each individual property may be put. Designed to protect you, your neighbors, and the community from undesirable, or inappropriate, land uses and/or construction, zoning laws in many communities can be very rigid and inflexible.

However, if you're building plans are thwarted by zoning rules and regulations, you may be able to acquire a zoning variance

A variance is a request made to your local jurisdiction to deviate from current zoning requirements. If granted, a variance will allow you to use your land in a way that is normally not permitted by the zoning ordinance, such as building your home a bit higher than allowed, or adding a shed or guest house closer to your property line.

However, do not view a variance as something that changes the zoning law because it does not. Rather, it waives a certain requirement of the zoning ordinance. For example, it may allow the owner of an odd-shaped lot to reduce slightly the setback requirements in order to accommodate a building, or permit the building of a gazebo in the back yard. 

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.


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