Whats a variance in real estate?

Last Update: May 30, 2022

This is a question our experts keep getting from time to time. Now, we have got the complete detailed explanation and answer for everyone, who is interested!

Asked by: Jordy Turcotte
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Essentially, a property owner requests a variance when their planned use of their property deviates from local zoning laws

zoning laws
Edward Murray Bassett (February 7, 1863 – October 27, 1948), "the father of American zoning", and one of the founding fathers of modern-day urban planning, wrote the first comprehensive zoning ordinance in the United States, which was adopted by New York City in 1916.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Edward_Bassett
designed to protect property values. If granted, a variance acts as a waiver to some aspect of the zoning law or regulations.

What is an example of a variance in real estate?

Some examples of area variances might include: A request to put a fence up along your property line. A request to build a property closer than normally permitted to a roadway. A request to build a structure higher than usually permitted by the local zoning ordinance.

What is considered a variance?

The term variance refers to a statistical measurement of the spread between numbers in a data set. More specifically, variance measures how far each number in the set is from the mean and thus from every other number in the set. Variance is often depicted by this symbol: σ2.

Is it hard to get a variance?

The standard of approval for a dimensional variance is “practical difficulty,” which the courts have defined to mean that strict compliance is “unnecessarily burdensome” and granting the variance would “do substantial justice to the owner.” The “undue hardship” standard for a use variance is much more difficult to meet ...

How long does a variance last?

As a generally accepted legal principle, zoning variances run with the land. That means that they're unaffected when you sell your house. However, some variances can be limited for 5 or 10 years, and when they expire, the new owner would have to obtain a new variance.

How Do Variances Allow for Zoning Changes? || Real Estate Explained #320

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How long does it take to get a variance approved?

How long will it take for approval? If a public hearing is involved, 4 to 6 months. If your request is processed administratively without a public hearing, approximately 3 months.

How do I get a variance?

Usually, the land owner seeking the variance files a request or written application for a variance and pays a fee. Normally, the requests go first to a zoning board. The zoning board notifies nearby and adjacent property owners. The zoning examiner may then hold a hearing to determine if the variance should be granted.

What is a hardship for a variance?

The hardship (not being allowed to build an addition) flows from the strict application of the ordinance (the setback) and is peculiar to the property (because of the shape of the lot). A variance may be appropriate if the owner presents evidence to show she meets all of the standards.

How do you stop variance?

A good way to begin the process is to circulate a petition against the zoning variance request around the neighborhood, obtain signatures, addresses and telephone numbers, and send the signed document to the entity hearing the variance request to be placed in the administrative record before the local zoning board or ...

What does it mean to request a variance?

Essentially, a property owner requests a variance when their planned use of their property deviates from local zoning laws designed to protect property values. If granted, a variance acts as a waiver to some aspect of the zoning law or regulations.

What's the biggest difference between an area variance and a use variance?

- area variance - allows modification of height, location, setback, size, or similar requirements for a use that is permitted in the zone. - use variance - allows a use that would normally be prohibited in the zone. ... Although the special exception is often confused with the variance, it is fundamentally different.

What is the difference between standard deviation and variance?

Standard deviation looks at how spread out a group of numbers is from the mean, by looking at the square root of the variance. The variance measures the average degree to which each point differs from the mean—the average of all data points.

Can Neighbors stop a variance?

If you receive a notice that a neighbor or some property owner nearby to you proposes to build something that would require a zoning change or variance and you object to the purpose, you have the right to voice your opinion and try to prevent this change.

What does variance mean in legal terms?

Definition. 1) An officially granted exception to a zoning ordinance. Such exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis for some persuasive reason shown. 2) A difference between two statements or other pieces of evidence that usually would be expected to indicate the same thing.

Can you get a variance after the fact?

The Board argues that granting an after-the-fact variance would, “unduly undermine the zoning code's requirement of needing a permit or variance before beginning any construction” and would be against public interest. If this reasoning were correct, no person would ever be able to obtain a variance after-the-fact.

What is a variance approval?

A Variance is a request for relief from strict application of zoning regulations to alleviate an unusual hardship to a particular property. For example, a homeowner may request that a room addition be permitted to cover more of the property than the Zoning Ordinance would normally allow.

How do you write a request for variance?

Be polite, direct and specific: “I am writing to seek a fence variance for my single-family home at (provide the address and the town.) Current zoning rules say that fences must be no more than 4 feet tall; I respectfully request to install a fence that is 5 feet tall.”

Can a variance be revoked?

Revocation of Variance. The conduct of any activity or the use, operation, construction, maintenance or removal of any facility in violation of any of the conditions of a variance or of any statute, law, ordinance or other applicable regulation shall be grounds for revocation of said variance.

What is a code variance?

A variance is a deviation from the set of rules a municipality applies to land use and land development, typically a zoning ordinance, building code or municipal code. ... A variance may also be known as a standards variance, referring to the development standards contained in code.

What is a property hardship?

Unnecessary hardship means where special conditions affecting a particular property, which were not self-created, have made strict conformity with restrictions governing areas, setbacks, frontage, height or density unnecessarily burdensome or unreasonable in light of the purposes of the ordinance.

What is a variance for a fence?

Getting a variance means you're legally able to change something about your property despite the law. A variance can provide for a different use, such as operating a childcare center in a residential area, or a physical alteration, such as adding a second story to your house or building an unusual fence.

What is a dimensional variance?

A dimensional (physical) variance is required when the proposed structure or lot does not physically comply to the required area / dimensional requirements of the zoning code. The three key points that are taken into consideration are the height, density, and setbacks of the structure.

What is a setback variance?

When a parcel appears to have limited potential, the setback variance process allows a property owner the same development privileges enjoyed by other property owners within the same zone district.

How do I stop rezoning?

How to Organize Re-Zoning Opposition
  1. Become Informed About Land Uses Permitted Under Zoning. ...
  2. Understand the Process To Be More Effective. ...
  3. Prepare for the Zoning Public Hearing. ...
  4. Watch for Changes as the Process Moves Along. ...
  5. Organize to Oppose a Land Use Decision.

What is considered a minor variance?

A minor variance is a change or permission from the specific requirements of the Town's zoning by-law. ... The minor variance process allows a property owner the opportunity to seek permission or relief from a specific provision of the Town's zoning by-law by applying to the Committee of Adjustment.