MapLink™ | Procedures | Variances (Zoning Board of Adjustment)

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Variances (Zoning Board of Adjustment)
The Board shall have the power to authorize upon appeal in specific cases such variances from the terms of this ordinance as will not be contrary to the public interest where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this ordinance will result in unnecessary hardship and so that the spirit of this ordinance shall be observed and substantial justice done, including the following:
Permit a variance in the yard requirements of any district where there are unusual and practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the carrying out of the provisions due to an irregular shape of the lot or topographical or other conditions, provided such variance will not seriously affect any adjoining property or the general welfare.

Authorize, upon appeal, whenever a property owner can show that a strict application of the terms of this ordinance relating to the construction or alteration of buildings or structures will impose upon him unusual and practical difficulties or particular hardship, such variances from the strict application of the terms of this ordinance as are in harmony with its own general purpose and intent, but only when the Board is satisfied that granting of such variation will not merely serve as a convenience to the applicant, but will alleviate some demonstrable and unusual hardship or difficulty so great as to warrant a variance from the Comprehensive Plan as established by this ordinance and at the same time, the surrounding property will be properly protected.

The Board shall have the power to hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error of law in any order, requirements, decision or determination made by the Building Inspector in the enforcement of this ordinance. Except as otherwise provided herein, the Board shall have, in addition, the following specific powers:
To permit the erection and use of a building or the use of premises for railroads if such uses are in general conformance with the Master Plan and present no conflict or nuisance to adjacent properties.

To permit a public utility or public service or structure in any district, or a public utility or public service building of a ground area and of a height at variance with those provided for in the district in which such public utility or public service building is permitted to be located, when found reasonably necessary for the public health, convenience, safety, or general welfare.

To grant a permit for the extension of a use, height or area regulation into an adjoining district, where the boundary line of the district divides a lot in a single ownership on the effective date of this ordinance.

To permit the reconstruction of a nonconforming building which has been damaged by explosion, fire, act of God, or the public enemy, to the extent of more than fifty percent (60%) [sic] of its fair market value, where the Board finds some compelling necessity requiring a continuance of the nonconforming use.

To waive or reduce the parking and loading requirements in any of the districts, when (i) the character or use of the building is such as to make unnecessary the full provision of parking or loading facilities; or (ii) when such regulations would impose an unreasonable hardship upon the use of the lot. The Board shall not waive or reduce such requirements merely for the purpose of granting an advantage or a convenience.

A written application for variance shall be submitted together with the required fee, accompanied by an accurate legal description, maps, site plans, drawings and any necessary data, demonstrating:
a) that special conditions and circumstances exist which are peculiar to the land, structure or building involved and which are not applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district;
b) that literal interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the terms of this ordinance;
c) that the special conditions and circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant;
d) that granting the variance requested will not confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this ordinance to other lands, structures or buildings in the same district; and
e) no nonconforming use of neighboring lands, structures, or buildings in the same district and no permitted use of lands, structures, or buildings in other districts shall be considered grounds for the issuance of a variance.