MapLink™ | Procedures | Variance

Hello! Content on this website is provided as a convenience and is for informational use only. Be sure to review the Terms of Use for all of the details related to your use of this website.
Accept
Back
Variance
A. Purpose.
1. The variance procedure is intended to provide limited relief from the requirements of this Code where strict application of the standards of this Code would create an unnecessary hardship or practical difficulties preventing the use of the land as otherwise allowed by the Code. The variance procedure is not intended to allow a use in a zoning district where it is not currently permitted, or to alleviate inconveniences or financial burdens imposed on landowners.
B. Applicability.
1. This Section applies to all requested variances from the requirements of this Code, except where an alternative process is specified elsewhere in this Code.
2. Applications are subject to the common procedures identified in Article II unless otherwise modified in Subsection (C). In the event of conflict between the common procedures contained in Article II and the application-specific procedures and requirements contained in this Section, the application-specific procedures and requirements in this Section shall govern.
C. Procedure.
1. Summary.
2. Preapplication Meetings.
a. A preapplication staff meeting shall be held in accordance with Section 405.030: Preapplication Meetings.
3. Application Submission And Handling.
a. The application shall be submitted to the Department of Community Development and handled in accordance with SSection 405.040: Application Submission And Handling.
4. Staff Review And Action.
a. The Community Development Director shall review the application and prepare a staff report for the Board of Adjustment in accordance with Section 405.050: Staff Review And Action.
5. Notice And Public Hearings.
a. The application shall be scheduled for a public hearing before the Board of Adjustment and noticed in accordance with Section 405.060: Notice And Public Hearings.
6. Review And Decision-Making Bodies.
a. Board Of Adjustment Review And Decision.
(1) The Board of Adjustment shall review the application and act to approve or deny the application in accordance with Section 405.070: Review And Decision-Making Bodies and the criteria listed in Subsection (C)(6)(b). The Board of Adjustment may also continue the public hearing to a specific date in accordance with Section 405.070: Review And Decision-Making Bodies.
(2) The concurring vote of at least four (4) members of the Board of Adjustment is necessary to approve a variance.
(3) In granting a variance, the Board of Adjustment may impose such conditions and restrictions upon the property benefited by the variance as may be necessary to comply with the standards set out in this Section to reduce or minimize any potentially injurious effect of such variance upon other property in the neighborhood and to carry out the general purpose and intent of this Code.
b. Review Criteria.
(1) Variance Standards. The Board of Adjustment shall not grant a variance unless it shall, in each case, make specific written findings of fact directly based upon the particular evidence presented to it that support the following conclusions:
(a) The variance requested arises from a condition which is unique to the property in question and which is not ordinarily found in the same zoning district and is not created by an action or actions of the property owner or the applicant;
(b) The granting of the variance will not adversely affect the rights of adjacent property owners or residents;
(c) The strict application of the provisions of this Code from which a variance is requested will constitute unnecessary hardship upon the property owner represented in the application and would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district;
(d) Granting the requested variance will not confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this Title to other land, structures, or buildings in the same district;
(e) Granting the variance desired will not violate the general spirit and intent of this Code nor adversely affect the public health, safety, order, convenience or general welfare of the community.
(2) Review Considerations. In determining whether the evidence presented supports the conclusions required by this Section, the Board of Adjustment shall consider the extent to which the evidence demonstrates that:
(a) The particular physical surroundings, shape or topographical condition of the property involved would result in a practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship upon or for the owner, lessee or occupant, as distinguished from a mere inconvenience, if the provisions of this Code were literally enforced;
(b) The request for a variance is not based exclusively upon the desire of the owner, lessee, occupant or applicant to secure a greater financial return from the property;
(c) The granting of the variance will not be materially detrimental or injurious to other property or improvements in the neighborhood in which the property is located; and
(d) The proposed variance will not impair an adequate supply of light or air to adjacent property, substantially increase the congestion in the public streets, increase the danger of fire, endanger the public safety, or substantially diminish or impair property values within the neighborhood.
7. Post-Decision Actions And Limitations.
a. The post-decision actions and limitations in Section 405.080: Post-Decision Actions And Limitations shall apply with the following modifications:
(1) Notice Of Decision. The Board of Adjustment shall render a written decision on an application for a variance without unreasonable delay and in no case after more than thirty (30) days following the public hearing.
(2) Effect Of Approval. Approval shall authorize the applicant to apply for a building permit or begin construction or operation if additional permitting is not required.
(3) Appeal. Any person or persons, or any officer, department, or board of the City jointly or severally aggrieved by the decision of the Board of Adjustment regarding the variance, may, within thirty (30) days of the issuance of the decision of the Board, present to the Circuit Court of St. Charles County a petition, duly verified, setting forth that such decision is illegal, in whole or in part, specifying the grounds of the illegality in accordance with appropriate State statute.
(4) Expiration Of Approval. A variance shall expire one (1) year after the date of final approval unless the use or construction is substantially underway, as determined by the Community Development Director, or an extension is granted pursuant to Section 405.080: Post-Decision Actions And Limitations.
(5) Amendments.
(a) Amendments to approved plans that decrease the degree of the approved variance may be classified as a minor amendment in accordance with Section 405.080: Post-Decision Actions And Limitations, and may be approved by the Community Development Director without the need for a new application.
(b) Changes to approved plans that increase the degree of the approved variance shall be considered a major amendment in accordance with Section 405.080: Post-Decision Actions And Limitations and shall be processed as a new application subject to the same procedures and requirements for the original application.
 
See Applications for more infomation.
Application Materials
You may also need:
document icon

Summary Table of Application Procedures

Table 405.010, Summary Table of Application Procedures, lists the applications authorized by this Chapter and application-specific requirements from Articles III through VIII for preapplication meetings, public hearing notice, review and decision-making bodies, and expiration of approval. The table also lists cross references to related applications authorized by and subject to requirements of other chapters of the Municipal Code.

In the event of conflict between the application-specific procedures in Articles III through VIII and the requirements summarized in Table 405.010, Summary Table of Application Procedures, the application-specific procedures and requirements in Articles III through VIII shall govern.