Zoning Variance Standards

The burden of proving the need for a variance is on the applicant. In order to prepare for a hearing before the Building and Zoning Board of Appeals, applicants should consider the following standards for zoning variances.

Standards for Area Variances

Granting of a nonuse variance (area, size, setback, etc.) requires the existence of a practical difficulty. The factors (Duncan v. Middlefield (1986), 23 Ohio St.3d 83) to be considered and weighed in determining whether a property owner seeking an area variance has encountered practical difficulties in the use of his property include:

  • Can the property yield a reasonable return or can there be any beneficial use of the property without the variance?
  • Is the variance is substantial?
  • Will the essential character of the neighborhood be substantially altered or will adjoining properties suffer a substantial detriment as a result of the variance?
  • Will the variance adversely affect the delivery of governmental services (e.g. water, sewer, garbage)?
  • Did the property owner purchase the property with knowledge of the zoning restriction?
  • Can the property owner’s predicament be precluded through some method other than a variance?
  • Would the spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variance?

 

Standards for Use Variances

A use variance allows a use of land that is not permitted in the district in which the property is located. Because this type of relief is so significant, granting of a use variance requires the existence of an unnecessary hardship. The factors to be considered and weighed in determining whether a property owner seeking a use variance has encountered unnecessary hardship in the use of his property include:

  • The property could not be used (be put to a reasonable use) for the purposes permitted in that zone district.
  • The plight is due to unique circumstances peculiar to the property and not to general neighborhood conditions.
  • The use would not alter the essential character of the area or adjoining properties would not suffer a substantial detriment as a result of the variance.
  • The problem is not self-created.
  • The variance would not adversely affect the delivery of governmental services, for example water, sewer, garbage.
  • The applicant purchased the property without knowledge of the zoning restriction.
  • The applicant’s predicament feasibly cannot be resolved through some method other than a variance.
  • The spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variance.

CITY of NORTH OLMSTED
5200 Dover Center Road
North Olmsted, OH 44070

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(440) 777-8000