Zoning Variances

The Board of Adjustment is responsible for the hearing and deciding of appeals to the Zoning Ordinance and applications listed below, and has the necessary authority to ensure compliance. Due to case load, the cases are divided into Residential(PDF, 17MB) and Commercial(PDF, 20MB) (non-residential) boards.

  1. Variance. To authorize upon appeal in specific cases such variance from the terms of the Zoning Ordinance as will not be contrary to the public interest
  2. Special Exception. To decide upon applications for special exceptions when the use or development is specifically authorized under the Zoning Ordinance subject to the approval of the Board of Adjustment. Special exceptions that may be permitted by the Board of Adjustment are specified in the use tables in Chapter 4, Articles 6 and 8.
  3. Interpretation. To render an interpretation of those provisions of the Zoning Ordinance where it is alleged that there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by an official in the administration of such provisions. In reaching its decision, the Board of Adjustment shall establish firm guidelines for future administrative actions on like matters.
  4. Split-Zoned Lot. The Board of Adjustment may approve the extension of a use to the lot line or for a distance of not more than 100 feet where the boundary line of a district either divides a lot held in single ownership on October 1, 1940, or divides a lot held in single ownership as of the date of subsequent annexation of said lot. 

Filing Fees

  • Residential (Owner-Occupied) Variance $500.00*
  • Non-Residential Variance $750.00*
  • Residential (Owner-Occupied) Special Exception $750.00*
  • Non-Residential Special Exception $1,500.00*
  • Interpretations $400.00

Note: Fees are non-refundable after legal notices are mailed * Plus $250 for each additional variance within the same residential (owner-occupied) application.


Applications for a variance may be filed by the owner of property or an authorized agent, by the Development Services Department upon recommendation of the Zoning Commission, Plan Commission, Board of Adjustment or City Council. Application may be filed at City Hall, Lower Level, Northeast Corner. (English)(PDF, 557KB) (Spanish)(PDF, 1MB) 

Criteria Regulating Variance Requests

Sect. 3.403 of the Zoning Ordinance establishes five evaluation criteria for consideration by the Board when reviewing and deciding upon requested variances to the Zoning Ordinance. The applicant is encouraged to be prepared to respond to these criteria:

  1. Will literal enforcement of the ordinance result in a hardship or practical difficulty?
  2. Is the “hardship” self-imposed?
  3. Is the condition unique to the property, or is it common to other properties within the area?
  4. Will the requested Variance injure the adjacent property?
  5. Will the requested variance be contrary to orderly development in the area?

Hearing Process

The applicant, or authorized agent, must be present at the hearing to present one’s appeal. Otherwise, the board may deny the case. The Planning & Development Department will mail a hearing notice to all property owners within 300 feet of the application site, not less than ten days prior to the date of the hearing.

Applicant’s Responsibility

Applicants are responsible for the presentation of their case before the Board, and to provide support information to include, but not limited to the following items. Staff will provide support services only.

  • Surrounding land use supporting the request.
  • Description of the “Hardship(s)” that necessitate the request.
  • Reason(s) for appearing before the Board (i.e. Code Violation, Citizen Complaint, Building Inspector noted permit violation, etc.)
  • Reasons why the Board should grant the applicant’s request.
  • More information concerning the process may be found in the application.