• Variances

  • Simply put, a variance is a limited exception to the usual requirements of local zoning. As the following discussion will explain, when the Town of Danville is confronted with development on an unusual piece of property, the variance procedure can lend some flexibility to the usual standards of the zoning ordinance.

     

    Each zoning district contains specific development standards such as setbacks, height restrictions and parking requirements. There are occasions, however, when the strict application of such standards may be inappropriate because of special characteristics of the property. 

     

    The variance procedure was designed to permit minor adjustments to the zoning regulations when there are special or extraordinary circumstances applying to a parcel of land or a building that prevent the property from being used to the extent intended by the zoning. 

     

    Variances can be granted only when a finding can be made that the strict application of the regulations would deprive the property of privileges enjoyed by other properties in the vicinity and zoning district in which the property is situated. 

     

    Special circumstances may include factors such as the size, shape, topography, location, and surroundings of the property.  The adjustments permitted by the variance procedure are limited to the development standards of the zoning district in which the property is located.  A change of land use cannot be permitted by the variance procedure.

     

    The Planning Division is authorized to grant a variance if the required finding can be made that a hardship situation exists. Variances requested in conjunction with other applications, as development plans or use permits, requiring approval from the Planning Commission, will be processed in conjunction with such applications. In approving a variance, the Planning Division may impose such conditions as deemed necessary to protect the best interests of the surrounding area or neighborhood as set forth in the Town's Zoning Ordinance and General Plan.  It is important to stress that a variance can only be granted if a finding of a specific hardship as previously specified is made.  A variance cannot be granted to simply make property development less costly or to expand the use of the property.