Variance

What is the purpose of a Variance?

A variance is a method by which a property owner may seek relief from the strict interpretation of the zoning ordinance because of an unusual physical circumstance of the property.  Variances are not granted to permit a use on the property other than that for which it is zoned, or for economic hardships.

How do I apply far a Variance?

Your application may be prepared by a registered architect, registered civil engineer, licensed land surveyor, professional planner, or yourself and submitted to the Planning Department for review.  Your application must include a detailed description of the use you wish to make of the property, the Assessor’s Parcel Number, and the name and address of the property owner and of the person making the application. Submit the following with your application:

  • Photographs of the property, a location map and a scaled plot plan showing everything that exists on the parcel (buildings and uses, parking area, driveways, well, septic system, setbacks, and lot dimensions) and proposed uses including signage, exterior lighting and landscaping.
  • A floor plan and the elevations of any proposed buildings.
  • A radius map showing all the parcels within 300 feet of your property and one stamped legal-size envelope for each property identified.

What happens after I apply?

The Planning Department will review your application and also refer it to various departments within the City who may request that conditions be attached to the approval of your variance.  A project planner may visit the site.  Your application is reviewed by the Planning Director and may be recommended to the Planning Commission for approval, approval subject to conditions, or to be denied.  The application is then scheduled for a Planning Commission hearing at which neighbors or other interested persons may appear to support, object, or simply ask questions about your proposal. The Planning Department will announce the meeting by mailing notices to all owners of property within 300 feet of your property and by posting the agenda on the city hall bulletin board.

Depending upon the complexity of the project, the final decision may be made by the Planning Commission. Your application may be approved, approved subject to certain conditions (nearly all approvals do have conditions), or denied.

What determines whether my application will be approved?

The following findings must first be made before a variance can be considered:

  • The variance shall not constitute a grant of special privilege inconsistent with the limitations upon other properties in the vicinity and zoning district in which the subject property is located.
  • That because of special circumstances applicable to the subject property, including size, shape, topography, location or surroundings, the strict application of the Zoning Ordinance is found to deprive subject property of privileges enjoyed by other properties in the vicinity and under identical zone classification.

Based on the information you supply and established criteria, the City determines whether the use you wish to make of your property will be detrimental to the public welfare or injurious, to property or improvements in the neighborhood.

What types of conditions might be imposed?

Your variance might be required to make certain property improvements before you can receive approval.  Ensuring that your variance does not supersede deed restrictions may be listed as a condition.

What can I do to give my application the best chance of approval?

  • When planning your project, consider how you can complete it in such away that it harmonizes with its surroundings and does not disrupt the neighborhood by creating undue noise or traffic.
  • You must demonstrate that your plan should be approved. When your application is submitted, make sure the most accurate information is provided.
  • Attend hearings so that you can speak for your project and respond to questions posed by those who may be worried about how your land use might affect them.

Can I appeal the decision?

During the 5-day appeal period after the Planning Commission’s decision is made, you and any other interested party may appeal the decision to the City Council. Even if your application is approved, you may still appeal any of the conditions that are attached.  The City Council may reverse, set aside, affirm, amend or modify the action of the Planning Commission.

How long does it take to get a Variance?

The entire process takes approximately two to three months from the time you submit a completed application to the day of the hearing by the Planning Commission. The Planning Department staff will assign a tentative hearing date when your application is complete.  Regular Planning Commission meetings are on the third Wednesday of each month.

What fees must I pay?

You must pay an application fee. You may also be required to pay fees for preparation and processing the City environmental review, archaeological review by the Northeast Information Center and environmental review by the Department of Fish & Game, and a County Clerk fee for posting the environmental determination.

What’s the next step in this process?

Obtain a Variance application packet from the Planning Department. The packet explains the general procedures for applying for a variance, fees, and other related matters. The application must be completed by a registered architect, registered civil engineer, licensed land surveyor, professional planner, or yourself and have notarized signature by the property owner or owners.

You should also review the section of the City Zoning Ordinance that regulates the uses permitted in the zone in which your project is located (a Planner can help you identify which section of the ordinance you need). After you have become familiar with these documents, we recommend you prepare some very preliminary plans and bring them to the Planning Department counter so that staff can review them.

If you are new to Weed or unfamiliar with the permit system you may also wish to make an appointment to meet with staff who can explain the permit system, the different agencies involved and the various costs and requirements. Schedule your Pre Application Meeting by calling 53(530)938-5020.