Requesting an Administrative Variance
An administrative variance is an exception granted by the Planning director from any building setback requirement. This may include exceptions to setbacks for existing or proposed structures. Administrative variances are evaluated for a specified hardship as outlined by the zoning ordinance.
An administrative variance for a building setback requirement may be granted by the Planning director when the director finds in writing that:
- The strict application of the ordinance requirement would produce undue hardship.
- Such hardship is not shared generally by other properties in the same zoning district and the same vicinity.
- The authorization of such variance will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property.
- The character of the zoning district will not be changed by the granting of the variance.
Administrative Variance Process
- Initiate Request
- Staff Evaluation
- Pre-Application Meeting
- Submittal of Online Administrative Variance Application
- Application Review
- Adjacent Owner Objection
- Approval or Denial of Request
- Appeal of the Director's Decision
Contact the Planning Department by calling 804-748-1050 to speak to a planner and discuss your administrative variance request. During this call, planners will help identify the need for supporting documentation for your request, which may include a sketch plan of the site showing existing or proposed setback for a structure with a statement explaining the hardship of the proposed location.
The administrative variance supporting documentation will be forwarded to a case manager who will contact the applicant to discuss the request and schedule an appointment to review the request and to discuss the administrative variance process at the Pre-Application Meeting.
A meeting between the Planning case manager and the applicant is scheduled to review the submittal requirements (supporting documentation, plans or plats, fees, applicant’s notification of request to adjacent property owners) for the administrative variance application.
Submittal of Online Administrative Variance Application
The applicant will submit an online administrative variance application through the Enterprise Land Management (ELM) citizen access portal.
Upon receiving a complete application, the case manager will evaluate the request. As part of this review, a site visit to the subject property will be scheduled. Additionally, Planning will complete the following notification requirements:
- Mail adjacent property owners a notification of the request at least 21 days prior to the Planning director acting on the application.
- Post sign(s) with case information on the subject property at least 14 days prior to the Planning director acting on the application.
Adjacent Owner Objection
If any adjacent owner objects to the application, the objection shall be submitted in writing to Planning prior to the final consideration date.
Approval or Denial of Request
The Planning director will approve or disapprove the application not less than 90 days after the date of the submission of the application. Written notice of the Planning director’s decision will be sent to the applicant. If your request is approved, you may then proceed with plans and other necessary review procedures. Typically the request will not be approved if reasonable alternatives to the request exist.