Process for Variances

Request for Relief

Any request for relief from a required standard other than those permitted by the legislation, and beyond the authority of the Planning Director or Designee, shall be reviewed as a variance by the Planning Board.


Approval of a variance is subject to very specific regulations and is for limited applicability only. Variances have a specific legal meaning in the new zone and in the Zoning Ordinance. They are restricted to strict findings related to hardship and unique site conditions. As currently drafted, the process for granting a variance involves Planning Board review and a final decision by the Board based on specified criteria for approval.

If an applicant still cannot meet the criteria of the Urban Centers and Corridor Nodes Development Code as established by the code and a particular Regulating Plan, the applicant can chose to:
  • Submit a new, revised site plan which meets the requirements as codified in the applicable Regulating Plan.
  • Ask the District Council to approve the development of a new Regulating Plan. If this request is granted, the public participation process for creating the regulating plan as described earlier in the document begins again.

Going Forward

Planning staff, the County Council, and other stakeholders will continue to refine the relationship and criteria of administrative deviations and variances during the summer of 2009.