Have you been wondering if you can stretch the local zoning law just a little to your advantage? Florida’s property owners indeed have some room to make changes to the ways you and your neighbors are using the land. To go forward, you need to apply for a variance.
Different types of variances
There is more than just one way to apply for an exception to zoning-restricted land use. For example, if you want to put up a fence along your property line, you need an area variance. It is one of the most common requests, which you can do with an appropriate site plan approval.
It gets a little trickier when you want to receive a use variance, which changes the way you use the property. An example would be the homeowner who wants to run a mom-and-pop shop out of the garage or spare bedroom.
Why do the local zoning boards make it complicated to get variances?
One of the most important considerations is the protection of a neigborhood’s overall appeal. Think of a residential space where homes may only feature ranch style construction. A two-story duplex stands out. When enough residents request and receive variances, the character of a location changes.
In the process, it is possible for the individual home values to go up or down. Since this possibility concerns other homeowners, they may attempt to stop your application for the variance. Frequently, this means attending a hearing by the local zoning board.
Getting a variance sure sounds confusing and like an uphill battle. Talking with a land-use lawyer could help you make sense of the rules and the application process.