Board of Adjustment
Variances

A variance is a relaxation of the terms of the zoning ordinance where such variance will not be contrary to the public interest and where, owing to conditions peculiar to the property, and not the result of the actions of the applicant, a literal enforcement of the ordinance would result in unnecessary and undue hardship.  Variances cannot be approved because of economic conditions, such as that it would cost more to build in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.  As used in the Clinton County Zoning Ordinance, a variance is authorized only for height, area, and size of structure or size of yards and open spaces.  Establishment or expansion of a use otherwise prohibited cannot be allowed by the variance, nor can a variance be granted because of the presence of nonconformities in the zoning district or uses in an adjoining zoning district.

In order to grant a variance, it must be found that the property cannot be used for any reasonable purpose within its current zoning district, unless a variance is granted.  The cost of removal of an illegally built structure does not constitute unnecessary hardship-it should not have been built in the first place.  A variance also cannot be used to create a new non-conforming lot.

The application form for a Variance is located here.

Criteria for the Board of Adjustment to consider when deciding on a Variance.

  1. The variance requested arises from a condition or conditions which are unique to the property in question and which are not ordinarily found in the same zone or district; that the condition was not created by an action or actions of the property owner or applicant; and that the condition existed prior to enactment of regulations creating the need for the variance.

  2. The granting of the permit for variance will not adversely affect the rights of adjacent property owners or residents.

  3. The strict application of the provisions of this ordinance would constitute unnecessary hardship upon the property owner.

  4. The variance desired will not adversely affect the public health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity or general welfare.

  5. The granting of the variance will not conflict with the general spirit and intent of this ordinance.

  6. The granting of the variance requested will not  confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this ordinance to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district.  Non-conforming use of neighboring lands, structures or buildings shall not be considered grounds for issuances of a variance.

  7. The variance requested is the minimum variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure.