What must be proven in order to be granted a use variance?

If requesting a use variance, that is, permission to establish a use of property not otherwise permitted in the zoning district, the applicant must prove "unnecessary hardship." To prove this, State law requires the applicant to show all of the following: 

(1) that the property is incapable of earning a reasonable return on initial investment if used for any of the allowed uses in the district (actual "dollars and cents" proof must be submitted); 

(2) that the property is being affected by unique, or at least highly uncommon circumstances; 

(3) that the variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood; and 

(4) that the hardship is not self-created.

 If any one or more of the above factors is not proven, State law requires that the ZBA must deny the variance.

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1. Why might you consider an appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals?
2. How is the appeals process initiated?
3. Under what circumstances may an appeal be made to the Zoning Board of Appeals?
4. Who may apply to the ZBA for relief?
5. What decisions or actions are appealable?
6. What types of relief can the ZBA grant?
7. After a Notice of Appeal has been filed, what must happen?
8. What is the responsibility of the applicant at the hearing?
9. Will the ZBA make a decision the night of the hearing?
10. What is the basis for the ZBA’s decision on an interpretation?
11. What must be proven in order to be granted a use variance?
12. What must be proven in order to be granted an area variance?
13. Must the variance, if granted, be exactly what was applied for by the applicant?