What Is a Zoning Variance, and How Do You Obtain One?


What are Zoning Codes?

Zoning regulations are necessary for a city. They control many things, such as the height and size of structures, the parking regulations, number of occupants in a building or neighborhood, and much, much more. Zoning regulations are basically the guidelines for controlling a city’s land use, signage placement, and personal and commercial property use. The Philadelphia Zoning Code is responsible for making such decisions in the city of Philadelphia. They also give out permits that authorize changes to be made to properties, new signs added, a change in parking or additional buildings added.

There are two types of permits; Zoning Permits allow for new construction, building extensions, signage placement, off street parking, demolition and more. Use Registration Permits are for changes made to the use of property, such as new business use, additions made to a particular property (or the removal of it) and more. If a person requires any of the above, they go to the Zoning Code and request a permit.

The question is, what happens if the permit is denied?

What is a Zoning Variance?

If a person goes to get a permit and is denied one, there are steps to take to appeal the decision. And the great news is that there are excellent lawyers here at Pritzker Law Group that can assist with that, and offer their knowledge in that area. An appeal for an exception made to a zoning board’s denial is called a Zoning Variance, and it is possible to obtain one, in certain situations.

A Variance can only be considered if the case in question is not harmful to the city or the environment, such as an increase of traffic, burden the public, place stress on public facilities, injure the public, or nearby buildings (with noise or pollution), or will affect neighborhood safety. Variances may be given in cases such as requesting to use a building for a different use then it is coded for.

Requirements for appealing for a Zoning Variance:

First, you will have to apply for a permit and be denied one. You will then have 30 days to appeal the decision before the Zoning Board, and you will be called before them to state your case, at which you must be accompanied by legal representation.

Prior to going before the board, you will have to line up support from the neighborhood where the building or land is located that you wish to have a Variance given for. You will need to show that the people and businesses that are nearby have no issues with your request.

Both these steps, of the Zoning Appeal, and meeting with your local Registered Community Organization to get their support requires a lot of work, and advice. That is why if you are looking for the best results, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of legal representation and hire a lawyer. That will significantly increase your chances of having a positive outcome and have a Zoning Variance issued to you.

If you have any questions or concerns about your property’s zoning compliance, please contact us at Pritzker Law Group. We specialize in real estate law so you can rest assured your property won’t be subject to penalties.

Related Post
  • Blue Sky Laws Explained Read More
  • ´╗┐How to Pass Legislation in Philadelphia Read More
  • 5 Things You Need to Know About Philadelphia's New 'Universal' Lead Bill Read More