Wake County’s Unified Development Ordinance offers a variance process for an interested party to receive a hardship variance from zoning regulations.
- Application of the regulation to a particular property would result in unnecessary hardships.
- Granting a variance from the regulation would be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the UDO and preserves its spirit.
- Granting the variance would ensure the public safety and welfare and produce substantial justice.
It is strongly recommended that any person considering seeking a zoning hardship variance first contact Subdivision Administration staff, who will explain the review process and potential issues, and provide the necessary forms and checklists.
Zoning Variance Process
- Review Zoning Variance Justification document before preparing an application.
- Prepare plans and other documents as required.
- Submit a petition through the Permit Portal.
- Pay $300 review fee.
Once a hearing before the Board of Adjustment has been set, Zoning Administration staff posts notice of the hearing at the site and sends notice to adjoining property owners. The Planning Director may also decide to publish notice in the local paper.
Board of Adjustment Hearing
In reviewing zoning hardship variances, the Board of Adjustment acts much like a panel of judges. It holds a hearing to allow the staff, applicant, and other interested parties to present competent, substantial, and material factual evidence relating to the required conclusions. It then makes findings of fact supported by the presented evidence. Based on those findings, the Board decides whether or not it can reach each of the required conclusions. It may approve application only after it reaches all of the required conclusions. The Board may approve an application subject to conditions reasonably necessary to allow it to reach the required conclusions.
If the application is denied, the applicant may appeal the denial to Superior Court, provided the appeal is made within 30 days of the Board of Adjustment decision filing.