Asked August 14, 2013, 4:03 PM EDT

A member of our township asked me if he filed for a variance on his property for a garage that is not in compliance and the ZBA approved the variance, how long could he hold the variance before he put up the garage? He was wondering if he could get the variance and 1 or 2 years later put up the garage. I can't find anything in our Zoning Ordinance or on the Variance Application giving a time limit. Could you answer this for me?

Clare County Michigan community planning and zoning variance zoning board of appeals

1 Response

Typically a zoning decision has a vesting date within the ordinance to begin work. Variances are sometimes treated differently. Some courts have held that a variance vests immediately and runs in perpetuity. This is done under the assumption that the practical difficulty will not change. This makes sense with a lot size variance. There is a differing of opinions regarding setbacks and other decisions.

If there is no time limit within the ordinance typically the intent is that a variance vests immediately and can be acted on at any time such as your case with constructing a garage two years later.