Variance to Lot Size regulations on land divisions
An Applicant is request a variance for the lot size regulations on a land division. This does not seem to meet the variance particular difficulty regulations. What would be a reason you would allow a smaller size lot than required in the zoning regulations? Is it even legal to apply for a variance to a lot size regulation?
Thank you for your inquiry. According to the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, exceptions can be granted to zoning regulations that pertain to dimensional issues such as 'lot area' in Michigan. But these exceptions are difficult to get because the applicant must prove that there is a 'Practical Difficulty' in meeting the ordinance requirements. One reason that a ZBA might approve a variance of this type would involve the unique physical characteristics of the land in question that would be so unique as to not be shared with any neighboring lots. It is recommended that the ZBA stick to best practices and consider the following when making its decision to grant a variance for lot area or not:
1) Can the applicant accomplish the same purpose without a variance?
2) Would a lesser variance accomplish the same purpose?
3) if the circumstance is shared amongst many properties in the area, the variance should be denied because it is not a unique circumstance; and finally,
4) Did the applicant take an affirmative action that created a need for a variance?
If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, then the request must be denied.