Asked January 20, 2019, 10:17 AM EST

Is it possible that a ZBA would approve a Variance to reduce the minimum combined side yard setbacks on a 50' residential lot from

13 feet to 5 feet

which would then allow a second story to be added to a garage that has a side yard setback of only

3 feet ????

I forgot to mention that this house has a total combined side yards of 8 feet - 3' on one and 5' on the other.

The 5' side yard is 2 stories high. The 3' side yard is 1 story high.

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response

Good Morning:

Here are the Standards for BZA approval of a Non-Use Variance:

Standards for approval:

•Strict compliance with standard would unreasonably bar property from any permitted use or make conformity unnecessarily burdensome

•Variance requested would do substantial justice to applicant and other property owners or a “smaller” variance would do the job

•Plight is due to property’s unique circumstances

•Problem is not self-created (including by previous owners)

The standards were developed via case law

•The MZEA does not define “practical difficulty” or otherwise provide standards

•But it requires the ordinance to establish standards

•May reproduce the case law standards

•May add to the case law standards

Example – The proposed variance will not impair an adequate supply of light and air to adjacent property, or unreasonably increase the congestion in public streets, or increase the danger of fire

I have a few questions:

What are the standards in your zoning ordinance regarding non-use variances and practical difficulty?

What justification did the applicant give regarding his request?

What was the BZA's Decision/Justification for granting the Non-Use Variance?

Thank you for providing me with additional information.