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FAQ: Variances

What types of variances are granted?

The Board of Adjustment is authorized to grant variances for the zoning district dimensional standards and off-street parking and loading standards in unique cases where these standards are shown to create an unnecessary hardship, provided that the variance is not contrary to the public interest or spirit of the Land Development Code. Variances cannot be granted to allow a use that is otherwise not permitted in a specific zoning district.

How do I apply for a variance?

To start the process, contact the Planning Department at (701) 241-1474 in order to schedule a time to discuss your variance request with staff. In order to apply for a variance, an application will need to be submitted to the Planning Department. A processing fee of $185 must be submitted along with the application. The Board of Adjustment meets as needed on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. in the City Commission Room in City Hall. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. on the first day of the month in which the meeting is held.

What are the criteria for approval?

A variance may be granted upon affirmatively finding that all of the following conditions exist:
1. The requested variance arises from conditions that are unique to the subject property, that are not ordinarily found in the same zoning district and that are not a result of the owner's intentional action.
2. The granting of the permit for the variance will not adversely affect the rights of adjacent property owners or residents.
3. The strict application of the applicable standards will constitute an unnecessary physical hardship (not economic hardship) because the property cannot be used for an otherwise allowed use without coming into conflict with applicable site development standards.
4. The variance desired will not adversely affect the public health, safety, or general welfare.
5. The variance is the minimum variance that will overcome the hardship.

Can I appeal a decision made by the Board of Adjustment?

Appeals may be taken to the City Commission by filing an appeal with the Zoning Administrator. The individuals who have the standing to appeal are:
1. The applicant
2. The Board of City Commissioners or any member of the Board of City Commissioners
3. Any person who received a mailed notice of the public hearing
4. Any other person deemed by the Board of City Commission to be actually or potentially aggrieved by the appealed action
5. Any person given the right of appeal by law