Request for Variance

The purpose of the variance is to allow variation from the strict application of the terms of the zoning chapter where, by reason of the exceptional physical characteristics of the property, the literal enforcement of the requirements would cause practical difficulties for the landowner.

The Planning Commission may grant a variance when all of the following conditions are found:

  1. The variance is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of this chapter.
  2. The variance is consistent with the comprehensive plan.
  3. The applicant for the variance establishes that there are practical difficulties in complying with this chapter. “Practical difficulties,” as use in connection with the granting of a variance, means that all of the following must be found to apply:
  • The property owner proposes to use the land in a reasonable manner for a use permitted in the zone where the land is located, but the proposal is not permitted by other official controls.
  • The plight of the landowner is due to circumstances unique to the property and that are not created by the landowner.
  • The variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality.

The Community Development Department staff assists property owners through the variance process.


The City requires consultant with city staff prior to the submission of a variance application. Contact the Community Development Department at (651) 430-8820 to discuss your future project.

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