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Zoning Variances
Zoning variances are exceptions from regulations that are in the zoning code and are made for a specific case. The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) has the authority to grant zoning variances. The seven member Board, appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council, is comprised of private citizens who live in Saint Paul.

The BZA holds a public hearing before deciding on each case. There are two types of variances cases - minor and major. Minor variances are for single family additions, garages, fences and pools; all other variances are major variances. The Citizen Participation District Council for the area is notified by mail at least 10 days prior to the public hearing as well as all property owners within 350 feet of the subject property for major variances and within 100 feet for minor variances. Anyone may testify at the hearing or send in written comments either in support or opposition to the request. A zoning staff report is given for each case, including a recommendation for approval or denial, a copy of which is sent to the applicant prior to the hearing.

The Board of Zoning Appeals will conduct a public hearing within 4 weeks of the application's submission. By State Law 15.99, a decision is required on zoning-related requests within 60 days of submission or automatic approval will be given. An extension of 60 days may be given, provided the applicant is given written notice. The Board of Zoning Appeals holds public hearings every other Monday. The hearings start at 3:00 p.m. in Room 330 of the City Hall/ Courthouse. It is essential that the applicant or their representative attend the hearing.


Any affected party may appeal the decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals to the City Council within 10 days of the date of the decision.  See Appeal of Board of Zoning Appeals Decision

Variance Application Review Flowchart

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