According to the zoning code, the BZA must make the following findings before they can grant a variance:
• The variance is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the zoning code.
• The variance is consistent with the comprehensive plan.
• The applicant has established that there are practical difficulties in complying
with the provision, that the property owner proposes to use the property in a
reasonable manner not permitted by the provision. Economic considerations
alone do not constitute practical difficulties.
• The plight of the landowner is due to circumstances unique to the property not
created by the landowner.
• The variance will not permit any use that is not allowed in the zoning district where
the affected land is located.
• The variance will not alter the essential character of the surrounding area.
In granting a variance, the board or commission shall make written findings stating the grounds upon which the variance is justified. Inadequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems constitutes a practical difficulty in the third bullet point above.
In granting a variance, the BZA may attach reasonable conditions to their approval. The BZA does not have the authority to allow a use that is not otherwise permitted in the zoning district.