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Thread: variances granted prior to site plan approval?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    variances granted prior to site plan approval?

    Is it common for variances and special permits to be granted before site plan approval is granted? If a local government approved variances/special permits for a site would that put it in a tougher position to deny site plan approval? Or does it not matter which order the approvals are granted?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    I've only handled them by taking them at the same time, like an agenda item with two parts. You know, like "this is their site plan, and as you can see the cul-de-sac exceeds 500 ft., so they are applying for a variance, also." type of deal. If they deny one they deny them both, and vise versa.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Always, in my dealings. You cant approve a plan that requires a variance until the variance is granted. Unless I'm completely missing the point of your question??

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    Always, in my dealings. You cant approve a plan that requires a variance until the variance is granted.
    dittos...also a good reason for letting the body reviewing the site plan grant variances for those projects.

    Our's can and it makes life a lot easier.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Around here you need to be "aggrieved of a decision" before you can appeal for a variance. Some places dont handle it the way the statutes read, but who's going to sue you over making the process easier.

    EDIT: I just thought of an example from about 20 years ago. A local merchant went directly to the BOA for a variance to exceed the City's 25% limitation on signage in windows. The BOA granted the approval prior to the Plan Commission seeing any signage application, effectively ham stringing them into allowing a sign 100% of the window size.

    The Plan Commission got funding from the Council to sue the City's own BOA. The Council did not authorize legal funding for the BOA's defense. The variance was subsequently reversed on the procedural matters, and the court found that the BOA was acting beyond its authority, since the merchant was not an aggrieved party at the time of the variance application.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    OUrs are always done simultaneously. Here's the site plan, with two variances...

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Not knowing your procedures or state enabling act; I would say that the variances should always be approved prior to site plan approval or concurrent with such approval. However, if the site plan approval is discretionary, the fact that a variance was approved does not mean that the Plan Commission or Administrator has to approve it in the manner the variance allows. The grant of the variance merely allows the reviewer to approve an aspect of the plan that does not meet Ordinance standards. It does not necessarily mandate that it be approved.

    For example, we have a secondary district that requires administrative review of site plans and elevations. Sometimes variances are needed that we do not support. There is nothing preventing us from denying the site plan even if the variance is approved. Of course, the denial can be approved, so we don't normally deny a plan in these circumstances unless it is a very serious matter.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Here the commission can't approve a site plan that violates the regulations so the variance would have to be granted first. It doesn't put any extra pressure to approve the site plan since the variance is only permission to "violate" a specific section of the regulations based on hardship. In other words, you may have special permission to locate your donut shop closer to the property line but it doesn't mean the other site plan requirements are acceptable.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Around here it would be
    First - variance from the BZA
    Second - site plan review by tech. committee.
    Oddball
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