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Strange Variance Requests

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
I was thumbing through Muncie, IN/Delaware County's webpage and read their examples what what a variance hardship is not. Example #4 got me laughing. What are some strange zoning variation requests you have received and what are some of the strangest hardship arguments you have heard?

WHAT HARDSHIP IS NOT. For the purpose of granting a variance, the following instances or similar ones shall not be considered hardships:

1. That the owner could sell his property for more if the Board would permit its development for commercial purposes.

2. Erection of an apartment with more units than allowed by the ordinance and occupying greater area.

3. A venture which is financially advantageous to the applicant or a financial loss if a variance was denied.

4. The absence of a grocery in a neighborhood and the implication that housewives suffer inconvenience by it.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,952
Points
40
Strange things in Muncie......no way. ;-)

I'll need to think back to my old job...there were a few really bad arguments....but none come springing to mind....
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,458
Points
27
How many truly neighborhood grocers are there? Not much anymore. And if there was one, the "housewife" would probably complain that there is not enough selection available.

One of my last variance requests was a pedieatcian with a 7,000 square foot house on a 13,000 square foot llot. He wanted to extend into the rear setback to build a storage room for more of his toys. Not very unusual but it was denied, and it brought joy to my soul. :-}
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
The variation for grocery in a residential reminded me of an enforcement case, not variation, where a homeowner in a rather poor neighborhood put a pop machine on her porch (50 cents a can) for the neighborhood kids and a payphone on her porch for those who didn't have a phone.

I, police officers, code enforcement, and some other divisions were on a sweep in her area. I told the owner that the pop machine and phone created a commercial accessory use in a residential area and needed to be removed. Right after that, two police officers went up and used the pop machine. (bleeping idiots)
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
One of the first land division applications I processed was a two-lot split that included a request for variances to the minimum required lot size. The applicant's stated hardship: he couldn't divide the land without a variance. Application flushed.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
boiker said:
The variation for grocery in a residential reminded me of an enforcement case, not variation, where a homeowner in a rather poor neighborhood put a pop machine on her porch (50 cents a can) for the neighborhood kids and a payphone on her porch for those who didn't have a phone.

I, police officers, code enforcement, and some other divisions were on a sweep in her area. I told the owner that the pop machine and phone created a commercial accessory use in a residential area and needed to be removed. Right after that, two police officers went up and used the pop machine. (bleeping idiots)

I think this would be a "wink until someone complains" case here???
 

DecaturHawk

Cyburbian
Messages
880
Points
22
I once had a porno shop owner try to convince me we should allow him to open a shop in the downtown (they are only allowed in manufacturing districts) because their sales of "marital aids" would promote stable marriages.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
DecaturHawk said:
I once had a porno shop owner try to convince me we should allow him to open a shop in the downtown (they are only allowed in manufacturing districts) because their sales of "marital aids" would promote stable marriages.

Now that's somthing the Bush Administration can get behind!

Here is a quote from one of our BOA meetings: "This height restriction is a hardship on my taste in architecture!" Then he mouthed off to the Asst. City Attorney and the entire board and threatened to put up the ugliest 15 foot high garage he could find....REQUEST DENIED!
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
Nothing strange, but when I worked in the wireless industry, I requested and received variances all the time I would not have recommended if I was on the other side of the table.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
Park where ever you want, on what ever you want.

We have a case right now where the applicant owns an old rail road way that is about a mile and a half long, and 100 feet wide. It has no buildings on it, only trees. He wants to allow people who live across the street (lake lots) to be able to park vehicles on the grass. He says that the hardship is that because the public right of way is too narrow to allow for on street parking, (parts are a bit narrow) and for families with 4 to 5 cars, parking in the driveways and garages becomes an inconvenience. So he is asking for a use variance to allow for an accessory use without a primary use. I was once told that in the State of Michigan Driving is a privilege. Would that make parking a privilege as well? And if he is granted the variance, what will happen when he is required to put down concrete or gravel as required in a separate, non-zoning section of the City Code, Creating twice as many driveways, and little kids running across the street to get into Mom’s Mini Van? Neighbors will through a fit.

OK it was a bit of a vent, but I don’t understand it... people want a nice neighborhood, but they do not want to abide to the rules and regulations created by the officials that they have elected, to create and maintain nice neighborhoods.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
The guy who bought a home adjacent to an elevated freeway and then needed a variance to the pool enclosure setbacks so drivers (doing 70 mph) wouldn't be able to see his wife in the pool area. Idiot Board of Adjustment approved it.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,757
Points
69
I actually put this into the variance provisions of a code I wrote.

[tt]The following types of variances will not be considered.
* Requests to permit uses that are normally prohibited or not specifically permitted in a zoning district, development plan or PUD.
* Requests intended solely to increase the profit, income or competitive advantage of the applicant; or to lower site development costs.
* Requests to increase maximum sign height, number and size requirements.
* Requests to accommodate preferred corporate or franchise standards for design, architecture, landscaping, signage or other site improvements.
* Requests to change the application of standards approved as conditions of an approved site plan, development plan or PUD.[/tt]
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Zoning Goddess said:
The guy who bought a home adjacent to an elevated freeway and then needed a variance to the pool enclosure setbacks so drivers (doing 70 mph) wouldn't be able to see his wife in the pool area. Idiot Board of Adjustment approved it.

Special circumstances: ugly wife. :-b
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,757
Points
69
Zoning Goddess said:
The guy who bought a home adjacent to an elevated freeway and then needed a variance to the pool enclosure setbacks so drivers (doing 70 mph) wouldn't be able to see his wife in the pool area.

I think that in coming years, with an increase the Arab population, you might be seeing more requests like that. See this thread.

boiker said:
The variation for grocery in a residential reminded me of an enforcement case, not variation, where a homeowner in a rather poor neighborhood put a pop machine on her porch (50 cents a can) for the neighborhood kids and a payphone on her porch for those who didn't have a phone.

Hehehe! Used to get that all the time in the small Florida town where I worked. There was a wandering Pepsi machine that seemed to drift from porch to porch in the town's tiny poor minority neighborhood. I'd send a violation letter to one property owner, the machine would disappear, and a couple of weeks later, it would appear on the porch of another house. The excuse: "the proceeds are going to the church." Well, why not put it in the lobby of said church?

There used to be milk vending machines in residential areas of Buffalo when I was a kid. Usually, they were on the side of a house located at a street corner. Are those still around?
 

jsk1983

Cyburbian
Messages
2,479
Points
24
I remember the milk vending machines, they no longer operated, but they were still there. My dad grew up on the east side and lived on a dead end street that ended at Schiller Park. Across the street was a tavern/restaurant that served German food. At the corner of the street was a house that had once housed a small grocery, though I think my dad said it closed in the fifties. This was all in a neighborhood of single family, working class homes.
 
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