Variance Appeals

If you are denied a permit by a Plan Examiner to use land in a way that is not allowed by the Zoning Code, you may appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The Board will hold a public hearing to determine if a Variance can be granted. A final permit cannot be issued unless the Variance is granted.

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Dimensional Variances

A Dimensional Variance is defined as "[p]ermission to depart from any of the literal requirements of the Milwaukee Code of Ordinances, except use regulations, including but not limited to departure from an area, setback, frontage, height, bulk, density or design requirement (MCO s.295-201-675)."

If you apply for a Dimensional Variance, you must file a statement that addresses each of the following criteria:

  • Preservation of Intent. A variance would not be inconsistent with the spirit, purpose and intent of the regulations for the district in which it is requested.
  • Exceptional Circumstances. Exceptional, extraordinary or unusual circumstances or conditions apply to the lot or intended use that do not apply generally to other properties or uses in the same district, and the variance is not of so general or recurrent nature to suggest amendment of the regulation.
  • Preservation of Property Rights. The variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of the same substantial property rights, which are possessed by other properties in the same district and same vicinity.
  • Absence of Detriment. The variance will not create substantial detriment to adjacent property, and will not materially impair or be contrary to the spirit, purpose and intent of this chapter, or the public interest.
  • Hardship, Dimensional Variance. In the case of a dimensional variance request, compliance with the code requirement from which the variance is requested would unreasonably prevent the property owner from using his or her property for a permitted purpose or would otherwise be unnecessarily burdensome.
 
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Use Variances

A Use Variance is defined as "[p]ermission to depart from the literal requirements of the Zoning Code (MCO s.295-201-676)."

If you apply for a Use Variance, you must file a statement that addresses each of the following criteria:
  • Preservation of Intent. A variance would not be inconsistent with the spirit, purpose and intent of the regulations for the district in which it is requested.

  • Exceptional Circumstances. Exceptional, extraordinary or unusual circumstances or conditions apply to the lot or intended use that do not apply generally to other properties or uses in the same district, and the variance is not of so general or recurrent nature to suggest amendment of the regulation.

  • Preservation of Property Rights. The variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of the same substantial property rights, which are possessed by other properties in the same district and same vicinity.

  • Absence of Detriment. The variance will not create substantial detriment to adjacent property, and will not materially impair or be contrary to the spirit, purpose and intent of this chapter, or the public interest.

  • Hardship, Use Variance. The alleged difficulty or hardship is not self-imposed nor is it based solely on economic grounds.

 

 

 

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Board of Zoning Appeals
809 N. Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202
 
414.286.2501
boza@milwaukee.gov