What’s the difference between a special permit and a variance?
Criteria and procedures for variances are set out in Article XXXXI, Sections 240-203 through 240-211 of the Zoning Bylaw. A variance is required if you want to do something with your property which is generally prohibited by the Zoning Bylaw.

For instance, the Bylaw requires that accessory buildings located in front yards must be set back 50 feet from the front lot line. If you want to add an accessory building to your property closer than 50 feet to the front lot line, you would require a variance.

The criteria for granting a variance is very strict. The applicant must show a hardship imposed by the Bylaw, which is caused by a unique condition of the lot. Therefore, if your building plans require a variance, you might want to look at other options.

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1. How long does it take to get a special permit?
2. Why do I need a special permit?
3. What’s the difference between a special permit and a variance?
4. Do I need a lawyer?
5. I just received notice that my neighbor is applying for a special permit or variance for his property. What should I do? I’d like to present my opinion to the Board. Do I need to attend the hearing?
6. What happens at the public hearing?
7. What happens after the Board reaches a decision?
8. Why do I have to wait 20 days?
9. When is the decision effective?
10. What if I’m not happy with the Board’s decision?
11. I want to add an accessory apartment to my home. What do I need to do?
12. I have an illegal apartment and want to sell my home. What should I do?