A variance provides relief from zoning code requirements when strict compliance would result in unique difficulties for a property owner. For variance purposes, such difficulties are referred to as a hardship. A hardship is a condition that must relate to special circumstances or conditions specific to a particular property.

Typical variance requests are for relief from setback, building height, parking, and landscaping requirements. The requested variance must be the minimum necessary to grant relief and cannot confer a special privilege when compared to nearby properties. Economic or self-imposed conditions do not constitute justification for a variance request.