Board of Appeals

Board of Appeals Applicant

Chapter 74 of the City Code (Zoning Ordinance) allows for the granting of variances from certain provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. The Board shall make findings that a “practical difficulty” exists in the use of the property before a variance may be granted.

An application form is available from the Inspection Department. There is a $500.00 fee for reviewing and processing variances. The fee is not refundable if the variance request is denied.

“Practical difficulty” is a legal standard set forth in law that cities must apply when considering applications for variances. It is a three-factor test and applies to all requests for variances.

1. The property owner proposes to use the property in a reasonable manner not permitted by the zoning ordinance.
2. The plight of the landowner is due to circumstances unique to the property not created by the landowner.
3. The variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality.

The Board of appeals shall consider the following factors when making its determination.

• Is the variance in harmony with the purposes and intent of the ordinance?
• Is the variance consistent with the comprehensive plan?
• Does the proposal put property use in a reasonable manner?
• Are there unique circumstances to the property not created by the landowner?
• Will the variance, if granted, alter the essential character of the locality?

Economic considerations alone cannot create practical difficulties. Rather, practical difficulties exists only when the three statutory factors are met.

Your application for a variance to the Board of Appeals will be reviewed and acted on by the Board.

Please be very thorough on your drawings and requests, and include all items you require for your variance.

The Board of Appeals will either approve or deny the request.  If the requested is denied it may be appealed.

If the variance is approved, a building permit will be issued and will include the variance as approved by the Board. Any changes from the variance, as granted by the Board of Appeals, will be subject to removal and be subject to fine.

Please call the Albert Lea Inspection Department for information regarding a variance 507-377-4340