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Variance Information


Steps That Need To Be Taken For : Variance

Variance Applications

 

For the Variance Application click HERE

 

The following information is provided as a courtesy by Miami Shores Village. This site is updated periodically, but does not reflect the requirements of the entire Miami Shores Village Code of Ordinances and may not contain the most recent changes to the Code of Ordinances or application requirements. A copy of the Miami Shores Village Code of Ordinances is available online HERE or may be viewed at the Village Planning and Zoning Department. The official copy of the Miami Shores Village Code of Ordinances is maintained by the Village Clerk. Copies of recently adopted or amended ordinances are kept at the Village Clerk's Office and at the Miami Shores Village Planning and Zoning Department. Please contact the Miami Shores Village Planning and Zoning Department at 305-795-2207 for further information.

The Purpose of Variances

A Variance is a legal means of granting property owners relief from specific provisions of the adopted Code of Ordinances. The Code of Ordinances has been adopted by the Village Council and thereby constitutes the local laws that the village staff is required to apply. The Code of Ordinances contain the development criteria that pertain to each of the individual zoning districts. Each Zoning District contains specific development standards that control the minimum lot size and frontage, the density of development, maximum building height, height of fences and walls and the minimum yard requirements – commonly called "setbacks."

When to Apply for a Variance

A variance may be applied for when a landowner wants to develop their property in a way that does not comply with the Code of Ordinances preventing the village from issuing a building permit or other required approval. The first step should always be to consult with village staff to determine exactly which regulations are not being met by the development proposal (site plan) and what changes to the plan could be made that would bring the proposal into compliance.

If the planning director or building official denies an application for a building permit or other required approval for development or use that would be in violation of any of the provisions of the Code of Ordinances, and if the applicant is of the opinion that it is impossible to strictly apply such provisions to the applicant’s property because of the existence of peculiar and unusual physical conditions affecting such property other than conditions relating to the financial circumstances of the applicant, but including the fact that same has been designated as a historic landmark by the Miami Shores Village Council, the applicant may apply for a variance.

Variance Criteria

The burden of proof in applying for a variance lies entirely upon the applicant. The applicant for a variance must provide evidence to support their request and must fully describe:

  • The alleged peculiar and unusual conditions affecting the property other than conditions relating to the financial circumstances of the applicant.
  • The alleged reasons why such conditions make it impossible strictly to apply specified provisions of this ordinance to the property.
  • The reasons why the variance requested is the minimum variance that the applicant believes to be necessary in order to enable the applicant to make a reasonable use of the property.
  • The reasons why the applicant is of the opinion that such variance would be in harmony with the intent and purpose of this ordinance and would not be detrimental to the existing use or prospective development of property in the vicinity, and would not give to the applicant an advantage with respect to the use of this property that is not enjoyed by the owners of similarly situated property.

Planning Board Action

The power to approve, approve with conditions, or deny variances as required by the Code of Ordinances is vested in the Planning Board. Planning Board members are appointed by the Village Council.

In reviewing the proposed zoning variance, the Planning Board will consider all submitted materials and the applicant’s response to the variance criteria above.

The Planning Board will take the following steps in making their decision:

  • First: Determine whether or not there are peculiar and unusual physical conditions applying to the property of the applicant, other than conditions relating to his financial circumstances; if the board finds there are none, consideration of the variance stops here; if the planning board finds there are, the planning board will move on to consider the Second condition for approval;
  • Second: Determine whether or not such conditions are such that it is impossible strictly to apply specified provisions of this ordinance to such property; if the board finds there are none, consideration of the variance stops here; if the planning board finds there are, the planning board will move on to consider the Third and Fourth conditions for approval;
  • Third: Determine the minimum variance that may be granted that will enable the owner to enjoy the reasonable use of the property without being detrimental to the existing use or prospective development of property in the vicinity and without giving the owner an advantage that is not enjoyed by the owners of similarly situated property; and
  • Fourth: Grant the aforesaid variance, subject to such conditions as the board deems to be necessary in furtherance of the purposes of this ordinance.

In no case shall any variance permit the establishment of any use that is not specifically permitted in the zoning district where the proposed development is located.

A Variance, once granted, becomes a property right which "runs with the land", so the decision to grant or deny a variance request cannot be based on the intentions of the original requester. The decision must be based on special circumstances related to that particular piece of land.

Application Requirements and Procedures

A Planning Board Application for a Variance is required. A complete application with all required information and supporting materials must be submitted to the planning office before the request will be scheduled for a Planning Board hearing. For a list of board hearing dates and submittal deadlines click HERE. The application can either be picked up at Village Hall between the hours of 8:30 am - 4:30 pm or can be downloaded off of the website by clicking HERE. Please note: applicants are required to meet with planning staff prior to submitting a zoning application to determine exactly which regulations are not being met by the development proposal (site plan) and to determine what applications if any are required. The planner will go over the application to explain and to identify what items are required and what information is not necessary for your specific application.

Staff will analyze the request in light of the Comprehensive Plan requirements, the specific section(s) of the Code of Ordinances that are not being met, the general character of the surrounding neighborhood and the physical constraints of the particular site. Staff will prepare and submit a Staff Report to the Planning Board who will hear the request at a public hearing. The property owner requesting the variance and all other "interested" parties will be given a chance to be heard by the Planning Board at the Public Hearing.

For any other questions concerning site plans and variances, please feel free to call the Planning and Zoning Department or check the municipal codes online by clicking HERE

The decision of the Planning Board to approve or deny a variance may be appealed to the Village Council. For more information on what requirements must be met for an appeal to the Village Council click HERE.