Roles and Functions of the Zoning Board of Appeals: Variances (Part 2)

The zoning board of appeals was created as a “safety valve,” in recognition that the zoning ordinance is not able to anticipate how every property might be affected by zoning. With thousands of individual properties, a single zoning regulation cannot possibly be applied uniformly to every property's unique physical characteristics. Learn how the ZBA serves as a safety valve in circumstances where zoning requirements don't fit. Explore how variances approved without sufficient justification can turn the safety valve into a leak, and a leak into a flood.

In part two of this three-part series, you will discover the “ins and outs” of variances, including identifying strategies and considerations when hearing variance requests and decision standards that will hold up in court. Find out more about non-use and use variances and review the top 10 incorrect reasons variances are granted.

NOTE: To get the most of out of this series, MTA recommends that you participate in part one, The Basics, before completing this session. After completing part two, continue the learning process by participating in Decision-making & Documentation—the final session in our ZBA series.

Thank you to Michigan Township Participating Plan for helping to underwrite the cost of this program. For more information, visit


Roles & Functions of the Zoning Board of Appeals - Variances
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Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin. 60 minutes