There are two distinct types of variances which are processed through the Planning and Zoning Department.
Variance from Subdivision Regulations
When a variance from the City’s Subdivision Regulations is needed, the applicant must submit an application requesting such variance at least four weeks prior to the Planning Commission meeting at which the request is to be considered (per Section 18-4(b) of the City Code). The Planning Commission normally meets the second Monday of each month at 6 pm in the Buist Conference Room on the 3rd Floor at North Charleston City Hall, 2500 City Hall Lane, excluding City holidays. Ten copies of any supporting documentation should be submitted with the application.
Per Section 18-4 of the Subdivision Regulations, the Planning Commission must find the following in the granting of a subdivision variance:
- The variance will not be detrimental to the public health, safety and general welfare of the community;
- The variance will not adversely affect the reasonable development of adjacent property;
- The variance is justified because of topographic or other special conditions unique to the property involved, in contrast to mere inconvenience or financial disadvantage;
- The variance is consistent with the objectives of this chapter and will not have the effect of nullifying the intent or purpose of this chapter or the comprehensive plan; and
- Such variance will not conflict with the requirements of the zoning ordinance of the City.
Approximately one month following the Planning Commission meeting, a Subdivision Variance Order will be forwarded to the applicant.
Variance from Zoning Regulations
When a variance from the City’s Zoning Regulations is needed, the applicant must submit an application requesting such variance and pay a $75 application fee at least three weeks prior to the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at which the request is to be considered (which allows adequate time to publish a notice 15 days in advance of the meeting, as required by Section 7-7.3(c) of the Zoning Regulations and S.C. Code of Laws 6-29-800(d)). The Board of Zoning Appeals normally meets the first Monday of each month at 5 pm in the Buist Conference Room on the 3rd Floor at North Charleston City Hall, 2500 City Hall Lane, excluding City holidays. Nine copies of any supporting documentation should be submitted with the application.
Per Section 7-7.3(b) of the Zoning Regulations, the Board of Zoning Appeals must find the following in the granting of a variance from the zoning regulations:
- There are extraordinary and exceptional conditions pertaining to the particular piece of property;
- These conditions do not generally apply to other property in the vicinity;
- Because of these conditions, the application of the ordinance to the particular piece or property would effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict the utilization of the property; and
- The authorization of a variance will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property or to the public good, and the character of the district will not be harmed by the granting of the variance.
Please note that the board may not grant a variance the effect of which would be to allow the establishment of a use not otherwise permitted in a zoning district, to extend physically a nonconforming use of land, or to change the zoning district boundaries shown on the official zoning map. The fact that property may be utilized more profitably, should a variance be granted, may not be considered grounds for a variance.
In granting a variance, the Board may attach to it such conditions regarding the location, character, or other features of the proposed building, structure, or use as the board may consider advisable to protect established property values in the surrounding area, or to promote the public health, safety or general welfare.
Approximately one month following the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, a Variance Order will be forwarded to the applicant. This Order will explain the appeal process.