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A variance is an approved deviation from the terms of the Land Development Code. If you have been notified that you require a variance for your project, it means that you do not meet certain zoning requirements (i.e. - setbacks, lot coverage, parking, etc.) and have to prove that the literal enforcement of the provisions of the Land Development Code would result in undue and unnecessary hardship.
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All new non-residential projects and any residential project of three or more dwelling units require Development Plan approval (PDF). The Planning Division ensures that development or site plans are in compliance with the requirements of the Land Development Code. They also coordinate the site plan review process with other departments.
A conditional use is a use that is generally not compatible with other land uses permitted in a particular zoning district, but which may be allowed after an individual review to ensure the appropriateness of the use in that particular location. Only those uses which are authorized as conditional uses in Article VII of the Land Development Code may be approved.
The only exemptions to the development plan approval process are additions to existing buildings and construction of one and two-family dwellings.