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Your neighbor wants a zoning variance: Can you stop it?

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2021 | Real Estate Law

You love your neighborhood. While you aren’t averse to progress or change, there are some changes you’d rather not see. 

For example, the idea of your neighbors getting a variance that will allow them to build a chicken coop in their backyard or turn their Victorian home into a bed and breakfast could be a bit too much. You may have legitimate concerns about what kind of noise (and smell) will come from all the chickens, and you may be concerned about the B&B attracting too much traffic or too many strange people. 

What can you do? You object. You have as much right to object to a zoning variance as your neighbor has to request one in the first place. 

Where do you start if you want to object to a variance request? 

You’ll probably first learn about the variance request through a letter from the municipality’s zoning office. Review the notice carefully for information about: 

  •     The location of the property involved
  •     The exact nature of the request
  •     The current zoning laws that apply to the property
  •     The time limits to file any paperwork on written objections
  •     The time and date of any public hearing on the issue 

The more information you have, the easier it will be to articulate the basis of your objections. You can also decide whether you object to the entire request or just part of it. If it’s just part of the request, you may be able to propose a compromise agreement. 

You can make objections to a zoning variance request on your own, but it’s often wisest to have experienced representation when you make your case. A well-planned objection is more likely to be successful.