Hardship Building Variances
The Comprehensive Land Development Resolution was created with the long-term benefit of the residents of Habersham County in mind. However, at times, owing to special circumstances, a decision based on a literal interpretation of the Resolution may cause unnecessary hardship. What can be done to provide relief in such cases?
Within 60 days after the decision has been made, an application (appeal) for a variance, specifying the grounds for the request, may be filed. A variance is a request or appeal that the Comprehensive Land Development Resolution requirements be waived or modified for one particular situation involving one building, structure, and/or parcel of land. It is not a request to change the Resolution itself. There are three stages to the variance process:
To be approved, variances must meet seven conditions as outlined in the resolution. Therefore, applications must be made through the Planning Department, whose job it is to determine if the seven conditions below apply in that particular situation.
After a thorough review of the application, the Planning Commission (a board specializing in planning and zoning issues) formulates a recommendation to give to the Board of Commissioners (the governing body authorized to make the final decision in the case).
During the hearing before the Commissioners, the recommendation is presented, all assenting or dissenting views (if any) are taken into consideration, and any necessary discussion of the matter takes place. Then a decision is made to approve or disapprove the variance or table it for later consideration. If it is approved, additional conditions or modifications may be imposed by the governing body.
Although the variance process may take several weeks from application to decision, the time may be well worth it to someone who would suffer unnecessary hardship without this help.
For more information, see The Planning Commission.