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Zoning Variances

Variances are relief from the Town’s Zoning Ordinance and are granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals in accordance with NYS Town Law 267 (‘Town Law”).  Town Law establishes the following criteria for granting of variances.

Use Variance

A Use Variance is a granting of relief to allow a use not otherwise allowed under the Zoning Ordinance.

A Use Variance application must demonstrate, to the Zoning Board of Appeals, an unnecessary hardship.  Demonstration of such hardship includes responses to the following criteria.  Responses must address each and every permitted use listed, under current zoning, for the property in question.

  1. Can a reasonable return be realized if the land is used as zoned?  If the answer is no, this claim must be substantiated by competent financial evidence.
  2. Is the alleged hardship unique to the property in question?
  3. Will the requested variance, if granted, alter the essential character of the neighborhood?
  4. Is the alleged hardship self-created?

Area Variance

An Area Variance is a granting of relief from the dimensional requirements of the zoning ordinance.  An area variance is heard where lot size, width, setbacks, number and size of structures, etc. are involved.  Relief from requirements of the Sign Ordinance for the Town of Queensbury can be applied for in the same manner.

An Area Variance application must address the balance between the benefit to the applicant versus the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood, should the variance be granted.  The Zoning Board of Appeals must consider the following criteria when “balancing” the request for relief.

  1. Will granting this variance produce an undesirable change in character or a detriment to the neighborhood?
  2. Can the benefit sought by the applicant be gained by any other feasible alternatives?
  3. Is the relief requested substantial to the Ordinance requirements?
  4. Will the relief requested have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district?
  5. Is the relief requested a result of a self-created difficulty?