Board Of Adjustment

Variance Process & Requirements

1. DETERMINE IF A VARIANCE IS REQUIRED:

Contact the Planning & Development Division to discuss your variance request. 

County Services Building
1101 East First Street, Room 2028, Sanford, Florida 32771
Telephone: (407) 665-7371
E-mail: plandesk@seminolecountyfl.gov

2. APPLICATION SUBMISSION:

Once you have determined that a variance is required and that you have a qualifying hardship to obtain a variance, you will need to submit a completed variance application packet with the required fee to the Planning and Development Division by the variance application deadline.

Variance Application Packet
2019 Board of Adjustment Calendar

3. INTAKE PROCESS:

After receipt of your complete application packet and fee, your variance request will be scheduled to go before the Board of Adjustment. If an application is found to be incomplete, staff will contact you to request revisions or additional information. Please note that an incomplete application may cause your request to be scheduled for the following meeting.

4. PUBLIC NOTIFICATION:

The public will be notified of your variance request before the Board through several methods:

  • NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT - Approximately two (2) week prior to the meeting, staff will advertise the public hearing for publication in the Orlando Sentinel. 
  • NOTICES MAILED TO NEIGHBORING PROPERTY OWNERS - No less than ten (10) days prior to the meeting, staff will mail a notice to each abutting property owner.
  • PLACARD - Staff will prepare an 11” x 17” public notice placard for the applicant or their represenative to post on the property. Staff will contact you when it ready to be picked up in our office and the date that the placard must be posted by. Placards are required to be posted at least fifteen (15) days before the Board of Adjustment meeting. Upon pick up of the placard, you will be informed of the posting requirements and provided with an affidavit of posting that must be returned to our office before the meeting. The placard must be posted in a conspicuous location on the property within fifteen (15) feet of the front property line, where it must remain until after the meeting. Maintenance of the placard shall be the responsibility of the applicant.  Failure to comply may result in a minimum delay of thirty (30) days with additional costs for advertising.

THE BOARD CANNOT CONSIDER AN APPLICATION UNLESS ALL PUBLIC NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS HAVE BEEN MET.

5. REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION:

Staff will review your variance request and will prepare a written staff report and recommendation for consideration by the Board of Adjustment. The report presents factual information concerning the request based on existing circumstances, consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code, including future & existing land use, zoning, traffic and environmental impacts, public services availability, etc.

The meeting agenda, along with the staff report and other documents, are available online approximately one (1) week prior to the Board of Adjustment meeting. 

6. BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MEETING:

The Board of Adjustment generally meets on the fourth (4th) Monday of each month, except in May, November and December (see calendar in step 2 above for actual dates). The Board meets in the Board Chambers (Room 1028) at 6:00 p.m. on the first floor of the Seminole County Services Building, located at 1101 East First Street, Sanford, Florida 32771. 

The applicant or their authorized representative* must appear at the meeting in order to present the request. Presentations should be brief and include information such as impacts to adjacent properties, visibilty from streets and other properties, and design information. Staff will make the initial presentation, followed by the applicant, any public comment, and then the Board of Adjustment will discuss and vote to approve or deny the variance request.  The Board may also continue a request, as needed.  

Prior Board of Adjustment meeting videos are available online. If you are unfamiliar with the Board of Adjustment, it is recommended that you watch a video of the most recent meeting to familiarize yourself with the process. 

*If a representative is appointed, we require an owner authorization form be completed and expect that the represenative be familiar with the request and be able to make statements and commitments on behalf of the applicant.

7. POST HEARING:

After the hearing, staff will e-mail the applicant a letter stating the outcome of the request with information regarding the date within which the decision can be appealed by anyone who wishes to do so. There is a fifteen (15) calendar day appeal period to which the decision of the Board of Adjustment can be appealed to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). During the appeal period, no permits incorporating the decision of the Board of Adjustment will be issued. To appeal, a letter must be submitted to the Planning and Development Division stating the grounds for appeal along with the appropriate fee. The appeal will then be scheduled to be heard by the BCC.

FAQ's

What is the Board of Adjustment?
The Seminole County Board of Adjustment (BOA) is a group of seven volunteers consisting of five (5) regular members and two (2) alternate members, appointed by the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners (BCC). The Board is empowered to hear and decide variance requests.

What is a variance?
A variance is a waiver from the requirements of the Land Development Code, where specific enforcement would result in unnecessary hardship to a property owner. Seeking a variance is asking for a reduction to the established limits or restrictions of the Seminole County Land Development Code.The variance requested should be the minimum variance that would make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure. As defined in the Land Development Code: As used in connection with the provisions of this act dealing with zoning, a variance is a relaxation of the terms of the zoning ordinance where such variance will not be contrary to the public interest and where, owing to conditions peculiar to the property and not the result of the actions of the applicant, a literal enforcement of the ordinance would result in unnecessary and undue hardship. As used in this act a variance is authorized only for height, area, and size of structure, or size of yards and open spaces. Establishment or expansion of a use otherwise prohibited shall not be allowed by variance, nor shall a variance be granted because of the presence of nonconformities in the zoning district or classification or adjoining zoning districts or classifications.  

What is a setback? 
A setback is a standard established by zoning district or other regulation that states how far from a property line certain types of structures must be placed.  Setbacks are established for a particular yard or use in a yard: for example, a side yard setback which establishes the location of the side of a house, a rear yard setback that locates where you would place a shed, or a setback that locates where you might put a pool.

What is a hardship?
If some special circumstance makes it very difficult for a particular project to meet the Land Development Code, a hardship may be established. A hardship generally occurs when the physical characteristics of a property are such that it cannot be used for any purpose permitted by County Codes.  A hardship may be created by the surroundings, shape or topographical conditions particular to that specific property.  However, the hardship cannot be self-imposed, or the result of the property owner’s own action. To grant variances due to special conditions, where a literal enforcement Chapter 30 of the Seminole County Land Development Code will result in unnecessary and undue hardship, the Board of Adjustment must first determine:

  • there is a special condition and circumstance that exists that does not apply to most, similar properties in the same zoning district;
  • the granting of the variance would not result in any special privilege that is denied to other lands, buildings, or structures in the same zoning district;
  • the special condition and circumstance does not result from the actions of the applicant;
  • the special condition and circumstance causes some hardship or practical difficulty if the variance is not granted;
  • without the variance, the subject will be denied a right enjoyed by owners of similar property;
  • the variance is the minimum variance that would make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure;
  • the variance won't harm the neighbors;
  • the variance is in harmony with the the general intent of the SCLDC Chapter 30.