Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 25, 2019

DC Appeals Court Declines to Invent New Category of “Hybrid” Variances

This post was authored by Amy Lavine, Esq.

A District of Columbia Appeals Court discussed the confusion that sometimes arises in distinguishing between use and area variances. It emphasized that the question turns on whether the restrictive regulation is a requirement affecting the location and placement of structures, or rather a requirement relating to the permissible ways in which property may be used. The court also declined to adopt any sort of “hybrid” category for projects that might share aspects of both use variances and area variances, noting that the concept of a “hybrid” variance had no real legal significance given that the zoning ordinance recognized only area and use variances. Nor was there any persuasive reason to invent a new category for such “hybrid” variances, the court explained, because even though a small subset of area variances might resemble use variances in cases where they “drastically” alter the character of a zoning district, this issue was already addressed by existing variance criteria dealing with public interest and neighborhood impacts.

Neighbors for Responsive Gov’t, LLC v. D.C. Bd. of Zoning Adjustment, 195 A.3d 35 (10/18/18).

Note: this case is discussed in more detail in a previous blog post.


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