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KRS Chapter 100
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Zoning Ordinance

Procedures for Variance Requests

What is a variance?
Kentucky Revised Statute 100.111(24) defines a variance as "... a departure from dimensional terms of the zoning regulation pertaining to the height, width, or location of structures, and the size of yards and open spaces..."

A variance applies to the property for which it is granted and not to the applicant. A variance runs with the land and is transferable to any future owner of the land. It cannot be transferred by the applicant to a different site.

Who grants variances?
The City-County Board of Adjustments (BOA) has the power to hear and decide on applications for variances. The Board may impose conditions or restrictions on any variance it grants.

Before the BOA grants a variance, it must find all of the following:

  1. That the requested variance arises from special circumstances that do not generally apply to land in the general vicinity, or in the same zoning district;
  2. That the strict application of the provisions of the regulation would deprive the applicant of a reasonable use of the land or would create an unnecessary hardship on the applicant
  3. That such a special circumstance are not the result of actions of the applicant taken after the adoption of the zoning regulation; and,
  4. That reasons that the variance will not adversely affect the public health, safety, and welfare and will not alter the essential character of the general vicinity, and will not cause a hazard or a nuisance to the public.

If approved, the above findings are recorded, in addition to any imposed conditions or restrictions, in the Board's minutes and records and issued in written form to the applicant to constitute proof of variance. 

The BOA does not possess the power to grant a variance to permit a use of any land, building, or structure that is not permitted by the Zoning Ordinance in the zoning district in question or to alter density requirements in the zoning district in question.

What are the steps for obtaining a variance?
Step #1
The owner or applicant meets with BOA staff to discuss the variance request and procedures and to obtain a variance application.

Step #2
The applicant completes the application and includes the following supporting documentation:

  1. A survey prepared by a licensed land surveyor and showing lot depth, width, street frontage, location of all existing buildings, ingress/egress, and with a a dotted line, the proposed building(s) and distances from the property;
  2. Names and mailing addresses of adjoining property owners as listed in the PVA office; and,
  3. Fee as established by the Planning Commission

Step #3
Applicant submits the application and accompanying documents to the BOA staff on or before the filing deadline date.

Step #4
The staff reviews the application and accompanying documents, advertises the variance request in the local newspaper, notifies all adjoining property owners by certified letter, prepares location maps, photographs the property, and prepares packets for all BOA members.

Step #5

The Board of Adjustments meets at Bowling Green City Hall, second floor, 1001 College Street, at 5:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month.

Step #6
If approved, the staff then records a land use certificate and the variance in the office of the Warren County Court Clerk's office.

If disapproved, the applicant may appeal the Board's decision in Warren Circuit Court within thirty (30) days of the public hearing date.




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City-County Planning Commission of Warren County
Ph: (270) 842-1953  Fax: (270) 842-1282
1141 State Street, Bowling Green, KY 42101