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A variance makes an exception to the Zoning Code due to conditions of unreasonable hardship. Variances exist to provide flexibility in the law. This flexibility is important to make provisions for uses which apply to the strict enforcement of the regulations but will pose no substantial harm to the overall public health, safety, and welfare.
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It is recommended that you consult with the City's Planning Staff prior to making a formal application for a variance. In Middletown, the Zoning Board of Appeals can only grant bulk variances. This is because use variances tend to lead to the degradation of the Zoning Code. Therefore, in most cases, the Planning Staff will recommend to you that you seek a zone change.
The Zoning Board of Appeals must provide adequate notice prior to the required public hearing (refer to flowchart) and then hold the hearing 65 days from the day of receipt. A decision must come within 65 days of the close of the hearing and the hearing is to conclude 30 days after it commences. You and all other concerned parties have a 15 day appeal period from the day the notice of the decision appeared in the newspaper.
If the decision is a favorable one, you then should file the variance on the land variance on the land records and apply for a building permit. If it is not favorable, you may appeal the decision to the Superior Court.