Zoning Variance

What is a Variance?

A variance is an exception to a requirement(s) of the zoning code, usually granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). Most people applying to the Monona ZBA are requesting an "area variance" for minor changes in setbacks, minimum lot size requirements, height, bulk, and other dimensional standards. A variance can only be granted when a property owner presents a unique and unusual hardship created by the physical characteristics of the land. To obtain a variance, the applicant must prove:

  • That the granting of the variance will not be contrary to the public interest.
  • Special circumstance exist which would cause "unnecessary hardship" if the zoning code were to be strictly enforced.

About the Variance Process

The City of Monona Code requires that all variance applications be heard by the ZBA and meet the public hearing requirements, which include mailings to adjacent property owners and a legal advertisement in the newspaper. The adjacent property owners are notified by mail of the date, time, and location of these hearings.  Applications are due four weeks prior to the meeting date. 

Applicants should arrive on time and be prepared to give a brief, concise explanation of what they want to do and why they should receive to the relief they are seeking. Certain supporting materials are required to be submitted with the application along with a $250.00 non-refundable fee. Variances are only allowed under strict circumstances and the burden of proof is on the applicants to show that specific criteria are met. The ZBA will make its decision based on the evidence presented before it and in accordance with City Ordinances and State Statutes. Decisions are generally made at the meeting when the request is made.  

The Zoning Administrator is available to assist applicants throughout the variance application process. For more information download a Variance Information and Application Form and contact the Planning Department at 608-222-2525.