Reasons Variance Permits are Denied and How to Avoid Them

Obtaining a variance permit for property renovations can be complex and challenging. It involves breaking zoning rules, navigating paperwork, potential neighbor objections, and the influence of the local council. This article will explore why variance permits are denied and provide detailed tips on avoiding these pitfalls.

Limitations of Backyard Expansions:

Many homeowners dream of creating a backyard oasis with a swimming pool, deck, or new structure. However, they often need to pay more attention to the limitations set by the city council for such expansions. These limitations may include setback requirements, maximum height restrictions, and aesthetic considerations. Please understand and adhere to these limitations to avoid permitting denial.

Intricacies of Variance Permit Decision-Making:

The decision-making process for granting variance permits is complex. Local councils carefully consider various factors before making their decision. These factors typically include environmental impact, architectural consistency within the neighborhood, utility logistics, and potential harm to historical sites. Understanding and addressing these considerations in your permit application is crucial.

Culprits Behind Tragic Permit Demises:

There are several common reasons why variance permits are denied. These include:

Size of the proposed structure: Building structures that exceed the allowable size limits can raise concerns about overshadowing neighboring properties or altering the neighborhood’s character.

Potential environmental harm: If your project poses a risk to the local environment, such as encroaching on protected areas or affecting drainage patterns, your permit may be denied.

Historical site preservation: If your property is located in a historic district or near a historical site, proposed changes that could impact the area’s historical integrity may face strong objections.

Incomplete paperwork: Failing to provide all the necessary documentation, missing signatures, or not including required attachments can lead to an automatic denial.

Safety concerns: If your proposed renovation raises concerns such as inadequate access or potential hazards, the council may reject your permit application.

Administrative errors: Small mistakes like errors in paperwork, missed deadlines, or confusion over terminology can result in your permit being denied.

Signature discrepancies: Any inconsistencies or discrepancies in signatures on the application forms can raise doubts about the project’s legitimacy, leading to a denial.

Fee-related issues: Please pay the required fees or correctly calculate the costs to avoid a denied permit.

Administrative Errors:

Administrative errors can significantly impact the success of your permit application. Pay close attention to detail and thoroughly review the application before submission to avoid such mistakes. Double-check that you have completed all the required sections, included all necessary documents, and provided accurate information. Additionally, understand and use the correct terminology to avoid confusion.

Influence of Financial Factors:

While variance permits are primarily assessed based on their compliance with regulations, financial considerations can also come into play. Councils have budgets to manage, and projects that promise increased property tax revenue or economic growth may receive more favorable treatment. However, it is crucial to balance these factors with the long-term economic impact and potential strain on local utilities that the project may cause.

Power of Appeal:

If your permit application is denied, you can appeal the decision. To improve your chances of success, thoroughly understand the reasons for rejection, address any concerns raised, and gather support from neighbors and local businesses. However, there may come a point where it is more practical to explore alternative options or seek permit-friendly alternatives.


Dealing with the variance permit process can be overwhelming, especially for those unfamiliar with the intricacies of local regulations. PermittingPlus offers professional expertise and services to streamline the application process. They ensure thorough paperwork completion, compliance with rules, and effective communication with local councils. With PermittingPlus, applicants can increase their chances of permit approval and avoid common pitfalls.

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