“Working with a well-written set of architectural guidelines and applying them consistently can help to relieve headaches for boards and ACC Committees.”
It is really vexing when….
Some examples where a variance may be justified:
Fence Setback Variances are granted for unique circumstances. Some association guidelines require that all fences be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the front corner of the home. Variances are reasonably granted when the owner physically cannot put the fence at the 10 ft mark because of some structure or physical feature of the house (windows at ten-foot mark, A/C Units, etc.)
Large Canopy Tree Variance: Many Associations or subdivisions require the owner to have at least one large canopy tree, and sometimes more, in the front yard. Committees may approve variances to allow a smaller canopy tree or ornamental if the lot cannot physically support the requiredlarge canopy tree. Most often you see this in very small lots.
On the other hand, it’s appropriate to deny a variance request when the situation is not unique as these examples might indicate:
A precedent of approving a questionable variance will open the door to more requests and headaches! Variances should be used only when the situation is unique and can be justified. Put the reason for the variance in writing!
Walter L. Anderson
Architect; Dallas, TX