The Zoning code assures you and your neighbors that
any new development or design changes to your or
adjacent properties will not adversely affect your
enjoyment and use of your or your neighbor’s
property. Any changes to existing zoning requirements
prepared by a building architect need a careful review
of all factors to protect you and your neighbors [City
If your proposed project can not meet
the existing zoning code requirements for
yard size or
setbacks due to the physical surroundings
and shape or topography of the property,
you may apply for a zoning variance.
Under some circumstances a zoning
variance may be possible.
To obtain a zoning variance, you must establish that
to meet the existing zoning requirements would be a
hardship or practical difficulty.
1. There are conditions unique to the property of the applicant that do not apply generally to other properties in the district.
2. The variance is not contrary to the spirit, purpose, and intent of the regulations in the zoning district and is not contrary to the public interest.
3. For a use variance, compliance with the strict letter of the ordinance will result in no reasonable use of the property.
4. For an area variance, compliance with the strict letter of the ordinance would unreasonably prevent use of the property for a permitted purpose or would render compliance with the ordinance unnecessarily burdensome.
5. The alleged difficulty or hardship is created by the terms of the ordinance rather than by a person who has a present interest in the property.
6. The proposed variance shall not create substantial detriment to adjacent property.
7. The proposed variance shall be compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.
8. In the floodplain districts, the variance shall not cause any increase in the regional flood elevations or profiles, permit a lower degree of flood protection in the floodplain than the flood elevation, allow any floor, basement or crawlway below the regional flood elevation, allow actions without the required amendments nor have the effect of allowing or expanding a use or building which is prohibited in the zoning district.
9. In the floodplain districts, the lot for which the variance is requested, shall be less than one-half (1/2) acre and shall be contiguous to existing structures constructed below the regional flood elevation.
10. In floodplain districts, the variance shall not increase costs for rescue and relief efforts.
Discuss with Zoning staff
Meet with the Zoning staff before submitting your
application. Zoning staff can review your project and
discuss the likelihood of obtaining a zoning variance.
Find out the zoning for your property
Where to go:
Department of Planning and Community & Economic Development
Madison Municipal Building
215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite LL 100
Madison, WI 53703
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Submit Zoning Variance Application
Submit your zoning variance application packet to the
What to include:
- A completed application form
- Two (2) copies of the present and proposed
building elevation, floor plan and site plan drawn
- The $300 non-refundable fee payable to the City
of Madison Treasurer.
Zoning Board of Appeals Public Hearing
Zoning staff schedules a public hearing before the
Zoning Board of Appeals. Notice of the hearing is
sent to the applicant, the alderperson, and the owners
and residents of all property within 200 feet of the proposed variance. The hearing notice is also
published three times in the local newspaper. It is
important that you attend and give testimony at this
hearing (See Applicant Letter).
The Zoning Board of Appeals makes the final decision
on a zoning variance request. It may also impose
conditions and restrictions to protect the interests of
all parties. You may appeal through the courts if
your variance is denied.
If your variance request is approved,
you can apply for the necessary
Related Forms & Handouts
- (608) 266-4551