What are variances?

If a property owner feels that one or more zoning standards impose an unnecessary physical hardship due to the property’s unique size, shape, topography, location, or other physical condition, the owner may request to be excused from strictly complying with that requirement. This request is called a variance (because the owner desires to “vary” from the rule(s) that usually apply). The City’s Zoning and Development Code (FMC 30-202 and 30-213) defines how a variance can be used. Variances are not granted without serious deliberation. When deciding to grant a variance, decision-makers (either the Director of Planning, for a “Minor Variance,” or the Planning Commission) must make written findings explaining why a variance is, or is not, justified. These explanations must be backed up with facts that also become part of the written record of the decision. Financial hardship, community benefit, or the worthiness of the project is not a consideration. Also, a property owner cannot be granted a variance simply because they do not want to comply with a particular development standard. Additionally, a variance cannot be used to allow a land use that is not otherwise allowed in the zoning district that the property is located. Prior to filing for a Variance, Fontana Municipal Code (FMC) Section 30-204 and 30-215 requires a “Pre-Application” conference with City staff. Please call the Planning Department at (909) 350-6718 or via email for more information.

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1. How do I find out the status of my Planning application?
2. What is a General Plan or Specific Plan Amendment?
3. How do I look up the zoning for my property?
4. Where is the Planning Case Fee Schedule?
5. What are variances?
6. How do I change the zoning of my property?
7. How do I subdivide my property?
8. What is a Pre Application Meeting or “PAM” and why is it required?
9. Can I build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU)?