Zoning Variance Information

Why a Variance?

  • The Warren County Zoning Ordinance contains certain regulations for the use and development of land. These regulations include setback distances from property lines, height limitations, and buffers between different types of development.
  • Since a zoning ordinance cannot provide for all situations, there are some cases where its regulations may not be appropriate. In such cases, a variance, or relaxation of the normal standards, may be appropriate.


Situations where a Variance is appropriate:

  • A stream or very steep slope may not allow the normal setback requirement to be met for a house.
  • A narrow parcel of land may not be able to provide required distances from adjoining properties and still allow for any development of the property.

Situations where a Variance is not appropriate:

  • A proposal to place a structure closer to the property line than allowed when the structure could be placed so as to meet the setback requirements.
  • A proposal to relax the requirements in order to minimize expenses for a builder.
  • The use is not allowed.

How to obtain a Variance?

  • Come to the Planning Department and talk with the Zoning Officer about your proposal. Find out if a variance is necessary and if it is appropriate to apply for a variance.
  • Complete and submit an application for a variance to the Planning Department. Forms are available at the Department and the staff will be happy to help you with your application. There is a fee required for a variance application.
  • Attend the public hearing held by the Board of Zoning Appeals on the variance. Once your application is submitted, the staff will schedule a public hearing for your application. You will be notified of the time and place of hearing, as will adjoining property owners. Comments on the application will be welcomed. The Board of Zoning Appeals will make the final decision on the application. The staff will officially notify you of the final decision.


  (540) 636-4600
  (540) 636-6066
  220 N. Commerce Avenue
     Front Royal, VA 22630

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