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Variances may be considered as follows:

Permit the reconstruction of a nonconforming building that has been damaged to the extent of more than 50 % of its replacement cost
Waive or reduce certain parking requirements
Waive or reduce certain landscaping and vegetation requirements
Waive or reduce certain regulations that apply to advertising signs.

Application to pursue a variance must be made on a form provided by the city accompanied by a fee for processing. Depending upon the type of variance request, the application may be reviewed by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (Z.B.O.A). and Appeals in a public hearing or by the Board of Commissioners.

A sign variance may be considered by the Board of Commissioners upon application 21 days in advance of a scheduled meeting. The application must be accompanied by the applicable non-refundable processing fee.

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Example of Front Setback Variance


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Example of Side Setback Variance


Complete "Application to Appeal to Zoning Board of Adjustment to McAllen Zoning Ordinance" and file with the Planning Department 21 days prior to a Z.B.O.A. meeting.

The application must include the processing fee, owner authorization and property survey. A metes and bounds description is required for un-subdivided properties.

Planning staff notifies all property owners within 200 feet of proposed rezoning 10 days prior to public hearing and advertises notice in newspaper 15 days prior to hearing.

Planning staff conducts field survey and reviews variance request with McAllen Comprehensive Plan and intent of applicable city ordinances.

Z.B.O.A. conducts a public hearing to present the staff recommendation and record neighborhood and applicant comments.

The applicant may request a full board to consider the request since 6 of the 7 members are required to grant a special exception or variance. The applicant may withdraw applications at any time, upon written request to the city. An applicant may appeal the decisions of the Z.B.O.A. to District Court.


What is a variance?

A variance or a special exception is permission to depart from a specific code or regulation as it applies to development.

When is a variance needed?

A variance may be sought when the literal enforcement of a provision of the regulations will result in an unnecessary hardship and the granting of a variance is not merely a convenience to the applicant.

Who approves a variance or special exception?

The Zoning Board of Adjustment and Appealsact on such requests. The request requires a public hearing.

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