What is a Variance?

Variances are a relaxation of the terms of the Zoning By-Laws where such variance will not be contrary to the public interest or nullify or substantially derogate from the intent of the Zoning By-Laws and where, owing to circumstances relating to the soil conditions, shape, or topography of such land or structures but not affecting generally the zoning district in which it is located and not the result of any  action or inaction of the owner or applicant, a literal enforcement of the Zoning By-Laws would involve substantial hardship, financial or otherwise to the petitioner or appellant.  Establishment or expansion of a use or activity otherwise prohibited (i.e. a use variance) shall not be allowed by variance.  Conditions, safeguards and limitations of both time and use may be applied.  Every variance must be duly recorded before it expires in order to take effect.