Variance Request

*BZA FEES UPDATE*

Effective June 14, 2024

Ordinance No. 29940 MCS 

See updated fees here.

*POLICY CHANGE*

VARIANCE APPLICATION PRE-APPLICATION REQUIREMENT

Effective May 10, 2024, at 5:01 pm*

Beginning May 10, 2024, at 5:01 pm, all prospective variance applicants** must first file a building permit application with the Department of Safety and Permits and obtain a zoning review specifying needed variances prior to submitting a variance application to the Board of Zoning Adjustments.

Variance applications that have not fulfilled this pre-application requirement will be considered incomplete and will be rejected, in accordance with Article 3, Section 3.2.B of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. Variance applications will not be docketed until this step has been completed and the variance application re-submitted in complete form to the City Planning Commission staff. Complete applications will be docketed in accordance with the adopted docketing schedule.

*The start of the filing period for the Board of Zoning Adjustments' July 15, 2024 hearing

Apply for a Permit 

**This policy applies only to applications in which the work necessitating the variance(s) would require a building permit. The Executive Director may modify this pre-application requirement as appropriate given the nature of the proposal.

Variance Application Form

Board of Zoning Adjustments Application Form

A variance, or waiver, is an exception from a requirement or standard in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. A variance may only be granted when the request meets all nine approval standards, including the existence of a non-financial hardship. Variances are not designed for matters of convenience. The Board of Zoning Adjustments hears variance requests related to permitted uses. Variance requests related to conditional uses are decided by City Council.

In compliance with the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and applicable state laws, the City of New Orleans, through its reasonable accommodation process, hears requests for exceptions from the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance as they relate to housing for individuals with disabilities.

Meeting Schedule & Deadlines

2024 Docketing Schedule and Deadlines

A completed application with all required information and attachments (per the application form) must be submitted in-person or via email to CPCinfo@nola.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. on the filing deadline day. Applications are subject to a completeness review within 10 days of submittal and will only be docketed if complete. Incomplete applications will not be docketed until all required materials are submitted. Applications completed after the established docketing deadline will be docketed for the next available meeting based on the adopted docketing schedule

Fees

  • Single- and two-family dwellings: $250
  • Small multi-family/townhouse dwellings (3-6 units): $250
  • Large multi-family/townhouse dwellings (7+ units): $750
  • Non-residential/mixed-use buildings and uses:
    • 0-4,999 square feet of gross floor area: $300
    • 5,000-24,999 square feet of gross floor area: $750
    • 25,000 + square feet of gross floor area: $1,000
  • Accessory, including structures, signs, and lot dimension variances: $250
  • Subdivision-related variances: Base fee + $25 for each proposed lot
  • Extension Requests:
    • Administrative: $100
    • Non-Administrative: An amount equal to 50% of original fee
  • Rehearing: An amount equal to 50% of original fee

Acceptable forms of in-person payment include: Checks, Cashier’s Checks, Money Orders, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.

Please make all checks and money orders payable to City of New Orleans.

Required Documents/Steps

  1. Apply for a building permit with the Department of Safety and Permits and obtain a zoning review (provided as part of permit application review) specifying exactly what variances are necessary for your project (required). 
  2. Have a pre-application meeting or phone call with Board of Zoning Adjustments staff to discuss the variance application procedure, requirements, including whether the Neighborhood Participation Program is required, etc. No appointment is required. Contact (504) 658-7033, CPCinfo@nola.gov, or visit 1340 Poydras Street, 8th Floor, and request the planner on duty (optional)
  3. Complete the Neighborhood Participation Program process, if applicable.
    Note: Single- and two-family variance projects are exempt; all other variance projects must have an NPP). 
  4. File a complete application with all required attachments by emailing CPCinfo@nola.gov or visiting 1340 Poydras Street, 8th Floor and asking for the planner on duty. Applicants are strongly encouraged to file well in advance of the deadline to allow time to resolve any deficiencies prior to the filing deadline. 
    Note: Beginning May 10, 2024, at 5:01 pm, all prospective variance applicants* must first file a building permit application with the Department of Safety and Permits and obtain a zoning review specifying needed variances prior to submitting a variance application to the Board of Zoning Adjustments.
    *This policy applies only to applications in which the work necessitating the variance(s) would require a building permit. The Executive Director may modify this pre-application requirement as appropriate given the nature of the proposal.
    Board of Zoning Adjustments Regular Meeting Schedule & Deadlines
  5. Board of Zoning Adjustments staff have ten (10) days to review your application for completeness. They may request additional information in order to mark the application “complete” and schedule it for the corresponding BZA meeting. 
    Note: Applications that are incomplete as of 5:00 pm on the filing deadline will not be docketed for the upcoming Board of Zoning Adjustments meeting. An application will not be docketed until all deficiencies, as identified by BZA staff during the official completeness review, have been addressed and the application deemed complete following a completeness re-review. Once complete, an application will be docketed for the next available meeting date.
  6. Board of Zoning Adjustments staff will notify you when your application has been deemed complete and will provide instructions to pay application fees and post signage.  
  7. Board of Zoning Adjustments staff will notify you when your application has been docketed and assigned to a city planner for review.
  8. The official journal of record will publish notice of the request, and Board of Zoning Adjustments staff will mail notification postcards to nearby property owners and residents.
  9. The city planner assigned to your case will prepare a report and recommendation, which will be made available to you and the public on the Wednesday prior to the hearing.
    Note: The staff report contains the recommendation. The Board will make the final decision.
  10. The Board will hear your request at the first available BZA meeting after the application is marked “complete.”
    Note: Meetings are held the third Monday of every month in City Council Chambers at City Hall unless otherwise noticedCLICK HERE FOR MEETING SCHEDULE and DEADLINES. Applicants or their representative should plan to attend the meeting to support their request(s).
  11. The Board will take action on your application (note: in some cases, the Board may choose to defer an application to a subsequent meeting if they are requesting plan revisions or additional information). Within ten (10) days of the Board’s final action at the meeting, BZA staff will send you a written record, or resolution, of the Board’s action.
    • When a variance is approved, the Board may assign conditions, or provisos, to the approval. You must meet the conditions within one (1) year, prior to obtaining a building permit or certificate of occupancy from the Department of Safety and Permits. If you do not meet these conditions within one (1) year, or if you do not request an extension in writing within that time, the approval expires.
    • When a variance request for an “after the fact” situation is denied, you have thirty (30) days to bring the violation into compliance.
  12. You or any other aggrieved party may appeal the Board’s decision to Civil District Court within thirty (30) days of the date on the resolution. You cannot appeal the Board’s decisions to the City Council.
  13. Approvals expire one (1) year from the date of approval unless a building permit is obtained and substantial construction is started or the use is commenced within one (1) year, or unless an extension is requested within that time period. Please email your planner by that date to request an extension is needed.

TIP: Check the status of a case on the One Stop App.

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