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Subdivision Variances

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The Chatham County Subdivision Regulations are intended to protect and serve the public good. To do so, they generally need to be applied universally and consistently. But sometimes, because of extraordinary conditions peculiar to a particular property, carrying out the strict letter of a subdivision regulation would allow no reasonable subdivision of that property. To avoid the unjust and unnecessary imposition of such an extreme hardship on the owner of the property, the Chatham County Subdivision Regulations provide a "safety valve."  In Section 1.13, the Subdivision Regulations authorize the Planning Board to recommend variances to the Board of Commissioners so that substantial justice may be done and the public interest secured, provided that such variance shall not have the effect of nullifying the intent and purpose of the Subdivision Regulations.  The Board of Commissioners may require such conditions as will, in its judgement, secure substantially the objectives of the standards or requirements of the Subdivision Regulations.    

In order to grant a variance, the Board of Commissioners shall make the following findings:

  1. That there are special circumstances or conditions affecting said property such that the strict application of the provisions of the Subdivision Regulations would deprive the applicant of the reasonable use of his/her land. 
  2. That the variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right of the petitioner. 
  3. That the circumstances giving rise to the need for the variance are peculiar to the parcel and are not generally characteristic of other parcels in the jurisdiction of the County. 
  4. That the granting of the variance will not be detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare or injurious to other property in the territory in which said property is situated. 

Subdivision Variance Procedure 
Click here for submission dates.

  1. A variance application must be submitted to the Planning Department at least 23 days prior to a Planning Board meeting.   
  2. The application will be reviewed by the Technical Review Committee prior to the Planning Board meeting. 
  3. Notice will be sent to adjoining property owners at least 14 days prior to the date of the Planning Board meeting. 
  4. The Planning Board will review the application and forward a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. 
  5. The Board of Commissioners will review the application and either approve the variance, approve the variance with conditions, or deny the variance. 

Subdivision Variance Application Fee: $100
Variance Request Application

Subdivision Applications, Checklists and Guidelines are also available on the Subdivision Applications & Materials page.

For more information about Subdivision Variances, please contact the Subdivision Administrator:
Kimberly Tyson
(919) 542-8283