Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Zoning Variance Tip

Yesterday, Shira attended an Arlington County Zoning Board Hearing to help persuade the county to allow us some wiggle room to build our deck. While I'd love to have been there to witness our local government in action, someone had to stay home with the little one and program.

While Shira relayed all the details about the hearing to me (some via SMS, some via Google Talk, and others later in the night when she got home), the most useful insight she actually text'ed me before the meeting even got underway.

So here it is, my one and only zoning variance tip. Are you sitting down?

If you're planning to apply for a variance, and have never done so in the area you live in, be sure to attend the zoning hearing for the month before you're supposed to appear.

In hindsight, attending a meeting where you aren't expected to defend your variance is obvious. It will familiarize yourself with the process and players, let you know what you should and shouldn't say, and will help you show up prepared.

Even though we didn't follow this advice - Shira still managed to prevail! We've got the variance we needed. The next step? Get a use permit. And then, if all goes as planned, we should be able build the deck we've been talking about adding for the last 7 years.

What can I say, the wheels of home improvement grind slowly.

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