Request a Zoning Variance

Hartford Zoning Map

The zoning board of appeals may grant a variance to grant relief to a property owner from strict compliance with the provisions of the zoning regulations. The intent of a variance is not to simply remove an inconvenience or financial burden that may result from compliance with applicable zoning requirements. Variances are intended to help alleviate an exceptional difficulty or unusual hardship that would result from literal enforcement of the subject zoning requirements. Variances are intended to provide relief when the requirements of these zoning regulations render property very difficult or impossible to put to reasonable use because of some unique or special characteristics of the property itself.

In accordance with 1.3.6.E(5) of the Zoning Regulations, the zoning board of appeals may not issue a variance for any of the following new or expanded principal uses (or for any such use as an accessory use) or conditions:(a) Automobile fueling and limited service in any DT, MS-1, MS-2, MX, NX, or N district; (b) Automobile service/car wash in any DT, MS-1, MS-2, MX, NX, or N district; (c) Methadone or drug rehabilitation clinic in any DT, MS, MX, NX, or N district; (d) Roominghouse/boardinghouse in any DT, MS, MX, NX, or N district:  (e) Temporary shelter facility in any MX, NX, or N district; (f) Outdoor sales lot in any NX or N district; (g) Pawn shop/check cashing establishment in any MS, MX, NX, or N district; (h)Small cell nodes in any MS, MX, NX, or N district; (i) Any of the uses prohibited in 3.2.5; (j) Parking in front of buildings; (k) Quantity of trees per 6.4; or (l) Stormwater requirements per 6.14.



The Department of Development Services uses the Accela portal to accept all Planning and Zoning applications. Please create an account to submit applications.

After logging on, you should be able to "Select a Record Type" for the applicable application. To view existing applications and check their status, please select "My Records".

To request a variance please choose the “Other Services” Record Group and select the “Variance” Record Type from the dropdown list. 

Planning & Zoning Application Portal

**If you are not sure which option to select, email with a basic description of your project and your question(s)**



Applications must be submitted with supporting documents in order to begin the review process. If the application is not submitted by the owner of record directly, owner authorization is required for the application to be accepted. 

Costs of permits vary based upon permit type. If more than one permit is required, the cost is the total of all applicable fees. Fees must be paid at time of application.

Applicants will be notified if the submittal is deemed incomplete. Correspondence will include the list of documents or fees that are required to proceed. If outstanding documents have not been received after 65 days, the incomplete application will be denied. A new application must be submitted to continue the request.


Applicants will be notified once all supporting documents and fees have been received by intake staff. The application will then be transferred to Plan Reviewers for processing.

Review Types:

  • Administrative Reviews: Certain types are permitted "by-right". This means they are permitted in the corresponding district without conditions. Although these requests are permitted, they still require going through the plan review process as the form-based code specifics design details which must be followed.

    Applications undergoing administrative review may take up to 35 days to process, depending on the type of request.

  • Commission Reviews: The Table of Principal Uses in the Zoning Regulations may indicate that a use is permitted by special permit, which can only be granted by the Planning and Zoning Commission. Likewise, demolition requests and changes in material of properties in historic districts must be heard by the Historic Commission, and applicants seeking an exception from the Zoning Regulations must appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals. These meetings provide opportunity for the public to formally comment before a decision is made. 

Per Connecticut General Statute (state law), public hearings must be opened within 65 days of receipt of a complete application. Staff will be in contact to schedule the public hearing date. 


  • In order to approve a variance request, the Variance Board must find that: 1) the proposal is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan; 2) the proposal is in harmony with the purposes and intent of the zoning ordinances; 3) the proposal puts the subject property to use in a reasonable manner; 4) there are unique circumstances to the property which were not created by the landowner; and 5) the variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality.
  • After the close of the public hearing, the zoning board of appeals must act to approve the requested variance, approve the variance with modification and/or conditions, or deny the variance.
  • The zoning board of appeals must make specific finding of fact and specifically state the nature of the finding and specific evidence providing the same.
  • The zoning board of appeals must also find that granting of the variance will be in harmony with the purposes and intent of these zoning regulations, and will not be injurious to the neighborhood or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare.

For commission level reviews, public noticing is required. The conditions and requirements of the public notice may vary depending on the commission that will hear the request. Staff will take care of all legal noticing. Applicants will be responsible for contacting abutting property owners and putting up public hearing signs. Public Hearing Signs are provided by the Planning Division with a $50 refundable deposit.


No decision is final until a permit or notice recorded by the Town Clerk’s Office is issued. Note that after a Commission Hearing a Notice of Decision must first be published in the newspaper. Note as well that applications are subject to appeal periods after a decision is made.

If your request is denied, you have the right to appeal. If you are a party that is aggrieved by a decision that was made you ALSO have the right to appeal. Administrative Appeals are heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals. To file for an appeal visit the “File An Appeal” page.