How Are Administrative Variances Handled?
Administrative variances can be granted for certain requests that involve fences and walls located either in a front yard or in the public right-of-way and for guardrails located in a front yard. They differ from regular variances only in the manner in which they are processed. Rather than the Town Council deciding on the request following a public hearing, the Mayor and Town Manager decide whether to grant an administrative variance. A variance can only be approved administratively if no objection to the approval of the variance is filed with the Town during a 15 day public comment period. If an objection to the approval of the variance is filed, the variance is required to be considered at a public hearing following the traditional variance process listed above.

Administrative variances can be granted only for the following items:

• New or relocated front yard retaining walls thirty (30) inches or greater in height, provided they are set back at least two (2) feet from the nearest public sidewalk in the public right-of-way or, if there is no sidewalk, at least six (6) feet from the curb;

• New front yard fences measuring four (4) feet or less in height, having a fenestration of at least thirty (30) percent, not constructed of chain link, and on a corner lot abutting any street or on an interior lot abutting East-West Highway, Connecticut Avenue, or Bradley Lane;

• Fences and walls in a front yard or in a public right-of-way that replace an existing fence or wall provided the replacement fence or wall does not materially alter the location or increase the height or length of the fence or wall;

• New or relocated retaining walls less than thirty (30) inches in height in a public right-of-way, provided they are set back at least two (2) feet from the nearest public sidewalk in the public right-of-way or, if there is no sidewalk, at least six (6) feet from the curb;

• New, relocated, or replacement guardrails, provided the guardrail is set back at least two (2) inches from the retaining wall and located along only portions of the retaining wall measuring thirty (30) inches or more in height;

• New or relocated steps, stoops, outside stairways, and their roofing; decks, terraces, porches, and their roofing; chimneys, air conditioners, and heat pumps; and/or oriel entrances, vestibules, and balconies, in a front and/or rear yard;

• New or relocated bay windows in a front and/or rear yard, provided they are no more than one (1) story in height and ten (10) feet or less in width;

• Additional width of six (6) feet or less for a driveway, other than a shared driveway, in a front yard and/or in a public-right-of-way;

• Extension of an existing wall plane (length); or

• Replacement of a structure or portion thereof, provided the location is not changed and no dimension is enlarged.

You must submit the same documents to apply for an administrative variance as for a regular variance.

Show All Answers

1. What Are the Standards for Granting a Variance from the Town’s Building Code?
2. How Do I Apply for a Variance from the Town’s Building Code?
3. Is a Public Hearing Required for a Variance from the Town’s Building Code?
4. How Are Administrative Variances Handled?
5. If I Obtain a Variance from the Town’s Building Code How Soon Must I Apply for a Building Permit?
6. Are the Procedures for Obtaining a Variance from the Town’s Water Drainage Regulations the Same as those for Obtaining a Variance from the Building Code?
7. Can I Appeal a Variance Decision?