WHAT IS A VARIANCE? A variance is an exception to the rules that are set forth in the Township Zoning Ordinance.

WHEN IS A VARIANCE NECESSARY? A variance may be necessary when a landowner wishes to develop property, and due to the uniqueness of their lot, they are unable to comply with the ordinance.

CAN ANYONE GET A VARIANCE? No. The courts have said the applicant has a “heavy burden of proof” to show there are no reasonable development options, and there is “hardship” in following the rules of the ordinance.

WHAT IS A HARDSHIP? ?Hardship? as used in connection with the granting of a variance means the property in question cannot be put to a reasonable use if used under the conditions allowed by the official controls; the plight of the landowner is due to circumstances unique to the property not created by the landowner; and the variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality. Minnesota Statutes 394.27

WHO DECIDES IF I WILL GET A VARIANCE? The decision is made at a public hearing on whether hardship has been demonstrated, by the Canosia Township Board of Adjustment. The information provided by the applicant, public comment, staff site visit, report, and recommendation, all help the Board determine whether hardship has been demonstrated.


Please fill out the variance application thoroughly. A neat sketch that is generally to scale, and shows all of the physical characteristics of your property is especially important. Examples of the physical characteristics we need to see are: accurate property dimensions and shape, accurate shoreline alignment, road centerline and right-of-way, all existing and proposed structures with dimensions, septic system, wells, driveways, vegetation, steep slopes, topographic alterations, wetlands, etc…


Canosia Township Planning & Zoning Director