Violated Setback Requirement

My client has mistakenly violated the setback requirement on their new home; what can they do?

We have all had the situation arise in our careers when a client calls and says they accidentally built a permanent structure on their property too close to the property. Now they being ordered to tear it down or move it.

Most cities have a Board of Zoning Adjustments. The Board hears appeals from owners who wish to use land in a manner that is not entirely consistent with existing ordinances. One such owner appeal may be in form of asking for a variance. A zoning variance allows a use that differs from the applicable ordinance for a variety of justifiable reasons. Such reasons may be: compliance will cause unreasonable hardship, the use will not change the essential character of the area, and the use does not conflict with the general intent to ordinance. The Board has the power to grant the above property owner a variance due to the unreasonable hardship that removing the nonconforming building would cause an unreasonable hardship.

In this instance, an owner may petition the Board for a variance in hopes that they will not be forced to move or tear down a structure.