Historic properties tend to have been built during a time when the zoning requirements greatly differed from the current regulations, if there were any regulations at that time. Therefore, historic properties typically have nonconforming setbacks, or were placed in a location contrary to today's development standards. As a means of assisting property owners to maintain the character of the historic structure and property while also improving it for currents needs, a variance may be requested. Without the flexibility of the variance, efforts to adapt structures for new uses and contemporary living spaces would be severely handicapped.
The Delray Beach Historic Preservation Board reviews all variance requests for properties located within a designated historic district, or for properties individually listed on the Local Register of Historic Places. Those variance requests to the HPB will be considered with the following criteria of LDR Section 2.4.7(A)(6), Variances: Alternative Findings of the Historic Preservation Board:
(a) That a variance is necessary to maintain the historic character of property and demonstrating that the granting of the variance would not be contrary to the public interest, safety, or welfare.
(b) That special conditions and circumstances exist, because of the historic setting, location, nature, or character of the land, structure, appurtenance, sign, or building involved, which are not applicable to other lands, structures, appurtenances, signs, or buildings in the same zoning district, which have not been designated as historic sites or a historic district nor listed on the Local Register of Historic Places.
(c) That literal interpretation of the provisions of existing ordinances would alter the historic character of the historic district, or historic site to such an extent that it would not be feasible to preserve the historic character of the historic district or historic site.
A variance application must also accompany an associated Certificate of Appropriateness application for the proposed improvement.
For properties NOT in a Historic District or Individually Listed on the Local Rgister of Historic Places, refer to the criteria of LDR Section 2.4.7(A)(5). Applications are reviewed by the Board of Adjustment and processed through the City's Building Division.