Variance & Special Use

The Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning administers the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) process. The Mayor appoints the five-member Board, which votes on each application. Typical items of relief include floor area and height bonuses, reductions in parking requirements, drive thrus, and allowing residential uses where commercial uses are otherwise required. Public notification of an application to the Zoning Board of Appeals is provided through the posting of a sign on the site and mailed notices to property owners as required under the City of Chicago Zoning Ordinance.

Our office monitors the agenda for the ZBA and notifies local neighborhood community group representatives of agenda items in their area. Although not required, we do ask that prior to the first scheduled appearance before the ZBA, that you or a representative of the project meet with Alderman Smith or a representative of the 43rd Ward office to discuss the project and the need for zoning relief. Prior to your meeting with the 43rd Ward office, please fill out the 43rd Ward development guidelines so that we can evaluate the proposed zoning matter. The ZBA accepts both written comments and testimony during the hearing from concerned residents and the Alderman. However, the ZBA has no obligation to assign additional weight to the comments of local residents or the Alderman. In several cases, the ZBA has approved applications that local residents and the Alderman actively opposed.

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