Zoning Variance

A Variance is intended to provide relief from the strict application of design standards for a property or associated development if the regulations cause unnecessary hardship.

Variance requests are reviewed and granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

What regulations can I get a variance from?

Variances cannot be granted for uses or density.

Variances can be granted from the following:

  • Height and impervious coverage
  • Use-specific conditions
  • Adjacent use and street setbacks and buffers, open space standards, parking and loading standards, and fence and wall standards
  • Specimen tree and wetland buffer standards

Who can apply?

The property owner or a representative of the property owner.

The Variance Process

A Project Manager will be assigned to guide you through the entire process and be your point of contact for any questions.

Step 1. Submit Your Application

Download the Variance application and submit it with all required materials and filing fee.

Variance Application

Filing Fee: $250

Application Deadlines:

View the Board of Zoning Appeals schedule and filing deadlines

Step 2. Staff Review

  • Confirm application is complete and request meets all four criteria as required by SC Code.
  • Schedule the request on an upcoming Board of Zoning Appeals agenda.
  • Prepare a staff report that includes comments received and a recommendation to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
    Note: This is only a recommendation. The Board of Zoning Appeals makes the final decision.

Your project manager will:

  • Coordinate with you regarding your public hearing date and application status
  • Notify the public of the public hearing via a newspaper ad and post a sign on the property
  • Prepare a report listing staff's recommendations

Step 3. Notify the Public

You are required to mail a letter to all the property owners within 350 feet of the Variance property.

  • Your project manager will provide you this list of people and a letter template to use

Step 4. Board of Zoning Appeals Public Hearing

What can I expect at a Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting?

  • The review of your application at the Public Hearing.
  • The Project Manager will present the Variance request for the Board's review.
  • You have the opportunity to make a presentation and answer questions that board members may have.
  • The public is allowed to express their view related to the Variance request.

The Board of Zoning Appeals can:

  • Approve as submitted;
  • Approve with conditions discussed during the meeting; or
  • Deny the application.

View the Application Specific Review Procedures - LMO section 16-2-103.S

View our Community Development Application Process Table


Contact the Community Development Information Center at cdic@hiltonheadislandsc.gov or 843-341-4757