When a property does not conform to zoning requirements, and does not have status as a existing non-conforming property, the owner may apply for a zoning variance. Zoning variance requests are considered by the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) and are given strict scrutiny.
Under the Texas Local Government Code, the ZBA shall not grant a variance unless and until it finds that:
- Special conditions and circumstances exist which are peculiar to the land, structure, or building involved and which are not applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district; and
- That literal interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the terms of this ordinance;
- That the special conditions and circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant;
- That granting the variance requested will not confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this ordinance to other lands, structures or buildings in the same district.
Any variance allowed shall be the "minimum variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land, building, or structure," will be "in harmony with the general purpose and intent" of the Zoning Ordinance, and "will not be injurious to the neighborhood, or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare."