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Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA)

Variances and Special Exceptions

Committee Purpose

The Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) consists of seven (7) board members who are appointed by each District Commissioner and an at-large member appointed by the Mayor. The BZA makes recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on Variances, Special Exceptions, and Appeals of the Zoning Manager’s Determination.


There are some code amendments that are scheduled to be adopted in the fall of 2024, known as Orange Code, with the concurrent Vision 2050 Comprehensive Plan update. Orange Code will be the new land development regulations that focuses on placemaking standards and context-based regulations.


An Ordinance was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on May 21, 2024 enacting a temporary suspension for six months for the processing of Special Exceptions and other entitlements. The temporary suspension effective date is May 28, 2024, therefore, no Special Exception applications will be accepted between May 28, 2024, and November 28, 2024. The submittal of Variances will continue to be accepted at this time; however, the adoption of Orange Code may impact any approved Variances.

Submittal Dates

Board of Zoning Adjustment Public Hearing Schedule*

Pre-App Meeting
Application Deadline
Wednesday at 3PM
BZA Hearing Date
BCC Chambers
Appeal Deadline
Friday at 3PM*
BCC Hearing Date
August 30, 2023 September 13, 2023 November 2, 2023 November 17, 2023 November 28, 2023
September 27, 2023 October 11, 2023 December 7, 2023 December 26, 2023 January 9, 2024
October 25, 2023 November 8, 2023 January 4, 2024 January 19, 2024 January 23, 2024
November 22, 2023 December 13, 2023 February 1, 2024 February 16, 2024 February 20, 2024
December 27, 2023 January 10, 2024 March 7, 2024 March 22, 2024 March 26, 2024
January 31, 2024 February 14, 2024 April 4, 2024 April 19, 2024 April 23, 2024
February 28, 2024 March 13, 2024 May 2, 2024 May 17, 2024 May 21, 2024
March 27, 2024 April 10, 2024 June 6, 2024 June 21, 2024 June 18, 2024
April 24, 2024 May 8, 2024 Wednesday July 3, 2024* Thursday July 18, 2024* July 30, 2024
May 29, 2024 June 12, 2024** August 1, 2024 August 16, 2024 August 27, 2024
June 26, 2024 July 10, 2024** September 5, 2024 September 20, 2024 September 24, 2024
July 24, 2024 August 14, 2024** October 3, 2024 October 18, 2024 October 29, 2024
August 28, 2024 September 11, 2024** November 7, 2024 November 22, 2024 December 3, 2024
September 25, 2024 October 19, 2024** December 5, 2024 December 20, 2024 January 7, 2025

**Please note the deadlines are only for Variances. Special Exceptions will not be accepted after May 27, 2024, for a period of six months, per the Zoning in Progress Ordinance approved by the BCC on May 21, 2024.

Important: Due to legal deadlines there are no exceptions to these deadline dates. It is highly advisable not to wait until the filing deadline date listed below to submit your application as revisions to your application may be required. If revisions are required, your application will be postponed to the following month. Please note: All special exceptions require a Pre-App. Meeting with staff is required at least two weeks before the application deadline date. A meeting for variances is not required, but may be requested.

Meetings / Meeting Results

Board of Zoning Adjustment meeting results are attached to original meeting notices in the County Calendar. BZA meeting minutes may also be viewed by visiting the Advisory Boards page.


Variances are required if you need to depart from the provisions of the zoning ordinance. Variances relate to setbacks, lot size and frontage requirements, but do not involve the actual use or structure. (Use Variances are prohibited.) You must demonstrate the hardship is unique to your property and not to other properties in the same zoning district. Each Variance must meet the criteria listed below.

Variance Criteria | PDF

Special conditions and circumstances exist that are peculiar to the land, structure, or building involved and that are not applicable to other lands, structures or buildings in the same zoning district. Zoning violations or nonconformities on neighboring properties shall not constitute grounds for approval of a proposed zoning variance.

The special conditions and circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant. A self-created or self-imposed hardship shall not justify a zoning variance (i.e., when the applicant himself by his own conduct creates the hardship that he alleges to exist, he is not entitled to relief).

The special conditions and circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant. A self-created or self-imposed hardship shall not justify a zoning variance (i.e., when the applicant himself by his own conduct creates the hardship that he alleges to exist, he is not entitled to relief).

Literal interpretation of the provisions contained in this Chapter would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same zoning district under the terms of this Chapter and would put unnecessary and undue hardship on the applicant. Financial loss or business competition or purchase of property with intent to develop in violation of the restrictions of this Chapter shall not constitute grounds for approval or objection.

The zoning variance approved is the minimum variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure.

Approval of the zoning variance will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of the Zoning Regulations and such zoning variance will not be injurious to the neighborhood or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare.

Special Exceptions

The County Code includes some uses that would be allowed only by special exception. Applications for special exceptions follow the same process as variances — the request is heard by BZA, which makes a recommendation to the BCC for final approval. In making its decision, the BZA will determine whether the requested use is deemed compatible with the surrounding area and uses. Restrictions and conditions may be imposed by the BZA as part of its recommendation. Each special exception must meet the criteria shown below.

Special Exception Criteria | PDF

Discuss consistency with pertinent Comprehensive Plan goals, objectives and policies.

Discuss how the proposed use will be similar and compatible with the surrounding area.

Discuss the proposed use and how it will not negatively impact the surrounding area.

Discuss how the proposed meets the performance standards of the district.

Discuss how the proposed activities on the property that would not generate noise, vibration, dust, odor, glare, or heat that is not similar to majority of uses permitted in the zoning district.

Discuss how the proposed use will be consistent with the Landscape Code and required landscape buffers, if applicable.

Contact Us

Zoning Division

Phone: 407-836-3111

To check on the status of an application, please visit Orange County Fast Track Zoning Review.