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WVTF: Proposal Would Streamline Zoning Variance Process For People With Disabilities PDF Print E-mail



Lawmakers in Richmond are debating a bill that would make it easier for people with disabilities to make changes to their homes.  

Making major structural changes to a home is tough enough. But what happens when you need it because of a disability?

Delegate Patrick Hope of Arlington says one of his constituents was concerned because zoning boards were denying many of these requests. “So if someone needed to build a ramp on the front of their house to get in or on the side of their house or even someone that needed an expansion of their driveway, and in that case people would need to get a variance.”

But getting a variance can be a headache, especially if you need to go through a local board of zoning appeals. That’s why Chip Dicks with the Virginia Association of Realtors says a lot of the cases should be handled administratively.   “That’s a process that could happen in a matter of days, and the price for that — the application fee — is much less than it would be if you had to file for a variance and go through a four to six month public hearing process.”

Lawmakers are still debating when an application could be handed quickly and relatively painlessly versus when an application would need to go before a board and have a public hearing.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.