A Variance permits variation from specific standards contained in the Mono County General Plan. Variances are issued by the Planning Commission in cases where an applicant can clearly demonstrate that special circumstances – other than financial hardship – related to the property deprive the property owner of privileges enjoyed by others in the vicinity and in an identical land use designation. Special circumstances are typically related to the property’s physical characteristics such as its size, shape, topography or surroundings. A variance shall not be granted for uses or activities not permitted in the vicinity or in an identical land use designation (see Mono County General Plan Land Use Element, Chapter 33 and Government Code § 65906).
The timeframe for processing depends on the level of environmental review required. Projects Categorically Exempt under the California Environmental Quality Act can be processed in one to two months, while those requiring a Negative Declaration or Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will take longer. The average variance process takes three months.