How does the Zoning Board decide if a variance should be granted?

According to Mass General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 10:

In order for the Zoning Board of Appeals to legally grant a variance, all three findings must be made, i.e. the Board must find:

  • A substantial hardship, financial or otherwise;
  • No substantial detriment to the public good;
  • No substantial derogation from the intent and purpose of the ordinance and that owing to the soil conditions, shape or topography of the land or structures, but not affecting generally the zoning district in which it is located, a literal enforcement of the ordinance would bring about item (1) above.

Regarding the definition of “Hardship” once the above factors are considered, “financial” hardship can be used for a grounds of relief. However, the “financial hardship” must inure to all owners of the land in question as a result of its unique condition, not merely to the present owner owning to his or her peculiar or particular financial status.