Planning and Zoning
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A variance may be necessary when a landowner has plans for property that does not comply with the county ordinances. It is advisable that a landowner discuss a variance request with staff prior to submitting an application.

Variances may only be granted in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 394, including the public hearing provisions. Variances may be granted when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The applicant's proposed use is allowed in the zoning district in which the subject property is located.
  • The variance is in harmony with the comprehensive plan.
  • A practical difficulty exists on the property preventing the applicant from complying with the ordinance. Practical difficulty is established when the applicant proposes to use the property in a reasonable manner not permitted by the ordinance or when the variance request is due to circumstances unique to the property not created by the landowner. Economic considerations alone do not constitute practical difficulties.
  • If granted, the variance may not alter the essential character of the locality.
  • No variance shall be granted simply because there are no objections or because those who do not object outnumber those who do.
  • The Zoning Board may impose conditions in the granting of variances. A condition must be directly related to and must bear rough proportionality to the impact created by the variance.
  • For existing developments, the application for variance must clearly demonstrate whether a conforming sewage treatment system is present for the intended use of the property. The variance, if issued, must require reconstruction of a nonconforming sewage treatment system.


Variance Application

Contact Us

HOURS: Monday thru Friday
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m

North Office Location
1610 Hwy 23 North
Sandstone, MN 55072

South Office Location
(Staff available by appointment only)
635 Northridge Drive NW
Pine City, MN 55063
P: (320) 216-4220
F: (320) 216-4244