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The City of New Orleans

Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu

Planning Project

Variances - Board of Zoning Adjustments

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The Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) has the power to hear and decide requests for variances under Section 14.6 of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO). The BZA has the authority to grant variances to any yard or setback standard, to reduce lot area per dwelling unit, to allow increased floor area ratio (except in the Central Business District), to reduce the number of required off-street parking or loading spaces, to reduce required setbacks between buildings, and to allow smaller open space. The BZA may also grant special exceptions upon finding that the exception will not substantially adversely affect the adjacent or neighboring properties.

The Board does not have the authority to grant height or floor area ratio variances in the Central Business District or to grant minimum site size or off-street parking variances for religious institutions that exceed 30% of the requirements, or grant any other variance specifically reserved by ordinance to the City Council.

Reasonable Accommodation

It is the policy of the City of New Orleans, pursuant to the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and applicable state laws, to provide individuals with disabilities reasonable accommodation in the City’s zoning and land use regulations, rules, policies and practices to ensure equal access to housing and to facilitate the development of housing for individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations in the zoning and land use context means providing individuals with disabilities, or developers of housing for people with disabilities, flexibility in the application of land use, zoning and building regulations, policies, practices and procedures, or even waiving certain requirements, when it is necessary to eliminate barriers to housing opportunities.

Requests for reasonable accommodation should be filed with the Executive Director of the City Planning Commission, in accordance with Article 27 of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.  Appeals of the CPC Director’s decision on an accommodation may be taken to the Board of Zoning Adjustments, which meets the first Monday of every month.


  • Single and Two-Family Residential Projects: $150.00
  • Three or more Residential Unit Projects: $250.00
  • Commercial Projects: $250.00
  • Rehearing: Same as Original Fee

Required documents/steps

  • Obtain a Denial/Referral Letter from the Department of Safety and Permits 
  • File a completed application with the Board of Zoning Adjustments
  • Notice of the request will be published in the journal of record and notices will be mailed to adjoining property owners
  • The Board of Zoning Adjustments will assign a staff member to your request
  • The staff will prepare a report with a recommendation to the Board
  • The case will be heard at the first available BZA meeting after the receipt of a complete application. The meetings are held the second Monday of every month at 10:00 a.m., in the City Council Chamber (unless otherwise posted)
  • The Board will take action on your application. Within 10 days of the Board’s action, the staff will produce a written record of the Board’s action and distribute it to you
  • In instances where a variance(s) is approved, the Board may assign conditions or provisos to the approval. You must satisfy the conditions or provisos of approval, prior to obtaining a building permit from the Department of Safety and Permits
  • Decisions of the Board may be appealed by the applicant or any other person aggrieved by the Board’s decision to Civil District Court, within 30 days after the filing of the decision in the office of the Board. Decisions of the Board are NOT appealable to the City Council
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Last updated: 9/23/2015 2:02:15 PM

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