Under the enabling provisions of 1921 Mich. Pub. Acts 207, a board of zoning appeals is authorized to grant a variance upon a showing of practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship.
John Leo was granted a variance permitting his single family dwelling to be used as a medical clinic. Appellee neighborhood association sought judicial review on the ground that he failed to demonstrate “unnecessary hardship or practical difficulties.” The trial court reversed and set aside the variance.
Can a board of zoning appeals grant a use variance absent a finding that the property cannot reasonably be used in a manner consistent with an existing zoning?
The court held that a use variance should not have been granted unless the board of zoning appeals found, on the basis of substantial evidence, that the property could not reasonably be used in a manner consistent with existing zoning. In this case, the board merely based its determination on traffic and closeness to the business section – which was not enough to qualify as an “unnecessary hardship.”