The land in Chino is divided into three basic types of zoning districts: residential, commercial, and industrial. The Chino Municipal Code specifies certain development requirements for each zoning district. A Variance allows a departure from some of these requirements because of unique circumstances of the property and because there are physical hardships regarding the land or structure that is not present on the surrounding properties within the same zoning district. There are two types of Variances in Chino, a Minor Variance and a Major Variance.

The Variance procedure allows the City to review the unusual or unique circumstances of a property that may justify granting the Variance. There are two type of Variances in Chino, a Minor Variance which provides the Development Services Director the authority to grant the variance provided the deviation from the Zoning Ordinance does not exceed 25% from the standard; and a Major Variance is reviewed by the Planning Commission when the proposed deviation is greater than 25% of the zoning standard. Variance applications require a public hearing notice which gives the public an opportunity to review and voice their opinion on the project.

In order to approve a Variance, the Development Services Director/Planning Commission must make the following findings:

  1. Because of exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applicable to the property or use, including size, shape topography, location or surroundings, the strict application of the ordinance is found to deprive the property owner of privileges enjoyed by other properties in the vicinity and within the same zoning district.
  2. The granting of the Variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property, improvements or uses within the immediate vicinity and within the same zoning district.
  3. Upon granting of the variance, the intent and purpose of the ordinance will still be served and the recipient of the variance will not be granted special privileges not enjoyed by other surrounding property owners within the same zoning district.

How do I begin the Variance process?
In order to begin the Variance process, you must complete a Land Use Application and submit it along with all required information as indicated in the Minimum Required Information Checklist and pay all applicable fees to the Planning Division. The day of submission will determine possible DRC and future Planning Commission and City Council agenda dates.

What type of hearing is required for a Variance?
If your project is deemed a Minor Variance, the Development Services Director will make a determination on the proposed variance without a public hearing. A Major Variance requires a public hearing by the Planning Commission.

What is the review process for a Variance?

  • Talk to a planner to obtain information and an application.
  • Submit completed application.
  • Planning staff review.
  • Design Review Committee reviews project with applicant.
  • Application completeness and level of environmental review is determined.
  • Notice of public hearing is advertised and posted.
  • Staff makes a recommendation/decision.
  • The public hearing takes place (if applicable).
  • 10 day appeal period.

Are there submittal deadlines for a Variance application?
Filing deadlines for project submittal occur every two weeks. For a list of submittal deadline dates, see the Project Review Calendar.

What is the filing fee for a Variance application?
Please click here to view the current fee schedule.

How long is the Variance review process?
Variances usually take 12 to 16 weeks to review. The length of time to process the Variance request could exceed 16 weeks depending on the extent of the project.

Is there an appeal procedure for a Variance?
If someone is concerned about the decision made on a Variance, the decision may be appealed to a higher hearing body. Appeals must be made within 10 calendar days of the decision, and can be made by submitting the Appeal Application to the Planning Division staff in City Hall

Filing and payment of a Variance for processing does not guarantee approval.

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