How Much Does a Zoning Variance Cost in New Orleans?

June 12, 2024

New Orleans Variance Application Policy Changes

The recent policy changes regarding variance applications in New Orleans introduce important procedural updates that prospective applicants must be aware of. Effective from May 10, 2024, at 5.01 pm, these changes aim to streamline the application process and ensure compliance with local zoning ordinances.

"The Emperor Demands A Zoning Variance!" by bradywahl is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Pre-Application Requirement

Prospective variance applicants are now required to file a building permit application with the Department of Safety and Permits. This step includes obtaining a zoning review that specifies the required variances before submitting a variance application to the Board of Zoning Adjustments. Variance applications submitted without this pre-application requirement will be deemed incomplete and rejected.

Compliance with Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance

The new policy ensures that changes are in accordance with Article 3, Section 3.2.B of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. Complete variance applications, once re-submitted, will be docketed per the adopted docketing schedule.


The policy applies to applications where the work requiring the variance also necessitates a building permit. The Executive Director has the authority to modify the pre-application requirements based on the nature of the proposal.

"The Emperor Demands A Zoning Variance! (3967052248)" by Brady Wahl is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Understanding Variances

A variance is an exception from a requirement or standard in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. To grant a variance, a request must meet all nine approval standards, including demonstrating a non-financial hardship. Variances are meant to address specific use cases and are not intended for matters of convenience. The City Council decides variance requests for conditional uses.

Federal and State Compliance

In compliance with the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and state laws, New Orleans has a reasonable accommodation process for ordinance exceptions related to housing for individuals with disabilities.

Application Process

Complete applications must include all required information and attachments as specified in the application form. These can be submitted in-person or via email ( by 5:00 p.m. on the filing deadline day. Applications undergo a completeness review within 10 days of submission and will only be docketed if complete. Incomplete applications must be corrected for consideration in the next meeting cycle per the docketing schedule.


The fees for variance applications vary depending on the project type:

  • Single and Two-Family Residential Projects: $150.00
  • Three or More Residential Unit Projects: $250.00
  • Commercial Projects: $250.00
  • Rehearing: Same as the original fee

Acceptable payment methods include checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, made payable to the City of New Orleans.

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