What are Variances?

A variance is granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals or by the City Council in cases which are shown not to be contrary to the public interest if, owing to special conditions, where a literal enforcement of the provisions of an ordinance or regulation will result in an undue hardship. A hardship must be proven in order to have a variance granted. A true hardship applies to a situation when a landowner in unable to comply with the regulations because of some unique or peculiar aspect of a property itself. A hardship is not considered a personal need or wish of the landowner, a hardship only applies to the quality of the property itself. A hardship cannot be self-created.

Some types of variances are granted by City Council and some types are granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals.

Types of Variances

*The following information applies to the process for submitting applications for unified signage plans, fence exceptions, parking exceptions, and alcohol variances:

Application Process

Step 1.(For Unified Signage Plans Only) Schedule Pre-Application Meeting

A Pre-Application Meeting is required for Unified Signage Plans (the other types of variances do not require a Pre-Application Meeting). The meeting is an informational meeting with city staff to help applicants prepare an application for submission to the Planning Division and identify any significant issues the proposed project may encounter after submission.

City staff holds pre-application meetings via Microsoft Teams every Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. Each meeting lasts 30 minutes.

Step 2.Apply

You must apply online for variances through the City of Grand Prairie's Customer Self-Service portal. First time users will need a valid email address to set up an account. It takes about 5 minutes to create a new account.

Questions? You are welcome to call the Planning Division at 972-237-8255 or visit in person for help submitting your online application.

What Happens Next?

Alcohol Variances are reviewed by Development Review Committee and City Council.

All other variances are reviewed by Development Review Committee, Planning and Zoning Committee, and City Council.


Initial Submittal Requirements for Variances:

  • Signed and notarized Agent Authorization form(PDF, 220KB)
  • Detailed site plan*
  • Tax statement*
  • The application and application fee (after verifying that the application submittal is complete, staff will send you an invoice for the application fee)

*Upload these documents during the online application process through the Customer Self-Service portal.


The Fee Schedule in Article 22 of the Unified Development Code(PDF, 318KB)  lists the Variance fees.

You can also use the Customer Self-Service Fee Estimator tool to view fees.

Once you apply for a variance, the Planning staff will verify that your application is complete and send you an invoice for the application fee.