What does "Unique Circumstances" mean?

Unique circumstances means, as a guide for Board decision-making, the hardship conditions which lead to the granting of variances must be "peculiar and unique" to the land in question. The property and general conditions in the neighborhood, it exists as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type and distinctive in nature or character from others.

A landowner seeking a variance from a required lot size in a case where other lots in the neighborhood are all of a similar substandard size generally cannot meet the “uniqueness” test. The same is true where all the lots in the neighborhood are subject to deed restrictions limiting the size of the structure which can be built on the lot. Likewise, if all of the lots in the area are swampy or steeply sloped, or if they all have rock outcropping, or if they all have utility easements running through them, an application for a variance related to any of these problems would have to be denied. The fact that the lot has no structure while neighboring lots do have structures does not make the subject lot “unique.”