Variances

Requesting a Departure from Standard Requirements


A variance grants the applicant permission to depart from the standard requirements of any of Blue Earth County’s Ordinances such as setbacks, lot width or depth, lot coverage, and height limitations. A request for a variance is taken before the Blue Earth County Board of Adjustment in the form of a public hearing. The principle used by the Board of Adjustment when considering a request is that of a practical difficulty.

Verifying Statement of Practical Difficulty


To grant a variance, the Board of Adjustment must determine if the landowner’s statement of practical difficulty is justifiable. A practical difficulty deprives the landowner of reasonable use of his or her land if the strict interpretation of the regulations is applied. The Board of Adjustment may attach conditions to the variance to ensure compliance and to protect adjacent property owners and the public interest.

Note: The Blue Earth County Board of Adjustment does not consider variances in Mankato or Lime townships or for property located within city limits.

Instances Requiring a Variance


  • Variances from front, side, or rear yard setbacks, ordinary high water level of lake, river, or stream may be required in any zoning district to build a home, addition, deck, building or other structure including agricultural structures on a lot which could not otherwise be used due to its extreme topography, wetlands, odd shape or other dimensional deficiency.
  • Variances are required to locate new feedlots or residences when proposed separation distances are less than that specified in the Blue Earth County Feedlot Ordinance.
  • Variances are required to exceed density, height, buildings size, and lot coverage requirements.

Submitting an Application


An application for a variance shall be made to the zoning administrator. The fee for the Board of Adjustment to consider a variance request is $300 (this amount may be adjusted periodically by the County Board). The Board of Adjustment meets monthly at the Blue Earth County Historical Courthouse. The processing time of a variance request varies from 5-8 weeks or more.