Variance Legal Meaning and Definition

Here is a simplified definition of the legal term Variance.

Variance (noun)

A variance is a special permission given by the government (like a city council or a zoning body) to allow someone to do something different than what the rules usually allow. For example, if a city's rules say a building can't be more than four stories high, but someone wants to build a five-story building, they would need to get a variance.

Think of it like asking the teacher if you can use a green pen when the rule is you can only use blue or black. The variance is the teacher saying "Okay, you can use green just this once".