The intent of a variance is to allow a property owner the ability to vary zoning standards. As a rule, a variance should only be granted when there is a unique physical problem (such as topography or irregular lot shape), if there are similar conditions in the area and when there would be no detriments to the neighborhood.

Variances of greater than 50% are decided by the Board of Adjustment, a body of appointed Wheat Ridge citizens. Variances at or less than 50% can be reviewed administratively by the Community Development Director, without the requirement of a public hearing. This percentage pertains to the amount of variance to zoning and development standards. For example: a variance of 2' from the required 10' side yard setback resulting in an 8' side yard setback is equal to a 20% variance.