Section 5: Variance Process
A variance to any requirement contained in this chapter may be requested by a property owner or permittee. Variance requests shall be submitted to the proper TxDOT District office for a decision by the District Engineer, or his or her designee, in accordance with 43 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 11, Subchapter C Access Connections To State Highways, Section 11.52 Access Connection Facilities. If the variance is denied by TxDOT, reference can be made to the appeal process in Chapter 3, Section 5, of this manual.
A spacing that is shorter than the minimum allowable, as set forth in this chapter, is considered a variance to the access criteria. However, a lesser connection spacing than set forth in this chapter may be allowed as a permissible deviation without resort to the variance process in the following situations:
- To keep from land-locking a property where such land-locking is solely the result of action by TxDOT (for example, design and construction modifications which physically prevent a driveway installation due to grade changes, retaining walls, or barrier installations) where TxDOT does not control the access; or
- Replacement or re-establishment of reasonable access to the state highway system under highway reconstruction/rehabilitation projects.
The above references to land-locking do not apply to circumstances where an existing larger tract of land is subsequently further subdivided (and the subdivided lots sold to separate owners) and the original tract of land either already has an existing permitted access connection point, or would qualify for such an access connection point based upon the spacing requirements of this chapter. Potential land-locking caused by subdivision and resale is the result of such subdivision process and will not alone justify a variance in the spacing requirements contained in this chapter. Therefore, as part of the subdividing process, the party proposing the subdivision (and the municipality approving such subdivisions) should require and provide some type of internal access easements to the existing access connection points (or to such access connection point locations that qualify for future permits based on this chapter's spacing requirements).
When a variance to an access criteria is approved, the permit will include conditions such as the maximum permitted traffic volume to ingress and egress the property or other conditions with respect to granting the variance. Violation of the conditions under which the variance was granted may require reevaluation of the access permit, particularly if safety or crash records indicate deteriorated traffic safety on the abutting state highway.
The TxDOT variance process applies except within the jurisdiction of municipalities that have access connection location permit authority. For those situations, refer to the deviation procedures outlined in Chapter 3, Section 1. While the municipality will approve/disapprove individual deviations or variances to the local access management plans or guidelines, the deviation or variance shall be coordinated with TxDOT prior to resolution of the deviation or variance request to evaluate impacts to the state highway system.