It is difficult to imagine that a heavily intense, 24-hour operation such as a Dunkin’ Donuts could rely on a prior owner’s use variance for a mom and pop grocery store in a residential zone � that was granted 40 years ago � without the need for a further use variance, simply because they happen to be similarly categorized uses under the local zoning ordinance. However, municipalities should prepare themselves for just such a scenario.

Attorneys, land-use boards and municipal planners alike have generally been of the view that once a use variance has been granted, there can be nothing other than an insubstantial change in use without the need to secure another use variance.

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