Last night I accompanied a client to a zoning board of appeals hearing. They wanted to be granted a variance that would've allowed them to build their new home outside of the established site setbacks in the ordinance. Their existing home that will be torn down was built before the new ordinance and is currently outside the setbacks. The new home would be an improvement. They wanted to do this in deference to their neighbors, so that they would obstruct as little of their view of Lake Michigan as possible. This would've also allowed them to keep an existing well rather than dig a new one (between $3000-$4000).
Long story short, they were denied, unanimously, despite making every effort to be sensitive to their surroundings. Their neighbors all wrote letters of support for what they wanted to do. I'm not anti-codes by any means. I think they need to be there to keep people from running amok. However, there has to be some common sense and flexibility.
I'll bet that made you sleepy! I got drowsy just writing it.
*Edited to add: This is not the zoning board we went before, but apparently they all look about the same. Ours had four people: one older woman and three older men.