Such fees are a way of preventing frivolous requests. Not saying it's a lot of fun, but such a request will require the time of secretaries, paper files, document prep, mailings, etc. Thus the charge. Getting a variance to one's zoning is not a walk in the park. Municipalities are not motivated to do it very often. They follow the "master plan". I wish you well in your pursuit.
$500 has to accompany the application, before any secretaries or meetings even take place and they can just veto it and HA HA sucka we got your money! I understand that money talks and there are justifiable fees that may be required for time to make such changes to ordinances but we already pay one of the highest % rates to live in our rural area, don't get any benefits of in-town living like recycle pick-up etc and now I don't even have the right to sustain my family with eggs and milk...I am livid.
Crazy what the fees are when it comes to property stuff. A number of years ago we wanted to shift the line between our two adjacent lots to make them about the same size. Well, the application fee for the type/size of land was 2k+. So we passed.