I follow the Law of the Land blog written by Prof.Patricia Sulkin; she gathers many interesting cases from across the country and discusses their impact and results. She had a case recently from Massachusetts involving a variance in Boston which had been granted by the local zoning board, but which was overturned on appeal.
I won't bore you with the actual case, Shepherd v Zoning Board of Boston,2012 WL695557 (Mass. App. March, 2012), but Prof. Sulkin provided a link to a short article in a Boston bar Journal. Take a look at it here.
The upshot is that the attorneys in Boston aren't any more pleased with the restrictions on zoning variances up there then we are down here. Perhaps at some point, an effort to assist in cases like this where the variance requested doesn't seem to cause much harm, could be permitted. Any event, it's an interesting read.