Chapter 17.128


17.128.010    Purpose.

17.128.020    When allowed.

17.128.030    Review authority.

17.128.040    Application submittal and review.

17.128.050    Public notice and hearing.

17.128.060    Findings for approval.

17.128.070    Conditions of approval.

17.128.080    Precedent.

17.128.090    Appeals and post-decision procedures.

17.128.010 Purpose.

This chapter identifies the process to obtain a variance. A variance is a discretionary permit that allows for deviation from development standards in the zoning code. The city may grant a variance only when the strict application of development standards creates a unique hardship due to unusual circumstances associated with the property. (Ord. 1043 § 2 (Att. 2), 2020)

17.128.020 When allowed.

A. Allowable Variances. The city may grant a variance to allow for deviation from any physical development standard that applies to the subject property. Examples of physical development standards include height, setbacks, open space, floor area ratio (FAR), and off-street parking requirements.

B. Variances Not Allowed. A variance may not be granted to:

1. Permit a use other than a use permitted in the zoning district as specified in Part 2 of this title (Zoning Districts and Overlay Zones).

2. Reduce the minimum lot size for single-family dwellings or minimum site area per dwelling unit requirements for multifamily developments.

3. Reduce the protection of an environmentally sensitive habitat area except as specifically provided in Chapter 17.64 (Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas).

4. Reduce a geologic setback as provided in Chapter 17.68 (GH Geologic Hazards District).

5. Allow deviation from a requirement of the general plan or local coastal program land use plan. (Ord. 1043 § 2 (Att. 2), 2020)

17.128.030 Review authority.

The planning commission takes action on all variance applications. (Ord. 1043 § 2 (Att. 2), 2020)

17.128.040 Application submittal and review.

An application for a variance shall be filed and reviewed in compliance with Chapter 17.112 (Permit Application and Review) and, in the coastal zone, in compliance with Chapter 17.44 (Coastal Overlay Zone) as part of the coastal development permit application. The application shall include the information and materials required by the community development department for variance applications, together with all required application fees. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide evidence in support of the findings required by Section 17.128.060 (Findings for approval). (Ord. 1043 § 2 (Att. 2), 2020)

17.128.050 Public notice and hearing.

The planning commission shall review and act on a variance application at a noticed public hearing in compliance with Chapter 17.148 (Public Notice and Hearings). (Ord. 1043 § 2 (Att. 2), 2020)

17.128.060 Findings for approval.

To approve a variance application, the planning commission shall make all of the following findings:

A. There are unique circumstances applicable to the subject property, including size, shape, topography, location, or surroundings, that do not generally apply to other properties in the vicinity or in the same zone as the subject property.

B. The strict application of the zoning code requirements would deprive the subject property of privileges enjoyed by other property in the vicinity or in the same zone as the subject property.

C. The variance is necessary to preserve a substantial property right possessed by other property in the vicinity or in the same zone as the subject property.

D. The variance will not be materially detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare, or be injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity or in the same zone as the subject property.

E. The variance does not constitute a grant of special privilege inconsistent with the limitations upon other properties in the vicinity or in the same zone as the subject property.

F. The variance will not have adverse impacts on coastal resources. (Ord. 1043 § 2 (Att. 2), 2020)

17.128.070 Conditions of approval.

The planning commission may attach conditions of approval to a variance to achieve consistency with the general plan, local coastal program, zoning code, and any applicable specific plan or area plan adopted by the city council. (Ord. 1043 § 2 (Att. 2), 2020)

17.128.080 Precedent.

The approval of a variance shall not set the precedent for the granting of any future variance. Each application shall be considered only on its individual merits. (Ord. 1043 § 2 (Att. 2), 2020)

17.128.090 Appeals and post-decision procedures.

A. Planning commission decisions on variances may be appealed to the city council as described in Chapter 17.152 (Appeals).

B. Post-decision procedures and requirements in Chapter 17.156 (Post-Decision Procedures) shall apply to variances. (Ord. 1043 § 2 (Att. 2), 2020)