Chapter 11.53


11.53.010    Purpose and intent.

11.53.020    Applicability.

11.53.030    Variance limitations.

11.53.040    Required findings.

11.53.050    Variance process.

11.53.010 Purpose and intent.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish a variance process to enable resolution of practical difficulties or undue physical hardships that may result from implementation of the regulations of this title. A variance may be granted for a parcel of property with physical characteristics so unusual that complying with the requirements of this title would create an exceptional hardship to the applicant or the surrounding property owners.

The sole purpose of any variance shall be to prevent discrimination, and no variance shall be granted that would have the effect of granting a special privilege not shared by other property in the same zone and vicinity. The intent is to avoid practical difficulties, unnecessary hardship, or results inconsistent with the general purposes of this title.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.53.020 Applicability.

A variance may be granted to allow the following, where the characteristics addressed by the variance are unique to the property and not shared by adjacent parcels. The unique characteristic must pertain to the land itself, not to the structure, its inhabitants, or the property owners.

A.    A reduction or variation in setback and yard regulations; parking and/or loading regulations; height regulations; and the expansion, extension, alteration, or relocation of nonconforming buildings and uses.

B.    A change in the required location of accessory buildings and uses, and the designated front or frontage of the building site.

C.    A reduction or variation in area regulations, including limitations on the area covered by accessory buildings.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.53.030 Variance limitations.

All of the following shall be strictly enforced limitations for granting a variance:

A.    No variance shall be granted that would have the effect of granting a special privilege inconsistent with the limitations on other properties in the vicinity and applicable zone.

B.    No variance shall be granted that would have the effect of authorizing a use that is not otherwise authorized by this title.

C.    None of the following shall be considered grounds for the issuance of a variance:

1.    The nonconforming use of adjacent properties, structures, or buildings in the same zone.

2.    The nonconforming use of property, structures, or buildings in other zones.

3.    The granting of a variance on another property.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.53.040 Required findings.

Before a variance may be granted, the planning commission (or the city council on appeal) shall make specific findings based on the pertinent evidence of the application and conditions of the property that all of the following conditions exist in reference to the property:

A.    The property is subject to exceptional or extraordinary physical conditions or circumstances that do not apply generally to the property or class of use in the same zone and vicinity.

B.    The exceptional or extraordinary physical conditions or circumstances are a characteristic of the property in relation to the regulations of this title, and not a result by the applicant/property owner or any previous owner of the property.

C.    The variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other properties in the same vicinity and zone, and would be denied to the property based on the application of the provisions of this title without the issuance of a variance.

D.    Granting the variance will not be materially detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare, or cause adverse effect on any surrounding property or property improvements in the same vicinity and zone.

E.    Granting the variance will not confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this title to any other property or class of use in the same vicinity and zone.

F.    Granting the variance is consistent with the intent of the general plan.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.53.050 Variance process.

The procedure for the application and granting of a variance is defined below.

A.    Application. An application for a variance shall be accompanied by all such materials deemed necessary by the director to document the conditions or circumstances of the property that would justify a variance, consistent with the standards of this chapter. No hearing shall be scheduled or noticed until the application is deemed complete by the planning division.

B.    Notice and Hearing. Upon submittal of a complete application, as deemed by the planning division, a planning commission hearing shall be scheduled and noticed, including noticing to the property owner on record and nearby property owners, as provided for in Section 11.50.020, Public hearing notification.

C.    Conditions and Limitations. Variances shall be granted upon such conditions and limitations and for such periods of time as the approving body deems to be reasonable and necessary so that the objectives of this title are achieved and the findings in Section 11.53.040, Required findings, may be made.

D.    Final Decision. The decision granting or denying the variance, with or without conditions, shall become final unless an appeal is filed, consistent with Table 11.51-1, Application and Review Authority. All other permit actions, including appeals, fees, effective dates, and revocation, shall be consistent with Chapter 11.50, Administration; Chapter 11.51, Permits and Procedures; and Chapter 11.56, Enforcement.

E.    Permit Action. Review of and action regarding a variance may result in approval and granting, conditional approval, disapproval, or remand to the director for applicant redesign with refilling privileges.

1.    Variance findings and conditions shall be recorded and notification shall be sent consistent with Section 11.50.020, Public hearing notification. The decision shall include reasoning, valid zoning code section references, and any conditions and citations imposed on the variance by the approving body. Parameters and conditions of the variance, as approved by the approving body, shall be considered additional development and performance standards applicable to the subject property.

F.    Applicant Action. Where the applicant is granted a more limited variance than for which the application is made, or imposes condition on the variance, the applicant may decline to accept the variance as granted and may appeal the decision.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)