40.460.260    Shoreline Variance

A.    The purpose of a variance is to grant relief to specific bulk or dimensional requirements set forth in this Program where there are extraordinary or unique circumstances relating to the property such that the strict implementation of this Program would impose unnecessary hardships on the applicant or thwart the policies set forth in the Act and this Program.

(Amended: Ord. 2018-11-06)

B.    When a shoreline variance is requested, the Shoreline Administrator shall be the final approval authority for the county. However, shoreline variances must have approval from Ecology, which shall have final approval authority. Shoreline variance permits should be granted in circumstances where denial of the permit would result in a thwarting of the policy enumerated in the Act (RCW 90.58.020). In all instances extraordinary circumstances shall be shown and the public interest shall suffer no substantial detrimental effect..

(Amended: Ord. 2018-11-06)

C.    The Shoreline Administrator is authorized to recommend a variance from the performance standards of this Program only when all of the following criteria are met (WAC 173-27-170):

1.    That the strict application of the bulk, dimensional or performance standards set forth in this Program precludes, or significantly interferes with, reasonable use of the property;

2.    That the hardship described in subsection (A) of this section is specifically related to the property, and is the result of unique conditions such as irregular lot shape, size, or natural features and the application of this Program, and not, for example, from deed restrictions or the applicant’s own actions;

3.    That the design of the project is compatible with other authorized uses within the area and with uses planned for the area under the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan and this Program and will not cause adverse impacts to the shoreline environment;

4.    That the variance will not constitute a grant of special privilege not enjoyed by the other properties in the area;

5.    That the variance requested is the minimum necessary to afford relief; and

6.    That the public interest will suffer no substantial detrimental effect.

(Amended: Ord. 2018-11-06)

D.    Variance permits for development and/or uses that will be located waterward of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM), as defined in RCW 90.58.030(2)(c), or within any wetland as defined in RCW 90.58.030(2)(h), may be authorized provided the applicant can demonstrate all of the following:

1.    That the strict application of the bulk, dimensional or performance standards set forth in this Program precludes all reasonable use of the property;

2.    That the proposal is consistent with the criteria established under Sections 40.460.260(C)(2) through (6); and

3.    That the public rights of navigation and use of the shorelines will not be adversely affected.

(Amended: Ord. 2018-11-06)

E.    The burden of proving that a proposed shoreline variance meets the criteria of this Program shall be on the applicant. Absence of such proof shall be grounds for denial of the application.

F.    In the granting of all shoreline variances, consideration shall be given to the cumulative environmental impact of additional requests for like actions in the area.

G.    Before making a recommendation to grant a shoreline variance, the county shall consider issues related to the conservation of valuable natural resources, and the protection of views from nearby public roads, surrounding properties and public areas.

H.    A variance from county development code requirements shall not be construed to mean a shoreline variance from use regulations in this Program, and vice versa.

I.    Shoreline variances may not be used to permit a use or development that is specifically prohibited in a shoreline designation.

(Added: Ord. 2012-07-16)