Chapter 20.50
VARIANCES AND APPEALS

Sections:

20.50.010    Variance.

20.50.020    Application and fee.

20.50.030    Public hearing.

20.50.040    Action of the hearings examiner.

20.50.050    Appeal to the city council.

20.50.010 Variance.

A.    Where unnecessary hardships and practical difficulties, resulting from peculiarities of a specific property, render it difficult or inequitable to carry out the provisions of this title, the hearings examiner shall have power to grant a variance in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this title. Such variance may vary the literal enforcement of any standard, requirement, or regulation of this title relating to the density, but not the use, provisions of the district wherein is located the property which is the subject of the application for variance, so that the intent of the title will be observed, public interest protected, public safety secured and substantial justice done. To this end, a variance in the provisions and requirements of the title shall only be authorized if the hearings examiner finds that all the following facts and conditions exist in each case of an application for a variance:

1.    That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the subject property that do not apply generally to other properties in the same vicinity or zoning district, and that the plight of the applicant is unique and not the result of his own action;

2.    That the land or structure in question cannot be reasonably used and cannot yield a reasonable return if used only in accordance with the density requirements of the title for the district in which it is located, and that such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right of the applicant possessed by the owners of other property in the same vicinity or district;

3.    That the authorization of such variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare, not injurious to nearby property, nor essentially different from the provisions of the district in which it is located;

4.    That the granting of such variance will not adversely affect the comprehensive plan or studies thereof.

B.    In authorizing a variance, the hearings examiner may attach thereto such conditions regarding the location, character or other features of the proposed structures or uses as he or she may deem necessary to carry out the intent of the title; provided, however, that a variance so authorized shall become void after the expiration of six months if no substantial construction has taken place in accordance with the plans for which such variance was authorized. (Ord. 1310-191 § 2 (part), 1991; Ord. 987 § 17.01, 1979)

20.50.020 Application and fee.

A.    An application for a variance may be initiated by a property owner or tenant, or an authorized agent of either, or by any governmental officer, department, board or bureau.

B.    An application for a variance shall be filed with the building department on forms provided by the city. (Ord. 987 § 17.02, 1979)

20.50.030 Public hearing.

A.    Before any variance is allowed under the provisions of the title, it shall be considered by the hearings examiner at a public hearing.

B.    Within forty days after the filing of an application for a variance, the hearings examiner shall hold a public hearing. At least ten days prior to the date of hearing, the city clerk shall give written notice by mail of the hearing to owners of property within three hundred feet of the exterior boundary of the lot or parcel of land on which the variance is requested, and shall notify owners of any other lot or land parcel which he deems affected by the proposed variance, using for this purpose the names and addresses of owners as shown upon the record of the county assessor. (Ord. 1310-191 § 2 (part), 1991; Ord. 987 § 17.03, 1979)

20.50.040 Action of the hearings examiner.

The hearings examiner may attach conditions to an authorized variance which he or she feels are necessary to protect the public interest and carry out the purpose of the title. The city clerk shall notify the applicant for a variance in writing of the hearings examiner’s action within five days after the hearings examiner has rendered his or her decision. (Ord. 1310-191 § 2 (part), 1991; Ord. 987 § 17.04, 1979)

20.50.050 Appeal to the city council.

The action of the hearings examiner may be appealed to the city council within fifteen days after the hearings examiner has rendered his or her decision by filing a written notice with the city clerk. If no appeal is taken within the fifteen-day period, the decision of the hearings examiner shall be final. If an appeal is filed, the city council shall receive a report and recommendation from the hearings examiner and shall hold a public hearing on the application. Notice of the public hearing shall be in accordance with Section 20.50.030. (Ord. 1921-0518 (part), 2018; Ord. 1310-191 § 2 (part), 1991; Ord. 987 § 17.05, 1979)