Chapter 17.21


17.21.010    Purpose.

17.21.020    Application.

17.21.030    Criteria for variance approval.

17.21.040    Additional criteria for variance approval in the flood plain district.

17.21.050    Public hearing by the city council.

17.21.060    Action by the city council.

17.21.070    Notice of council’s decision.

17.21.080    Appeals.

17.21.010 Purpose.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to empower the city council to vary or adapt the strict application of any of the requirements of this title. Provided, such variance would not be contrary to the public interest and the strict application of the particular regulation would result in peculiar, exceptional, and undue hardship on the owner of the property.

B. It is the intent of this title that the variance be used only to overcome some exceptional physical condition of land that prevents any reasonable use of the property. (Ord. 956(part), 1993)

17.21.020 Application.

A written application requesting a variance shall be submitted to the fire department under the applicable provisions of Chapter 17.11. (Ord. 956(part), 1993)

17.21.030 Criteria for variance approval.

A variance shall be granted only when the applicant demonstrates that the variance will not be contrary to the public interest, is not self-created, and that practical difficulty and unnecessary hardship will result if it is not granted. The applicant must clearly establish and substantiate that the request for variance conforms to all the requirements and standards listed below:

A. That granting the variance will be consistent with the general purpose and intent of this title and will not be injurious to the neighborhood or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare.

B. That granting the variance will not permit the establishment of any use not permitted in a particular zoning district.

C. That unique circumstances exist. There must exist special circumstances or conditions, fully described in the findings, applicable to the land or structures for which the variance is sought. The special circumstances or conditions must be peculiar to such land or structures and not generally applicable to land or structures in the neighborhood. The special circumstance or conditions must also be such that the strict application of the provisions of this title would deprive the applicant of reasonable use of such land or structure.

D. That unnecessary hardship exists. It is not sufficient proof of hardship to show that lesser cost would result if the variance were granted. Furthermore, the hardship complained of cannot be self-created; nor can it be established on this basis by one who purchases without knowledge of the restrictions. It must result from the application of this title to the land or structure. It must be suffered directly by the property in question and evidence or variance granted under similar circumstances shall not be considered. Neither conforming uses or neighboring land or structures, nor buildings in other zoning districts, shall be considered as controlling factors for the issuance of a variance.

E. The granting of the variance is necessary for the reasonable use of the land or structure and that the variance as granted by the city council is the minimum variance that will accomplish this purpose. (Ord. 956(part), 1993)

17.21.040 Additional criteria for variance approval in the flood plain district.

When considering a variance in the flood plain overlay district, the city council shall consider, in addition to the conditions in Section 17.21.030, all technical evaluations, standards applying to the overlay district, and:  (A) the danger to life and property due to flooding; (B) the importance of the services provided by the proposed use to the community; (C) the necessity to the locations for the proposed use which are not subject to flooding hazards; (D) the compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development; and (E) the relationship of the proposed use to the flood plain management program. (Ord. 1183 §2(part), 2008:  Ord. 956(part), 1993)

17.21.050 Public hearing by the city council.

A public hearing shall be held and notice provided under the provisions of Chapter 17.11. The applicant shall appear in person or by agent or attorney. Failure to appear shall constitute sufficient cause for continuance of the hearing or denial of the application. Other parties may appear in person or by agent or attorney, or may submit any written comments. (Ord. 956(part), 1993)

17.21.060 Action by the city council.

Within ten days of the conclusion of the hearing, unless a longer period is agreed to on the record or in writing by the applicant, the city council shall file a written decision that shall include the following considerations:

A. The testimony at the public hearing;

B. The extent to which the proposed variance is in compliance with the requirements of Sections 17.21.030 and 17.21.040, if applicable;

C. The variance, if granted, is the minimum variance that will make possible the reasonable use of the land or structure; and

D. The consistency of the variance with the general purpose and intent of this title.

The city council may attach conditions to the approval of a variance to minimize the impacts of such approval on the neighborhood. The application for a variance shall be denied if the city council finds that one or more of the provisions of Section 17.21.030 are not met. (Ord. 956(part), 1993)

17.21.070 Notice of council’s decision.

Copies of the council’s decision shall be mailed to the applicant and to other parties of record not later than three days following the filing of the decision. “Parties of record” shall include the applicant and all other persons who specifically request notice of the decision by signing a register provided for such purpose at the public hearing. (Ord. 956(part), 1993)

17.21.080 Appeals.

Decisions by the city council may be appealed to the Yakima County superior court. (Ord. 1183 §2(part), 2008:  Ord. 956(part), 1993)