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Pursuant to M.S. § 462.357, Subd. 6, as it may be amended from time to time, the City Council, acting as a Board of Appeals and Adjustments, may issue variances from the provisions of this zoning code. A variance is a modification or variation of the provisions of this zoning code as applied to a specific piece of property. A variance from the literal provisions of this zoning code may be granted by the Board of Appeals and Adjustments only when the variance is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the zoning code and the variance is consistent with the comprehensive plan, if the city has adopted one. A variance may be granted when the applicant for the variance establishes that there are PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES in complying with the zoning ordinance. PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES as used in connection with granting a variance, means the property owner proposes to use the property in a reasonable manner not permitted by the zoning code; the plight of the landowner is due to circumstances unique to the property not created by the landowner; and the variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality. Economic considerations alone do not constitute practical difficulties. Practical difficulties include, but are not limited to, inadequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems.
Variances shall be granted for earth sheltered construction as defined in M.S. § 216C.06, Subd. 14, as it may be amended from time to time, when in harmony with this zoning code. The Board of Appeals and Adjustments may not permit as a variance any use that is not allowed under this zoning code for property in the zone where the affected person's land is located. The Board of Appeals and Adjustments may permit as a variance the temporary use of a one-family dwelling as a two-family dwelling. The Board of Appeals and Adjustments may impose conditions in the granting of variances to ensure compliance and to protect adjacent properties. A condition must be directly related to and must bear rough proportionality to the impact created by the variance. The variance shall not become effective until a certified copy is filed by the applicant with the County Recorder, which shall include the legal description of the property included.