1244.04  SPECIFIC POWERS AND DUTIES.
   (a)   In General. The Board has the power to act on matters as provided in this chapter and Section 603 of Act 110 of the Public Acts of 2006, as amended, being MCL § 125.3603 et seq.  The specific powers of the Board are enumerated in the following provisions of this section.
   (b)   Appeals. The Board shall hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that there is error in any order, requirement, permit, decision or refusal made by the Building Official or other duly authorized enforcing agent, in enforcing any provision of this Zoning Code.
   (c)   Interpretation; Approval of Land Uses.
      (1)   The Board shall hear and decide requests for interpretation of this Zoning Code or the Zoning Map, taking into consideration the intent and purpose of this Zoning Code and the Master Plan.
      (2)   A record shall be kept by the Board of all decisions made in interpreting this Zoning Code or the Zoning Map and of land uses which are approved under the terms of this section.
   (d)   Variances.  The Board shall have the power to hear and decide specific appeals and authorize variances from the provisions of this Zoning Code that are not contrary to the public interest. A variance shall not be granted by the Board unless all of the following standards are met.
      (1)   Standards for granting use variances. A use variance is one which authorizes a use of land on a parcel which otherwise is not permitted by this Zoning Code in the zone district in which the parcel is located. An applicant must present the Board with proof of all the following:
         A.   The essential basis for variance relief is due to unnecessary hardship in strictly complying with this Zoning Code.  “Unnecessary hardship” shall mean that the property cannot reasonably be used or yield a reasonable return for a purpose permitted in the zone in which the property is situated.
         B.   The basis for variance relief was not self-created.  The basis for seeking a variance will be considered to be “self-created” under the following circumstances:
            1.   If the claimed practical difficulty was created by the intentional acts of the property owner or predecessor; or
            2.   If the property is capable of reasonable development and use without variance relief, but the applicant simply desires to develop and use the property in a manner that would require variance relief; or
            3.   If the property was acquired with the obvious existence of facts and circumstances that make development an unnecessary hardship.
         C.   That the plight is due to unique circumstances peculiar to the property and not to general neighborhood conditions.
         D.   That the proposed use would not alter the essential character of the area.
         E.   Grant of the variance would do substantial justice to the applicant as well as to other property owners in the area or district, or a lesser relaxation of the requirements than applied for would give substantial relief to the applicant and be more consistent with justice to other property owners.
         F.   Relief can be granted in a fashion that results in the spirit of the ordinance being observed and public safety and welfare being secured.
      (2)   Standards for granting nonuse variances. A nonuse variance is one which provides relief from a specific standard in this Zoning Code, usually relating to areas, setbacks, dimensions or construction requirements and limitations. An applicant must present the Board with proof of all the following:
         A.   The essential basis for variance relief is due to practical difficulty as a result of circumstances or conditions uniquely affecting the property.  If the circumstances or conditions in question have been caused or created by the property owner or his predecessor in title, then it is not the operation of the ordinance upon the particular property that creates a claimed need for a variance. In such case, a variance shall not be granted because the practical difficulty will be regarded as having been self-created. For purposes of this requirement:
            1.   The basis for seeking a variance will be considered to be “self-created” under the following circumstances:
               a.   If the claimed practical difficulty was created by the intentional acts of the property owner or predecessor; or
               b.   If the property is capable of reasonable development and use without variance relief, but the applicant simply desires to develop and use the property in a manner that would require variance relief.
            2.   “Practical difficulty” shall mean that strictly complying with the applicable zoning ordinance requirement(s) would unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property for a permitted purpose or would be unnecessarily burdensome.
         B.   That the plight is due to unique circumstances peculiar to the property and not to general neighborhood conditions.
         C.   Grant of the variance would do substantial justice to the applicant as well as to other property owners in the area or district, or a lesser relaxation of the requirements than applied for would give substantial relief to the applicant and be more consistent with justice to other property owners.
         D.   Relief can be granted in a fashion that results in the spirit of the ordinance being observed and public safety and welfare being secured.
      (3)   Conditions and safeguards.  In granting any variance, the Board may prescribe appropriate conditions and safeguards pursuant to Section 1244.05 (f). (Ord. 137.  Passed 6-14-16.)
(Ord. 85.  Passed 1-11-99; Ord. 113.  Passed 4-10-07.)