§ 151.056  ZONING VARIANCES.
   (A)   Applicability. This section provides a procedure for gaining approval of variances from the standards of this chapter, except those of § 151.056, §§ 151.185 through 151.204, §§ 151.220 and 151.221, or § 151.233(D)(1) and (2), in order to relieve hardships and achieve parity among properties similarly located and classified.
   (B)   Classification of zoning variances.
      (1)   Administrative variance.
         (a)   A request to modify by 10% or less any numeric standard of this chapter, except those related to maximum allowed densities and any standard of §§ 151.070 through 151.072 and 151.145 through 151.154, may be heard and decided by the Director of Planning, Building and Development as an administrative variance, in which case no public hearing is required.
         (b)   However, before the variance may be granted, a notice of the intent to grant the variance shall be sent by certified mail to all adjoining landowners as well as those located directly across any street from the subject property.
         (c)   If any landowner files a written request for public hearing with the Director within 15 calendar days of receipt of the notice, the variance shall then be processed as a minor variance.
         (d)   The decision on an administrative variation shall be based on the approval criteria of subsection (C)(4) below and findings of fact shall be made in accordance with subsection (C)(5) below.
 
COMMENTARY:
Waivers from the vacation standards of § 151.204, subdivision and land dedication standards of §§ 151.185 through 151.204, §§ 151.220 and 151.221, development standards for nonconforming recorded lots of § 151.233(D)(1) and plats of consolidation standards of § 151.233(D)(2) shall be processed in accordance with the procedures of § 151.192(A).
 
      (2)   Minor zoning variance.  A modification of 20% or less of any numeric standard (except those of §§ 151.070 through 151.072 and §§ 151.145 through 151.154) and except those that are administrative variance or are related to maximum allowed densities or building height shall be classified and may be processed as minor zoning variances.
      (3)   Major zoning variance.  Any request for a variance from the standards of this chapter that does not qualify as an administrative variance or a minor zoning variance shall be processed and classified as a major zoning variance.
   (C)   Zoning variance procedure.
      (1)   Application filing.  Applications for zoning variances shall be submitted to the Planning, Building and Development Department on forms available from the Planning, Building and Development Department.
      (2)   Public hearing notice.  Neighbor, newspaper and posted notice of the public hearing shall be provided in accordance with the requirements of § 151.045(G).
      (3)   Review and action.
         (a)   Minor zoning variances.  The Hearing Officer shall hold a public hearing on minor zoning variance requests and act to approve, approve with conditions or deny the minor zoning variance based on the approval criteria of subsection (C)(4) below.
         (b)   Major zoning variances.
            1.   The Zoning Board of Appeals shall hold a public hearing on major zoning variance requests and act to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the major zoning variance based on the major zoning variance approval criteria of subsection (C)(4) below.
            2.   At least four affirmative votes shall be required to approve a major zoning variance.
      (4)   Approval criteria.  Zoning variances may be approved only upon a finding that all of the following criteria have been met. Use variations are specifically prohibited:
         (a)   Exceptional conditions peculiar to the applicant’s property;
         (b)   Practical difficulties or particular hardships in carrying out the strict letter of the regulation; and
         (c)   Harmony with the general purpose and intent of the zoning regulations.
      (5)   Findings of fact; written transcripts.
         (a)   All decisions on zoning variances shall be supported by findings of fact specifying the reasons for the decision.
         (b)   A written transcript of the hearing shall be prepared for all major zoning variances.
 
COMMENTARY:
 
   (D)   Special zoning variance regulations for floodplain property.
      (1)   Notifications and acknowledgments.
         (a)   Upon receipt of an application for any variance affecting floodplain lands or affecting any floodplain regulation of this chapter, Planning, Building and Development Department staff shall notify the applicant in writing that:
            1.   The issuance of a variance to construct a structure below the flood base elevation will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance; and
            2.   The construction below the flood base elevation increases risks to life and property.
         (b)   Notice of the proposed variance and public hearing shall be provided to the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission’s Chief Engineer at least 15 days prior to the public hearing.
         (c)   The applicant shall be required to acknowledge in writing that he or she assumes all risks and liabilities connected with the activities. A copy of the notification and the applicant’s acknowledgment shall be maintained by the Planning, Building and Development Department.
      (2)   Supplementary findings of fact.  In addition to any other findings of fact required for zoning variances, in deciding on variances affecting floodplain lands or any floodplain regulations, findings of fact shall be made by the Zoning Board of Appeals on each of the following matters based on the evidence presented.
         (a)   A finding that the granting of a variance would not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety or extraordinary public expense, nor create nuisances, cause fraud or victimization of the public, nor conflict with existing local laws or ordinances and that all buildings will be protected by methods that minimize flood damage during the base flood event;
         (b)   A finding that the development activity can not be located outside the floodplain; and
         (c)   A finding that the development activity is not in a regulatory floodway.
(Ord., § 3.12, passed 10-13-2009; Ord. passed 8-14-2012; Ord. passed - -)