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A. General Provisions:
1. The city council may grant variances for uses which do not satisfy the requirements of the Oklahoma floodplain management act or this chapter, if the applicant for the variance presents adequate proof that: a) compliance with this chapter will result in an arbitrary and unreasonable taking of property without sufficient benefit or advantage to the people and b) satisfies the pertinent provisions of this section. However, no variance shall be granted where the effect of the variance will be to permit the continuance of a condition which unreasonably creates flooding hazards.
2. Any variance so granted shall not be construed as to relieve any person who receives it from any liability imposed by the Oklahoma floodplain management act or by other laws of the state.
3. In no case shall variances be effective for a period longer than twenty (20) years.
4. Any person seeking a variance shall file a petition with the city council, accompanied by a filing fee of twenty five dollars ($25.00).
5. Variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements to be erected on a lot of one-half (1/2) acre or less in size contiguous to and surrounded by lots with existing structures constructed below the base flood level, providing the relevant factors in subsection 12-1-13B of this chapter and provisions of this section have been fully considered. As the lot size increases beyond the one-half (1/2) acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.
6. Any person seeking a variance to build a structure below the base flood elevation will be issued a notice signed by the chairman of the city council which states that: a) the cost of flood insurance will be commensurate with the increased risk resulting from permitting the structure to be built lower than the base flood elevation, and b) such construction below the base flood level increases risks to life and property.
7. At such time as the city council deems the petition ready for notification to the public, the city council shall schedule a hearing and direct the applicant to publish notice thereof in a newspaper of general circulation in Stephens County at least thirty (30) days prior to the hearing.
8. The city council shall conduct the hearing and make determinations in accordance with the applicable provisions of this section. This appeals group shall exercise wide discretion in weighing the equities involved and the advantages and disadvantages to the applicant and to the public at large when determining whether the variance shall be granted.
9. Variances shall only be issued upon:
a. A showing of good and sufficient cause;
b. A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant;
c. A determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public, or conflict with existing local laws, regulations or ordinances; and
d. A determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.
10. Upon consideration of the factors stated in this section and the intent of this chapter, the city council may attach such conditions to the granting of a variance as it deems necessary to further the purposes and objectives stated in section 12-1-2 of this chapter.
11. The floodplain administrator shall maintain a record of all variance actions, including justification for their issuance; and a copy of any variance issued by the city council shall be sent by the floodplain administrator to the OWRB and FEMA within fifteen (15) days after issuance of the variance.
B. Special Provisions:
1. Variances may be issued for the reconstruction, rehabilitation or restoration of structures listed on the national register of historic places or the state inventory of historic places, without regard to the procedures set forth in the remainder of this chapter.
2. Variances shall not be issued within any designated floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
3. Variances may be issued for the repair or rehabilitation of historic structures upon a determination that the proposed repair or rehabilitation will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a historic structure and the variance is the minimum necessary to preserve the historic character and design of the structure.
4. Variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements and for other development necessary for the conduct of a functionally dependent use provided that:
a. The criteria of subsections A5, A9, B2 and B3 of this section are met, and
b. The structure or other development is protected by methods that minimize flood damages during the base flood and create no additional threats to public safety. (Ord. 399, 9-28-2010)