A.   Minor Variances:
      1.   Purpose: The purpose of this section is to provide for an expeditious method of processing variance requests.
      2.   Qualifications: Requests qualifying as minor variances must meet one of the following criteria: (Prior Code § 20-6-4)
         a.   Cases where practical difficulties to existing buildings or platted property are created as a result of public action or change in City Code standards other than those variances affecting floodplain, shoreland, wetland, and/or wild and scenic river regulations. (Prior Code § 20-6-4; amd. 2018 Code)
         b.   Structure or setback deviations which are characteristic of and common to neighboring uses and which do not exceed five feet (5') or more than a ten percent (10%) departure from a standard established by this title.
   B.   Major Variances Classification: All variances which are not classified as "minor" shall be deemed "major" variances.
   C.   Processing: A request for a minor or major variance shall be filed with the City on an official application form and processed in accordance with this chapter and Minnesota Statutes section 15.99.
      1.   An application shall be accompanied by a fee as provided in section 3-1-2 of this Code.
         a.   Such application shall also be accompanied by detailed written and graphic materials fully explaining the proposed change, development, or use including the information required by section 11-9-6 of this title.
         b.   The request shall be considered as being officially submitted when the Zoning Administrator determines that there is compliance with all the information requirements.
         c.   The City Council, the Planning Commission, and the City staff shall have the authority to request additional information from the applicant or to retain expert testimony at the expense of the applicant, and said information is to be declared necessary to establish performance conditions in relation to all pertinent sections of this title.
         d.   Failure on the part of the applicant to supply all necessary supportive information may be grounds for denial of the request. (Prior Code § 20-6-4)
      2.   The applicant shall supply proof of title and the legal description of the property for which the variance is requested, consisting of an abstract of title or registered property abstract currently certified, together with any unrecorded documents whereby the petitioners acquire a legal ownership or equitable ownership interest and, as applicable, supply documented authorization from the owner(s) of the property in question to proceed with the requested variance. (Prior Code § 20-6-4; amd. 2018 Code)
      3.   Upon receipt of said application for a major variance, the City Clerk shall set a public hearing to be conducted by the Planning Commission following proper hearing notification as applicable.
         a.   Notice of said hearing shall consist of a legal property description and description of request, and be published in the official newspaper at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing.
         b.   Written notification of said hearing shall be mailed to surrounding area property owners within three hundred fifty feet (350') of the property in question at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing.
         c.   A copy of the notice and a list of the property owners and addresses to which the notice was sent shall be attested and made a part of the records of the proceeding.
         d.   Failure of a property owner to receive said notice shall not invalidate any such proceedings as set forth in this chapter, provided a bona fide attempt has been made to comply with the notice requirements of this chapter.
      4.   The Zoning Administrator shall instruct the appropriate staff persons to prepare technical reports where applicable, and provide general assistance in preparing a recommendation on the action to the Planning Commission and City Council.
      5.   The applicant or a designated representative thereof shall appear before the Planning Commission and City Council in order to answer questions concerning the proposed request. Failure by the applicant to attend meetings at which the application is to be considered by the Planning Commission or City Council may be grounds for denial of the request.
      6.   The Planning Commission shall make a finding of fact and recommend such actions or conditions relating to the request as they deem necessary to carry out the intent and purpose of this chapter.
      7.   The City Council shall not consider or act upon a variance until they have received a report and recommendation from the Planning Commission or until sixty (60) days after the first regular Planning Commission meeting at which the request was considered.
      8.   Upon completion of the report and recommendation of the Planning Commission, the request shall be scheduled for consideration on the agenda of the City Council. Such reports and recommendations shall be entered in and made part of the permanent written record of the City Council meeting.
      9.   Upon receiving the report and recommendation of the Planning Commission and City staff, the City Council shall have the option to set and hold a public hearing if deemed necessary and shall make a recorded finding of fact and may impose any condition it considers necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
      10.   If, upon receiving said reports and recommendations of the Planning Commission and City staff, the City Council finds that specific inconsistencies exist in the review process and thus the final recommendation of the City Council will differ from that of the Planning Commission, the City Council may, before taking final action, refer the matter back to the Planning Commission for further consideration.
      11.   Approval of a request shall require passage by a four-fifths (4/5) majority vote of the City Council.
      12.   The Zoning Administrator shall provide the applicant and property owner with written notice of the City Council's findings of fact and decision regarding the application.
      13.   If a request for variance receives approval of the City Council, the City Clerk, at the applicant's expense, shall record such with the appropriate Wright County Office. No building permits for the property in question will be granted until recording of the action has been completed.
      14.   All decisions by the City Council involving a variance request shall be final; except, that an aggrieved person or persons shall have the right to appeal within thirty (30) days of the decision to the Wright County District Court.
      15.   All decisions made by the City regarding a variance shall be final, except that any aggrieved person shall have the right to appeal within thirty (30) days after delivery of the decision to the appellant, to the District Court in Wright County. Any person seeking judicial review under this ordinance must serve the City and all necessary parties, including any landowners, within the thirty (30) day period defined above.
      16.   Whenever an application for variance has been considered and denied by the City Council, a similar application for the variance affecting substantially the same property shall not be considered again by the Planning Commission or City Council for at least one year from the date of its denial, except as follows:
         a.   If the applicant or property owner can clearly demonstrate that the circumstances surrounding the previous variance application have changed significantly.
         b.   If the City Council determines that the circumstances surrounding a previous application has changed significantly.
         c.   If the City Council decides to reconsider such matter by a four-fifths (4/5) vote of the entire City Council. (Prior Code § 20-6-4; amd. Ord. 2020-04, 4-13-2020)