(A)   The variance criteria set forth in this section are based on the general principle of zoning laws that variances pertain to a piece of property and are not personal in nature. A variance may be granted for a parcel of property with physical characteristics so unusual that complying with the requirements of this chapter would create an exceptional hardship to the property owner or surrounding property owners. The characteristics must be unique to the property and not be shared by adjacent parcels. The unique characteristics must pertain to the land itself, not to the structure, its inhabitants or the property owners.
   (B)   It is the duty of the city to help protect its citizens from flooding. This need is so compelling and the implications of the cost of insuring a structure built below flood level are so serious that variances from the flood elevation or from other requirements in the flood ordinance are quite rare. The long-term goal of preventing and reducing flood loss and damage can be met only if variances are strictly limited. Therefore, the variance guidelines provided in this chapter are detailed and contain multiple provisions that must be met before a variance can be properly granted. The guidelines are designed to identify situations in which alternatives other than a variance are more appropriate.
   (C)   Generally, variances may be issued for new construction, substantial improvement, and other proposed new developments to be erected on a lot of one-half acre or less in size contiguous to and surrounded by lots with existing structures constructed below the base flood level, providing that the procedures of Articles 2 and 4 of this chapter have been fully considered. As the lot size increases beyond one-half acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.
   (D)   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.
   (E)   Variances shall not be issued within any mapped regulatory floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
   (F)   Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the "minimum necessary" considering the flood hazard, to afford relief. "Minimum necessary" means to afford relief with a minimum of deviation from the requirements of this chapter. For example, in the case of variances from an elevation requirement, the city council need not grant permission for the applicant to build at grade, or even to whatever elevation the applicant proposes, but only to that elevation which the city council finds will both provide relief and preserve the integrity of this chapter.
   (G)   Variances shall be issued only upon a:
      (1)   Showing of good and sufficient cause;
      (2)   Determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship (as defined in section 18-2 of this chapter) to the applicant; and
      (3)   Determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create a nuisance (as defined in section 18-2 of this chapter), cause fraud or victimization (as defined in section 18-2 of this chapter) of the public, or conflict with other city ordinances.
   (H)   Variances may be issued for new construction, substantial improvement, and other proposed new development necessary for the conduct of a functionally dependent use provided that the provisions of subsections 18-27(C) through 18-27(H) are satisfied, that the structure or other development is protected by methods that minimize flood damages during the base flood, and that the variance does not result in additional threats to public safety or create a public nuisance.
(`64 Code, Sec. 35-20) (Ord. No. 2426, 2640)