(a)   Appeals.  The Commission is granted the power and responsibility to hear and decide appeals concerning the interpretation or administration of this zoning code. Appeals to the Commission concerning interpretation or administration of the zoning code may be made by any person aggrieved or by any officer or bureau of the legislative authority of the Village affected by any decision of the Zoning Inspector. Such appeal shall be made within twenty days after the decision by filing with the Zoning Inspector and with the Commission, a written notice of appeal specifying the grounds upon which the appeal is being made. The Zoning Inspector shall transmit to the Commission all the papers constituting the record, based upon which the action appealed was taken.
   (b)   Fees.  See Section 1262.02(i).
   (c)   Stay of Proceedings.  An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed, unless the Zoning Inspector, upon whose actions the appeal is made, certifies to the Commission after the notice of appeal is filed with him/her, that by reason of facts stated in the appeal, a stay would, in his/her opinion, cause imminent peril to life and property. In such case, proceedings shall not be stayed other than by a restraining order which may be granted by the Commission or by a court of record, with a notice to the Zoning Inspector upon whose actions the appeal is made.
   (d)   Variances
      (1)   The Commission may authorize, as set forth below, and upon request in specific cases, a variance from the terms of the zoning code.
      (2)   There are two types of variances which may be granted: an area variance and a use variance.  The factors to be considered by the Commission differ for the two types of variances as follows:
         A.   Area variance - "Practical Difficulties".
            1.   An area variance is a departure from the provisions of the zoning code usually relating to setbacks, side yards, height, frontage/lot width, and lot size. These variances relate to the physical characteristics of the property. An area variance may be granted when the strict enforcement of the zoning requirements for the specific lot would present "practical difficulties", basically making the property unusable.
            2.   The factors or standards to be considered and weighed for an area variance include, but are not limited to the following:
               a.   Whether the property in question can yield a reasonable return or whether there can be any beneficial use of the property without the variance.
               b.   Whether the variance is substantial.
               c.   Whether the essential character of the neighborhood would be substantially altered or whether adjoining properties would suffer a substantial detriment as a result of the variance.
               d.   Whether the variance would adversely affect the delivery of governmental services.
               e.   Whether the property owner's predicament can be feasibly prevented, reduced, or eliminated through some method other than a variance.
               f.   Whether the spirit and intent behind the zoning requirements would be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variance.
         B.   Use variance - "Undue Hardship".
            1.   A use variance concerns the development or conversion of land for a use not permitted in a specific zoning district as specified in the zoning code.  The factors or standards applied to a use variance are those related to the concept of "unnecessary hardship".
            2.   A use variance must not be contrary to the public interest and the Commission must insure that the spirit and intent of the zoning code is observed.  In other words, the use requested must be consistent and harmonious with the existing uses in the specific zoning district. In addition, all of the following conditions must be found to exist:
               a.   Special circumstances or conditions which apply to the building or land in question, are peculiar to such lot or property and do not apply generally to other land or buildings in the vicinity and were not created by the applicant.
               b.   The granting of the variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of substantial property rights and would not merely serve as a convenience to the applicant.
               c.   The variance will not reduce an adequate supply of light and air to any adjacent property or unreasonably increase the congestion in public streets or increase the danger of fire or imperil the public safety or unreasonably diminish or impair established property values within the surrounding areas or in any way impair the health, safety, convenience, or general welfare of the inhabitants of the Village.
   (e)   Procedures.  The procedures for applying for appeals and variances are as follows:
      (1)   Application.  An appeal or variance shall not be granted unless and until a written application for such is submitted.
         A.   An application for an appeal shall contain the following information:
            1.   Name, address, and phone number of applicant(s).
            2.   Legal description of the property to which the appeal pertains.
            3.   Description of the appeal made.
         B.   An application for a variance shall contain the following information:
            1.   Name, address, and phone number of the applicant(s).
            2.   Legal description of the property.
            3.   Description of the nature of the variance requested.
            4.   Statements addressing the factors or standards listed for an area variance or a use variance.
            5.   Adequate drawings illustrating the size and location of the lot, the size and location of buildings and structures proposed and existing on the lot, dimensions of all yards and open spaces, and other information necessary for the enforcement of the zoning code.
      (2)   Public hearing.  Upon receiving a completed application for an appeal or a variance, the Commission shall comply with the notice requirements of paragraphs (e)(3) and (e)(4) hereof, and shall hold a public hearing within forty days.
      (3)   Public hearing notice.  A notice of the time, date and place of the public hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the Village at least ten days prior to the hearing date. The notice shall set forth the nature of the variance requested or appeal made. Posting as provided for in Ohio R.C. 731.25 is allowed in lieu of a published notice.
      (4)   Adjoining property owners. The Commission shall notify owners of property contiguous to and directly across the street from the parcel involved in the appeal or variance, by a first class mailing at least seven days prior to the hearing date. The applicant requesting the appeal or variance shall provide the owners' names and addresses. Failure by the applicant to submit a correct and complete list of such owners may invalidate the Commission's actions.
      (5)   Action.
         A.   The Commission shall reach a decision on the variance or appeal within thirty days after the public hearing is/are completed. The decision of the Commission shall be by motion and the decision shall be set forth in a written decision. A certified copy of the Commission's decision shall be transmitted to the applicant and the Zoning Inspector within ten days of the date of the decision. Where special conditions or requirements are imposed they shall be incorporated on any permit issues.
         B.   Decisions of the Commission are considered an administrative action and may be appealed within thirty days of receipt of the written decision of the Commission, to the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas pursuant to Ohio law. The Council, or any other officer, board, or department of the Village may appeal any decision of the Commission if the Village deems it may be adversely affected by the decision of the Commission. An appeal to the Court of Common Pleas shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed, unless the Zoning Inspector whose decision is appealed from shall certify to the Court of Common Pleas after the notice of appeal is filed, that by reason of the facts stated in the certificate, a stay would, in his/her opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property. In such case, proceedings shall not be stayed by other than a restraining order granted by the Court.
         C.   The variance or appeal and any conditions thereto shall be made a part of the record.
      (6)   Additional conditions. The Commission shall have the power to impose additional conditions and safeguards other than those stated in the zoning code when granting variances. Such additional conditions shall be reasonable and necessary to promote and preserve the public safety, general welfare and economic viability of the neighborhood and community and shall be imposed solely for the purpose of minimizing the effect of the variance on surrounding property and the community as a whole. Violations of such conditions and safeguards, when made a part of the terms under which the variance is granted, shall be deemed a violation of the zoning code and punishable under Section 1262.99.
      (7)   Lapses of variances.  A variance, once granted, shall not be withdrawn or changed unless, after the expiration of eighteen months, no construction has taken place in accordance with the terms and conditions under which said variance was granted. In such circumstances, the variance shall be deemed null and void and all regulations governing said premises in question shall revert to those in effect before the variance was granted.
(Ord. 1133-16.  Passed 9-12-16.)