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(a) Interpretation. The Board shall have the power to interpret the Zoning Code in such a way as to carry out the intent and objective of the Code.
(b) Administrative Review. The Board shall have the power to hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that there is error in any order, requirement, decision, grant or refusal made by the Planner or other administrative official except the Planning Commission, in the interpretation of the provisions of the Zoning Code.
(c) Variances. The Board shall have the power to authorize upon appeal in specific cases, variances from the provisions or requirements of this Zoning Code. Variances shall be granted only in such cases where, owing to special conditions pertaining to a specific piece of property, the literal enforcement of the provisions or requirements of this Zoning Code would cause an undue hardship or practical difficulty and where the variance will not cause harm to adjoining property owners.
Finding for a variance. When considering a request for a variance, the Board shall be subject to the powers and limitations previously set forth and further subject to the required findings set forth in subsections (c)(1) and (2) hereof depending on the specific type of variance.
(1) Lot area and setback variance. No variance to the provisions or requirements of the Zoning Code, pertaining to lot area or setback shall be granted by the Board unless the Board has determined that a practical difficulty does exist or will result from the literal enforcement of the Zoning Code. The factors to be considered and weighed by the Board in determining whether a property owner, seeking an area or setback variance, has proved practical difficulty include:
A. Whether the variance is substantial;
B. Whether the essential character of the neighborhood would be substantially altered or whether adjoining property would suffer a substantial determent as a result of the variance;
C. Whether the variance would adversely affect the delivery of government services (i.e. water, sewer, garbage, fire, police or other);
D. Whether the property owner purchased the property with the knowledge of the zoning restriction;
E. Whether the property owner’s predicament can be resolved through some method other than a variance;
F. Whether the spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed and substantial justice done by the granting of the variance;
G. Whether the property will yield a reasonable return or whether there can be a beneficial use of the property without a variance; and
H. Whether the granting of the variance will be contrary to the general purpose, intent and objective of the Zoning Code or other adopted plans of the City.
(2) Other variances. The Board may authorize a variance, other than a lot area or setback variance, in specific cases, from the strict application of the Zoning Code; provided that it has considered the factors enumerated in subsections (c)(1)A. through H. hereof and further provided that all the conditions enumerated subsections (c)(2)A. through E. hereof have been met:
A. That the variance requested arises from such a condition which is unique and which is not ordinarily found in the same zoning district; and is created by the Zoning Code and not be an action or actions of the property owner or the applicant;
B. That the granting of the variance will not adversely affect the rights of the adjacent property owners or residents;
C. That the strict application of the Zoning Code of which the variance is requested will constitute unnecessary hardship upon the property owner or the applicant;
D. That the variance desired will not adversely affect the public health, safety, morals or general welfare; and
E. That the granting of the variance desired will not be opposed to the general spirit and intent of the Zoning Ordinance.
(1) In exercising its power, the Board may, in conformity with the provisions of the statute and of this chapter, reverse or affirm wholly or in part and may modify the order, requirement, decision, or determination appealed from, and may make such order, requirement, decision, or determination as ought to be made and to that end shall have all powers of the office from whom the appeal is taken.
(2) In authorizing a variance, the Board may attach thereto such conditions regarding the location, character, and other features of the proposed structure or use, as it may deem necessary in the interest of this chapter and all other City Codes. In authorizing a variance, with attached conditions, the Board shall require such evidence and guarantee or bond as it may deem to be necessary to ensure that the conditions attached are being and will be complied with.
(Ord. 03-071. Passed 3-10-03.)