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1. It is the City’s policy to provide individuals with disabilities reasonable modifications in regulations and procedures to ensure equal access to housing, and to facilitate the development of housing. The intent of this Section is to provide a procedure under which a disabled person may request a reasonable modification in the application of a structure’s dimensional standards or to the lot coverage areas.
2. This section is based on requirements of the federal and state fair housing laws and is distinct from the requirements for a variance set forth in Article 151.30.
B. Requesting reasonable modification.
1. Request. A disabled individual may request a reasonable modification to a structure’s dimensional standards or to the lot coverage area. A reasonable modification cannot waive a requirement for a conditional use permit when otherwise required or result in approval of uses otherwise prohibited by the City’s land use and zoning regulations.
2. Availability of information. Information regarding this reasonable modification procedure will be available at City Hall and on the City websites, and be made available in any other manner as determined by the City.
3. Assistance. The City will provide reasonable assistance to any applicant making a request.
4. Balancing rights and requirements. The City will attempt to balance (1) the privacy rights and reasonable request of an applicant for confidentiality, with (2) the land use requirements for notice, factual findings and rights to appeal, in the city’s requests for information, considering an application, preparing written findings and maintaining records for a request for reasonable modification.
C. Application requirements.
1. Application. The applicant shall submit a request for reasonable accommodation on a form provided by the City. The application shall include the following information:
a. The current actual use of the property;
b. The basis for the claim that the individual is considered disabled as defined in this Code and in the fair housing laws as well as current, written certification of need for the requested accommodation from a medical doctor.
c. The rule, policy, practice and/or procedure of the city for which the request for modification is being made, including the Development Code regulation from which reasonable modification is being requested;
d. The type of accommodation sought;
e. The reason(s) why the modification is reasonable and necessary for the needs of the disabled person(s). Where appropriate, include a summary of any potential means and alternatives considered in evaluating the need for the modification;
f. Copies of memoranda, correspondence, pictures, plans or background information reasonably necessary to reach a decision regarding the need for the accommodation; and
g. Other supportive information deemed necessary by the City to facilitate proper consideration of the request, consistent with fair housing laws.
2. Review with other land use applications. If the project for which the reasonable accommodation is being requested also requires some other discretionary approval (such as conditional use permit, architectural review, general plan amendment, zoning amendment, subdivision plat), then the applicant shall submit the reasonable modification application first for a determination, before proceeding with the other applications.
3. Fee. The fee for an application for reasonable accommodation shall be established by resolution of the city council.
D. Approval authority - Notice - Decision.
1. Approval authority. The Director of Community Development (Director) has the authority to review and decide upon requests for reasonable modifications, including whether the applicant is a disabled individual as defined in this Code.
2. Notice. The City shall notify, by mail, the property owner(s) most affected by the reasonable accommodation. The purpose of the notification is informational only. However, the property owner can provide comment which will be considered during the review process.
3. Decision. The Director shall render a decision within 30 days after the application is complete, and shall approve, approve with conditions or deny the application, based on the findings set forth in Section E. The decision shall be in writing and mailed to the applicant.
If the application for reasonable modification involves another discretionary decision, the reviewing body for that decision shall accept as final the determination regarding reasonable modification by the Director.
E. Findings - Other requirements.
1. Findings. The reviewing authority shall approve the application, with or without conditions, if it can make the following findings:
a. The housing will be used by a disabled person;
b. The requested modification is necessary to make specific housing available to a disabled person;
c. The requested modification would not impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the City; and
d. The requested modification would not require a fundamental alteration in the City's land use and zoning regulations.
2. Other requirements.
a. An approved request for reasonable modification is subject to the applicant's compliance with all other applicable zoning regulations.
b. Where appropriate, the reviewing authority may condition its approval on any or all of the following:
(1) Measures to reduce the impact on surrounding uses;
(2) Measures in consideration of the physical attributes of the property and structures;
(3) Other reasonable accommodations that may provide an equivalent level of benefit; and
(4) Other conditions necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
A decision by the Director may be appealed by any aggrieved person to the Hearing Officer in accordance with the appeal procedures of Article 151.30.
(Ord. 2021-003, passed 4-8-21)