The building board of appeals as established by the community shall hear and render judgment on requests for variances from the requirements of this chapter.
   (a)   Any person or persons aggrieved by the decision of the building board of appeals may appeal the decision in the courts of competent jurisdiction.
   (b)   The floodplain administrator shall request an opinion letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state Office of Emergency Management prior to hearing any variance. Additionally, the floodplain administrator shall maintain a record of all actions involving an appeal and shall report variances to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state Office of Emergency Management upon issuing a variance.
   (c)   Variances may be issued for:
      (1)   New construction and substantial improvements 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 the relevant factors in division (f)(2) below have been fully considered. As the lot size increases beyond the one-half acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.
      (2)   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.
   (d)   Upon consideration of the factors noted above and the intent of this chapter, the building board of appeals may attach those conditions to the granting of variances as it deems necessary to further the purpose and objectives of this chapter. (See § 156.003.)
   (e)   Variances shall not be issued:
      (1)   A.   To habitable structures within any designated floodway that impacts upstream and downstream per requirements within 44 C.F.R. § 60.6 (a) (1) and 44 C.F.R.§ 60.3 that need to be addressed to eliminate any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge.
         B.   Regarding floodway variances: The structures must be accessory buildings and represent a low cost in potential to damage to building materials as well as public expense;
      (2)   To reduce the base flood elevation requirement within § 156.066(a) Residential construction; or
      (3)   To reduce the freeboard and/or base flood elevation requirement within § 156.066(b) Nonresidential construction.
   (f)   Prerequisites for granting variances.
      (1)   Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.
      (2)   Variances shall only be issued upon:
         A.   Showing a good and sufficient cause;
         B.   A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant; and
         C.   A determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public, or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.
      (3)   Any applicant to whom a variance is granted shall be given written notice that the structure will be permitted to be built with the lowest floor elevation below the base flood elevation, and that the cost of flood insurance will be commensurate with the increased risk resulting from the reduced lowest floor elevation.
(1992 Code, § 45-18)  (Ord. 70-09, passed 8-3-2009; Ord. 94-16, passed 8-2-2016; Ord. 78-17, passed 8-15-2017; Ord. 32-18, passed 5-2-2018; Ord. 77-21, passed 7-6-2021)