(a)   Eligibility.  A request for a variance may be made only by a legal or equitable owner of the subject property.
   (b)   Application Forms.  The application for a variance shall be completed on a form provided by the City.
   (c)   Application for a Variance.  To be eligible to apply for a variance, the applicant must first have received written denial of a Zoning Certificate application by the Zoning Administrator. The application for a variance shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator not longer than 20 days after the actual mailing date of the written denial. The application shall be filed on forms provided by the City accompanied by payment of any fees for the variance application. Any variance application and fees shall be received at least 14 days prior to the next available Board of Zoning Appeals hearing.
   (d)   Hearing of a Variance.  The Board of Zoning Appeals shall select a time and place for the hearing of the variance request and give at least 10 days written notice of the hearing to the owners and/or tenants of property contiguous to and directly across the street from the subject property. Failure of delivery of any or all of such notices, even if caused by error of the applicant or the City, shall not invalidate the decision of the Board. In addition, public notice of the hearing as to the time, place, date and subject of the hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing. Any party in interest may appear and be heard at the hearing in person, by agent or by legal counsel. At its option, the Board may hold any or all of its hearings with sufficient formalities to eliminate the need for a de novo review by the courts in the event of an appeal under Ohio R.C. Chapter 2506.
   (e)   Criteria for Approval.  The Board of Zoning Appeals shall have authority to grant dimensional variances for the location (setback), height, bulk, or lot coverage of proposed buildings or other proposed improvements to properties regulated by this Zoning Code. In no case shall the Board have authority to grant variances as to use. No variance from the terms of this Zoning Code may be granted until the Board evaluates the proposed variance in view of the following criteria, and makes written findings of fact as to these criteria and any other matters that the Board may find relevant. An affirmative finding as to each of the following criteria is necessary to the approval of a variance:
      (1)   The requested variance is justified by a practical difficulty.
      (2)   The practical difficulty was not created by the unlawful acts or omissions of any owner or tenant.
      (3)   The practical difficulty does not commonly occur in any neighborhood in the City having the same zoning classification as the subject property.
      (4)   Approval of the variance would not materially damage the character of the neighborhood.
      (5)   Approval of the variance would not violate a significant legislative purpose of the Zoning Code.
      (6)   Approval of the variance would not reduce the efficiency of emergency services or adversely and unreasonably affect non-emergency public services.
      (7)   There is no reasonable solution to the practical difficulty other than a variance and the variance requested is the least that can reasonably reduce the practical difficulty.
   (f)   Recommendations of the Zoning Administrator.  The Zoning Administrator may make recommendations to the Board as to any case before it.
   (g)   Conditions and Restrictions.  In granting a variance, the Board of Zoning Appeals may impose such conditions, safeguards, and restrictions on the premises benefited by the variance as may be necessary to respond to the concerns set out in division (e) of this section or to reduce or minimize potentially injurious effects of the variance on other properties in the neighborhood, or to carry out the general purpose and intent of this Zoning Code.
   (h)   Decision on a Variance.  The decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals shall be final, subject only to appeal to a court of competent jurisdiction. The Board of Zoning Appeals shall render a written decision on the application to City Council and the applicant not later than 60 days after the close of the hearing, unless a longer period is agreed to by the applicant. Nothing in this Zoning Code shall prevent the Board from continuing a hearing into successive meetings until all information needed to make an informed decision has been obtained to its satisfaction and the Board has had sufficient opportunity to review and analyze the information. A Zoning Certificate may be issued by the Zoning Administrator at any time after 30 days following the date the decision becomes effective.
   (i)   Period of Validity.  A variance granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals shall lapse at the end of 6 months from the date on which the Board grants the variance, unless within the 6-month period a zoning certificate is obtained for the proposed change or improvement.
   (j)   Appeal by City Council.  City Council shall have standing to appeal the decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals to a court of competent jurisdiction within 30 days following the date that the decision by the Board becomes effective.
(Ord. 16-2003.  Passed 5-1-03; Ord. 12-2006.  Passed 6-1-06; Ord. 05-2016.  Passed 4-7-16.)