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(1) Authority. Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 462.357(6), as it may be amended from time to time, the Committee of Adjustments may grant a variance from the terms of this chapter.
(2) Criteria for granting a variance. A variance may only be granted by the Committee of Adjustments when:
(a) The variance is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this chapter;
(b) The terms of the variance are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan; and
(c) The applicant for the variance establishes that there are practical difficulties in complying with this chapter.
(3) Definition of practical difficulties.PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES, as used in connection with the granting of a variance, means that:
(a) The property owner proposes to utilize the property in a reasonable manner;
(b) The plight of the property owner is due to circumstances unique to the Property that were not created by the property owner; and
(c) The variance will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood.
(4) Restrictions on granting variances. The following restrictions shall be applied when considering granting a variance:
(a) Economic considerations alone do not constitute practical difficulties; and
(b) The Committee of Adjustments may not permit as a variance any use that is not allowed in this chapter for property in the district where the affected person’s land is located (i.e., a use variance).
(5) Imposition of conditions. The Committee of Adjustments may impose conditions when granting a variance, however, conditions imposed must be directly related to and must bear a rough proportionality to the impact created by the variance.
(6) Written findings. In granting a variance, the Committee of Adjustments shall make written findings stating the grounds upon which the variance is justified.
(B) Exhibits. In addition to the application, the following exhibits shall be required:
(1) Map or plat as listed on the application;
(2) Plans and drawings showing the proposed variance; and
(3) Other documents as required by the Zoning Administrator.
(C) Public hearings. The Committee of Adjustments shall hold a public hearing on all applications for a variance.
(1) Notice of the public hearing shall be given not less than ten days nor more than 30 days prior to the date of the hearing by publication in the designated legal newspaper of the city. The notice shall contain the date, time and place of the hearing and a description of the land and the proposed variance. At least ten days before the hearing, the City Clerk shall mail a notice to the owner and to each of the property owners within 150 feet of the property for which the variance is sought. Failure of the City Clerk to mail the notice or failure of the property owners to receive the notice shall not invalidate the proceedings.
(2) Action by Committee of Adjustments: the Committee of Adjustments shall consider the application at the scheduled hearing.
(a) Within 60 days after the date of receipt of the completed application by the Committee of Adjustments, the Committee must approve or deny the application. Failure of the Committee to deny a request within 60 days or any extension thereof as provided in division (C)(2)(c) below is approval of the request.
(b) The time limit begins upon the receipt of a completed application. A completed application shall mean a written request containing all information required by law, or by a previously adopted rule, ordinance or policy of the city. If the Zoning Administrator receives an application that does not contain all the required information, the City Clerk shall send notice within 15 business days of the receipt of the request telling the applicant that the application is not accepted and indicating what information is missing. The 60-day time limit begins again after receipt of a completed application, as in division (C)(2)(a) above.
(c) The city may extend the time limit before the end of the initial 60-day period by providing written notice of the extension to the applicant. The notice must contain the reasons for the extension and its anticipated length, which may not exceed 60 days unless approved by the applicant.
(d) The applicant may waive the 60-day period by providing a written waiver.
(D) Denial. The Committee of Adjustments may deny an application for a variance upon a written finding of legally sufficient reasons with a factual basis. No application for a variance which has been denied wholly or in part shall be resubmitted for a period of six months from the date of the order of denial, except on grounds of new evidence or proof of changes of conditions found to be valid by the Committee of Adjustments.
(E) Lapse of variance. A variance shall lapse and become null and void one year following the date on which the variance became effective, unless prior to the expiration of one year the work or improvement described in the variance is commenced and diligently pursued on the subject site. A variance may be extended once by the City Council for a period of six months. For any commercial use, failure to maintain the property may result in revocation of any extension.
(F) Revocation. A violation of any condition set forth in granting a variance shall be a violation of this chapter and shall terminate the variance. A revocation resulting in termination of a variance may be appealed as set forth in § 153.026(B).