A. Purpose. The purpose of variances is to allow variation from the strict application of the terms of this Zoning Ordinance where, by reason of the exceptional narrowness, shallowness, or unusual shape of a parcel of property; or by reason of exceptional topographic conditions, or other extraordinary situation or condition of such parcel; or by reason of the use or development of property immediately adjoining the parcel in question, the literal enforcement of the requirements of this Zoning Ordinance would involve practical difficulties or would cause undue hardship unnecessary to carry out the spirit and purpose of this Zoning Ordinance. In no case shall a variance be granted to permit a use other than a use permitted in the district in which the property in question is situated.
B. Approval by Director, Referral to Planning Commission. The Director is authorized to approve applications for variances, upon finding the conditions specified in provision (E) of this section are met or may in the Director’s sole discretion refer any application for a variance to the Planning Commission for action.
C. Investigation and Report. The Director shall determine from data submitted whether the proposed variance will meet the requirements of this chapter and shall either (1) administratively approve, disapprove, or approve with modifications the subject application where appropriate; or (2) when in the Director’s sole discretion they deem it necessary, prepare a report with recommendations and submit the report to the appropriate reviewing authority, as described in Section 1.030.
D. Procedure. On matters to be reviewed by the Planning Commission, or when the Director refers an application to the Planning Commission with recommendations, the applicant shall be so notified and a hearing date shall be established. On the date of the hearing, the Planning Commission shall consider the Director’s report and any additional staff comment and shall permit the applicant or any other affected person to present any evidence which the Planning Commission deems to be relevant. The Planning Commission shall approve, disapprove, or approve with modifications applications for which the Planning Commission is the entitling body, or recommend approval, disapproval, or approval with modifications or give other appropriate recommendation to the City Council, concerning applications for which the Planning Commission is an advisory body.
E. Standards for Review of Applications. The reviewing authority shall grant a variance only when the reviewing authority finds the following conditions exist:
1. There are peculiar and unusual conditions inherent to the property in question sufficient to cause a hardship, and such conditions are not common to all or most of the properties in the immediate area.
2. The hardship created by the peculiar and unusual conditions inherent to the property were not created by any act of the owner. For purposes of this provision, personal, family or financial difficulties, loss of prospective profits, and neighboring violations are not hardships justifying a variance.
3. A variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of substantial property rights possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in the vicinity, and a variance, if granted, would not constitute a special privilege of the recipient not enjoyed by neighbors.
4. Granting the variance shall not create a substantial detriment to adjacent property and will be consistent with the purposes of this Zoning Ordinance and the public interest.
F. Conditions. The reviewing authority may impose such requirements and conditions with respect to the proposed variance as may be necessary and appropriate for the protection of adjacent properties and the public interest to effect the purposes of this section such that the reviewing authority can make the findings specified in provision (E) of this section.
G. Referral to Planning Commission. The Director may refer to the Planning Commission for a public hearing any variance application.
H. Public Notice. Notice of variances will be in accordance with Section 24.100.
I. Appeal. Any determination made pursuant to this section may be appealed in accordance with Section 24.090.