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The building official may approve, conditionally approve, or deny an application for a variance from the provisions of sections 9.6705 to 9.6709, except that no variance shall be allowed within a floodway. The building official’s decision shall be based on the following criteria:

(1) Compliance with applicable provisions of this land use code;

(2) Consideration of all technical evaluations, other relevant factors and standards set forth in section 9.6709, and:

(a) The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others;

(b) The danger to life and property due to flooding or erosion damage;

(c) The susceptibility of the proposed facility and its contents to flood damage and the effect of such damage on the individual owner;

(d) The importance of the services provided by the proposed facility to the community;

(e) The necessity to the facility of a waterfront location, where applicable;

(f) The availability of alternative locations for the proposed use which are not subject to flooding or erosion damage;

(g) The compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development;

(h) The relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and flood plain management program for that area;

(i) The safety of access to the property in times of flood for ordinary and emergency vehicles;

(k) The expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise, and sediment transport of the flood waters and the effects of wave action, if applicable, expected at the site; and,

(l) The costs of providing governmental services during and after flood conditions, including maintenance and repair of public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical, and water systems, and streets and bridges.

(m) A determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief;

(n) A determination that good and sufficient cause exists for the variance;

(o) Failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant;

(p) Granting the 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.

(q) That variances are interpreted in the National Flood Insurance Program based on the general zoning law principle that they pertain to a physical piece of property; they are not personal in nature and do not pertain to the structure, its inhabitants, economic or financial circumstances. They primarily address small lots in densely populated residential neighborhoods. As such, variances from the flood elevations should be quite rare.

(r) That variances may be issued for nonresidential buildings in very limited circumstances to allow a lesser degree of floodproofing, where it can be determined that such action will have low damage potential, complies with all other variance criteria, and otherwise complies with section 9.6709.

(3) Within five days of the decision, notice of the building official’s decision and of the opportunity to appeal shall be mailed to the applicant and to owners and occupants of property located within 100 feet of the subject property.

(4) The decision of the building official may be appealed to the hearings official in the manner set forth in this land use code.

(Section 9.6708, see chart at front of Chapter 9 for legislative history from 2/26/01 through 6/1/02.)