A Hearing Officer serves as the appeal authority for appeals related to the application of the city's zoning ordinances and requests for variances from the terms of the Land Use Code.
The ability of the Appeal Authority to grant variances is prescribed by law, as follows: The hearing officer may grant a variance only if each of the following conditions is met:
- Literal enforcement of the zoning ordinance would cause an unreasonable hardship for the applicant that is not necessary to carry out the general purpose of the zoning ordinance;
- There are special circumstances attached to the property that do not generally apply to other properties in the same district;
- Granting the variance is essential to the enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other property in the same district;
- The variance will not substantially affect the general plan and will not be contrary to the public interest; and
- The spirit of the zoning ordinance is observed and substantial justice done.
In determining whether or not enforcement of the zoning ordinance would cause unreasonable hardship under subsection A of this section, the hearing officer may not find an unreasonable hardship unless the alleged hardship:
- Is located on or associated with the property for which the variance is sought; and
- Comes from circumstances peculiar to the property, not from conditions that are general to the neighborhood.
In determining whether or not enforcement of the zoning ordinance would cause unreasonable hardship under subsection A of this section, the hearing officer may not find an unreasonable hardship if the hardship is self-imposed or economic.
In determining whether or not there are special circumstances attached to the property under subsection A of this section, the hearing officer may find that special circumstances exist only if the special circumstances:
- Relate to the hardship complained of; and
- Deprive the property of privileges granted to other properties in the same district.
The applicant shall bear the burden of proving all of the conditions justifying a variance have been met.
Variances run with the land.
The hearing officer may not grant use variances.
In granting a variance, the appeal authority may impose additional requirements on the applicant that will:
- Mitigate any harmful effects of the variance; or
- Serve the purpose of the standard or requirement that is waived or modified.
Appeals are heard by the hearing officer on an as-needed basis.