Del Norte County Code
20 - Zoning
47 - Flood Damage Prevention
60 - Variance
The issuance of a variance pursuant to this section is for floodplain management purposes
only. Insurance premium rates are determined by statute according to actuarial risk and will not
be modified by the granting of a variance. Variance requests regarding zoning criteria and the
hearing and notice process to be followed for this section are to be in conformance with Chapters
20.54 and 21.50D (Variances) of this code. This section establishes the criteria the county shall
use to examine a variance request from the provisions of this chapter and to approve or
disapprove such request.
The variance criteria set forth in this section of the ordinance are based on the general
principle of zoning law that variances pertain to a piece of property and are not personal in
nature. A variance may be granted for a parcel of property with physical characteristics so
unusual that complying with the requirements of this ordinance would create an exceptional
hardship to the applicant or the surrounding property owners. The characteristics must be unique
to the property and not be shared by adjacent parcels. The unique characteristic must pertain to
the land itself, not to the structure, its inhabitants, or the property owners.
It is the duty of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Del Norte to help protect its
citizens from flooding. This need is so compelling and the implications of the cost of insuring a
structure built below flood level are so serious that variances from the flood elevation or from
other requirements in the flood ordinance are quite rare. The long term goal of preventing and
reducing flood loss and damage can only be met if variances are strictly limited. Therefore, the
variance guidelines provided in this ordinance are more detailed and contain multiple provisions
that must be met before a variance can be property granted. The criteria are designed to screen out those situations in which alternatives other than a variance are more appropriate.
A. Variances shall only be issued upon:
1. A showing of good and sufficient cause;
2. A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant;
3. A determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization to the public, or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.
B. Variances may be issued for the reconstruction, rehabilitation or restoration of historic
structures, as defined in Section 20.47.020, without regard to the procedures set forth in the
remainder of this section.
C. Variances shall not be issued within any designated floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
D. Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum
necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.
E. Variances granted to construct the lowest living floor below the base flood elevation will require the county to inform the applicant in writing that granting of such variance will increase the cost of flood insurance commensurate with the increased risk resulting from the
F. Variances granted shall be in a written form and a copy of such variance and the
accompanying written report shall be forwarded to the Federal Administrator.
(Ord. 95-15 (part), 1995, 2010)