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Title: 21 - Coastal Zoning

Chapter: 45 - Flood Damage Prevention

Section: 60 - Variances

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 21.45.020, 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

lower elevation.

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. 95­15 (part), 1995, 2010)