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Title: 21 - Coastal Zoning

Chapter: 45 - Flood Damage Prevention

Section: 70 - Variance procedure

A. Appeal Board.

1. The board of supervisors of the county shall hear and decide appeals and requests for variances from the requirements of this chapter. Variance requests are to be in

conformance with Chapters 20.54 and 21.50D of this code.

2. The county shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged there is an error in any

requirements, decision or determination made by the floodplain administrator in the

enforcement or administration of this chapter.

3. In passing upon such applications, the county shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, standards specified in other sections of this chapter, and:

a. The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of


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


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


h. The relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and floodplain

management program for that area;

i. The safety of access to the property in time of flood for ordinary and emergency


J. The expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise and sediment transport of

the floodwaters expected at the site; and

k. 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 system, and streets and bridges.

4. Generally, variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements to be erected on a lot of one-half acre or less in size contiguous to and surrounded by lots with existing structures constructed below the base flood level, providing subsections (A)(3)(a) through (k) of this section have been fully considered. As the lot size increases beyond one-half acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.

5. Upon consideration of the factors of subsection (A)(3) of this section and the purposes of this chapter, the county may attach such conditions to the granting of variances as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this chapter.

6. The floodplain administrator shall maintain the records of all appeal actions and report any variances to the Federal Insurance Administration upon request.

B. Conditions for Variances.

1. 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.

2. Variances shall not be issued within any designated floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.

3. Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.

4. Variances shall only be issued upon:

a. A showing of good and sufficient cause;

b. A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional

hardship to the applicant; and

c. 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 of the public or conflict with existing

local laws or ordinances.

5. Variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements and for other development necessary for the conduct of a functionally dependent use provided that the provisions of subsections (B)(l) through (4) of this section are satisfied and that the structure or other development is protected by methods that minimize flood damages during the base flood and create no additional threats to public safety.

6. Any applicant to whom a variance is granted shall be given written notice that the

structure will be permitted to be built with a lowest floor elevation below the regulatory flood elevation and that the cost of flood insurance will be commensurate with the increased risk resulting from the reduced lowest floor elevation. A copy of the notice shall be recorded by the floodplain board in the office of the county recorder and shall be recorded in a manner so that it appears in the chain of title of the affected parcel of land.


(Ord. 95-15 (part), 1995, 2010)