20.78.010            PURPOSE.

The purpose of this Chapter is to provide a mechanism for applicants to make an application for Variances and to provide specific findings to approve or deny Variances.

20.78.020            APPLICABILITY.

Modifications to the setback, coverage, height, building site area, floor area ratio and development standard regulations of this Title may be considered by a Variance.

20.78.030             APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY.

The Zoning Administrator is the Appropriate Authority to hear and decide all applications for Variances, unless said Variance is combined with another permit pursuant to Chapter 20.82 (Combined Development Permits) of this Title.

20.78.040            APPLICATION.

An application for Variance shall be made in writing on a form prescribed by the Director of Planning and Building Inspection and be accompanied by statements, plans, and other evidence supporting the Variance request.   Variances from the terms of this Title shall only be granted based upon the following findings:

A.        That because of special circumstances applicable to subject property, including size, shape, topography, location or surroundings, the strict application of this Title is found to deprive subject property of privileges enjoyed by other properties in the vicinity and under identical zone classification; and

B.         That the variance not constitute a grant of special privileges inconsistent with the limitations upon other properties in the vicinity and  zone in which such property is situated.

C.        A Variance shall not be granted for a use or activity which is not otherwise expressly authorized by the zone regulation governing the parcel of property.


A.        All Variances require a public hearing pursuant to Chapter 20.84.

B.         After conclusion of the public hearing, the Appropriate Authority shall make its decision in writing.  The decision shall include findings of fact supported by substantial evidence that:

1.         The qualifications of Section 20.78.040(A) and (B) apply to the land, structure, or use of which the Variance is sought, and

2.         The subject property is in compliance with all rules regulations pertaining to zoning uses, subdivisions, or any other applicable provisions of Title  20 and any zoning violation abatement costs have been paid.

C.        The Appropriate Authority shall include such conditions in connection with the Variance as deemed reasonable and necessary under the circumstances to preserve the integrity and character of the zoning district and to secure the general purposes of this Title.  Such conditions may include monitoring, at reasonable times and intervals, to assure compliance with the conditions set forth in the Variance.  Such conditions may include, but are not limited to, architectural and site approval, time limitations, health and safety requirements, street dedication, and street and drainage improvements.  The appropriate authority may also require such bond and guarantees as he deems appropriate to assure the compliance of the conditions.

D.        An appeal may be taken from the action of the Appropriate Authority pursuant to Chapter 20.86.

E.            Principle permitted uses authorized by Variance (i.e., Combined Development Permits for a Coastal Administrative Permit and a Variance) for other than height, setback, coverage, and building site area are considered conditional uses, appealable to the Coastal Commission.

20.78.060            REVOCATION.

A.        Where one or more of the conditions of a Variance have not been, or are not being complied with, or when a Variance was granted on the basis of false material information, written or oral, given willfully or negligently by the applicant, the Appropriate Authority may revoke or modify the Variance following public hearing pursuant to Chapter 20.84 of this Title.

B.         An appeal may be taken from such revocation or modification pursuant to Chapter 20.86.

20.78.070            EXPIRATION.

A.        Any Variance issued under the terms of this Chapter shall be valid until the date of expiration stated on the permit.  If no date of expiration is stated, or unless otherwise specified by the decision making body, any permit which allows a use, excluding a use which contemplates the construction of structures shall expire 2 years from the date of granting the permit unless use of the property has begun within this period.

B.         If no date of expiration is stated, or unless otherwise specified by the Appropriate Authority, any permit granted under this Chapter which allows for the construction of buildings or other structures shall remain valid as long as actual construction has begun within 2 years from the date of the granting of the permit.

C.        In case of an appeal, the term of the permit shall not begin until the date of the resolution of the appeal.

20.78.080            EFFECT.

Building permits shall not be issued, nor any use conducted, otherwise than in accordance with the conditions and terms of the Variance granted nor until 10 days after the mailing of notice of granting of such Variance by the Appropriate Authority, or, after granting of such Variance by the Board of Supervisors and/or the California Coastal Commission in the event of appeal.

20.78.090            REAPPLICATION.

When an application or portion of a application for a Variance is denied by the Appropriate Authority or the Board of Supervisors and/or the California Coastal Commission on appeal, no new application for a Variance substantially the same as the one denied shall be considered for a period of 1 year following such denial.

20.78.100            FILING FEE.

The application fee for a Variance shall be established from time to time by the Board of Supervisors, and no part of such fee shall be refundable, unless said refund is requested in writing concurrent with the withdrawal of the Variance and provided that the applicant has not yet been sent written notice of the applications completeness or incompleteness.  In such cases, 50% of the filing fee shall be refunded.

20.78.110            EXTENSION OF VARIANCES.

A.        The Director of Planning and Building Inspection may extend Variances upon receipt of a written request from the permittee, provided such request is made at least thirty days prior to the expiration of the Variance.  The written request shall be filed with the Appropriate Authority and set forth reasons supporting the request.

B.         The extension request shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 20.84.040A of this Title.