Skip to main content
This section is included in your selections.

A. Generally, variances may be issued for new construction, substantial improvement, and other proposed new development 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 that the procedures of Articles IV and V of this chapter have been fully considered. As the lot size increases beyond one-half acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.

B. Variances may be issued for the repair or rehabilitation of “historic structures” (as defined in SMC 15.16.050) upon a determination that the proposed repair or rehabilitation will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as an historic structure and the variance is the minimum necessary to preserve the historic character and design of the structure.

C. Variances shall not be issued within any mapped regulatory 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. “Minimum necessary” means to afford relief with a minimum of deviation from the requirements of this chapter. For example, in the case of variances to an elevation requirement, this means the City Council need not grant permission for the applicant to build at grade, or even to whatever elevation the applicant proposes, but only to that elevation which the City Council believes will both provide relief and preserve the integrity of the local ordinance. Any applicant to whom a variance is granted shall be given written notice over the signature of a community official that:

1. The issuance of a variance to construct a structure below the base flood level will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance up to amounts as high as $25.00 for $100.00 of insurance coverage; and

2. Such construction below the base flood level increases risks to life and property. It is recommended that a copy of the notice shall be recorded by the Floodplain Administrator in the office of the County of Sonoma Recorder and shall be recorded in a manner so that it appears in the chain of title of the affected parcel of land.

E. The Floodplain Administrator will maintain a record of all variance actions, including justification for their issuance, and report such variances issued in its biennial report submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. (Ord. 1084, 2016)