Article VI. Variances

§ 9A-6.1 General

The Easton Board of Zoning Appeals shall have the power to consider and authorize or deny variances from the strict application of the requirements of these regulations. A variance shall be approved only if it is determined to not be contrary to the public interest and where, owing to special conditions of the lot or parcel, a literal enforcement of the provisions of these regulations, an unnecessary hardship would result. Upon consideration of the purposes of these regulations, the individual circumstances, and the considerations and limitations of this section, the Easton Board of Zoning Appeals may attach such conditions to variances as it deems necessary to further the purposes of these regulations. The Easton Board of Zoning Appeals shall notify, in writing, any applicant to whom a variance is granted to construct or substantially improve a building or structure with its lowest floor below the elevation required by these regulations that the variance is to the floodplain management requirements of these regulations only, and that the cost of Federal flood insurance will be commensurate with the increased risk, with rates up to $25 per $100 of insurance coverage. A record of all variance actions, including justification for issuance shall be maintained pursuant to Section 3.2(J) of these regulations. All provisions contained in the Town of Easton Zoning Ordinance governing the Easton Board of Zoning Appeals with respect to members, provisions for alternates, quorum, Chairman, term of office, etc. shall apply to variances sought pursuant to this Chapter. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)

§ 9A-6.2 Application for a Variance

(A) The owner of property, or the owner’s authorized agent, for which a variance is sought shall submit an application for a variance to the Floodplain Administrator.

(B) At a minimum, the application shall contain the following information: name, address, and telephone number of the applicant and property owner; legal description of the property; parcel map; description of the existing use; description of the proposed use; site map showing the location of flood hazard areas, designated floodway boundaries, flood zones, base flood elevations, and flood protection setbacks; description of the variance sought; and reason for the variance request. Variance applications shall specifically address each of the considerations in Section 6.3.

(C) If the application is for a variance to allow the lowest floor of a building or structure below the applicable minimum elevation required by these regulations, the application shall include a statement signed by the owner that, if granted, the conditions of the variance shall be recorded on the deed of the property.

(D) If the application is for a variance for a historic structure pursuant to Section 4.6 of these regulations, the application shall contain documentation that the proposed work does not preclude the structure’s continued eligibility and designation as a historic structure. The documentation shall be obtained from a source that is authorized to make such determinations (see definition of “Historic Structure”). (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)

§ 9A-6.3 Considerations for Variances

The Floodplain Administrator shall request comments on variance applications from MDE (NFIP State Coordinator) and shall provide such comments to the Easton Board of Zoning Appeals. In considering variance applications, the Easton Board of Zoning Appeals shall consider and make findings of fact on all evaluations, all relevant factors, requirements specified in other sections of these regulations, and the following factors:

(A) The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others.

(B) The danger to life and property due to flooding or erosion damage.

(C) The susceptibility of the proposed development and its contents (if applicable) to flood damage and the effect of such damage on the individual owner.

(D) The importance of the services to the community provided by the proposed development.

(E) The availability of alternative locations for the proposed use which are not subject to, or are subject to less, flooding or erosion damage.

(F) The necessity to the facility of a waterfront location, where applicable, or if the facility is a functionally dependent use.

(G) The compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development.

(H) The relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan for that area.

(I) The safety of access to the property in times of flood for passenger vehicles and emergency vehicles.

(J) The expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise, and sediment transport of the floodwaters and the effects of wave action, if applicable, expected at the site.

(K) The costs of providing government services during and after flood conditions, including maintenance and repair of public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical, and water systems, and streets and bridges.

(L) The comments provided by MDE (NFIP State Coordinator). (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)

§ 9A-6.4 Limitations for Granting Variances

The Easton Board of Zoning Appeals shall make an affirmative decision on a variance request only upon:

(A) A showing of good and sufficient cause.

(B) A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship due to the physical characteristics of the property. Increased cost or inconvenience of meeting the requirements of these regulations does not constitute an exceptional hardship to the applicant.

(C) A determination that the granting of a variance for development within any designated floodway, or flood hazard area with base flood elevations but no designated floodway, will not result in increased flood heights beyond that which is allowed in these regulations.

(D) A determination that the granting of a variance will not result in additional threats to public safety; extraordinary public expense, nuisances, fraud or victimization of the public, or conflict with existing local laws.

(E) A determination that the building, structure or other development is protected by methods to minimize flood damages.

(F) A determination that the variance is the minimum necessary to afford relief, considering the flood hazard. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)