City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

Title 17E
Chapter 17E.030
Section 17E.030.100

Title 17E Environmental Standards

Chapter 17E.030 Floodplain Management

Section 17E.030.100 Variances
  1. Conditions.

A variance shall be granted if conditions set forth in SMC 17G.060.170(E) are met. In addition to SMC 17G.060.170(E), the following additional conditions should be considered:

  1. Generally, the only condition under which a variance from the elevation standard is issued is 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 the decision criteria in this section have been fully considered. As the lot size increases the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases. Variances from the standards and conditions of this chapter are not allowed for residential uses in the floodway except for historic buildings as allowed by this section.
  1. Variances may be issued for the reconstruction, rehabilitation or restoration of structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the State Inventory of Historic Places, or the Spokane Register of Historic Places, upon a determination that the proposed repair or rehabilitation will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a historic structure and the variance is the minimum necessary to preserve the historic character and design of the structure.
  1. Variances will not be issued within a designated floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
  1. Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.
  1. Variances will only be issued upon a:
  1. showing of good and sufficient cause;
  1. determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant;
  1. 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 or victimization of the public or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.
  1. Variances as interpreted in the National Flood Insurance Program are based on the general zoning law principle that they pertain to a physical piece of property; they are not personal in nature and do not pertain to the structure, its inhabitants, economic or financial circumstances. They primarily address small lots in densely populated residential neighborhoods.
  1. 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 base flood elevation and that the cost of flood insurance will be commensurate with the increased risk resulting from the reduced lowest floor elevation and that such construction below the BFE increases risks to life and property.
  1. Variances will be processed as set forth in Table 17G.060-3.
  1. The fees for processing a variance are set forth in SMC 8.02.066(G).

Date Passed: Monday, October 25, 2021

Effective Date: Thursday, December 2, 2021

ORD C36118 Section 7