WAC 173-27-170   Review criteria for variance permits.  The purpose of a variance permit is strictly limited to granting relief from specific bulk, dimensional or performance standards set forth in the applicable master program where there are extraordinary circumstances relating to the physical character or configuration of property such that the strict implementation of the master program will impose unnecessary hardships on the applicant or thwart the policies set forth in RCW 90.58.020.

(1) Variance permits should be granted in circumstances where denial of the permit would result in a thwarting of the policy enumerated in RCW 90.58.020. In all instances the applicant must demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances shall be shown and the public interest shall suffer no substantial detrimental effect.

(2) Variance permits for development and/or uses that will be located landward of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM), as defined in RCW 90.58.030 (2)(b), and/or landward of any wetland as defined in RCW 90.58.030 (2)(h), may be authorized provided the applicant can demonstrate all of the following:

(a) That the strict application of the bulk, dimensional or performance standards set forth in the applicable master program precludes, or significantly interferes with, reasonable use of the property;

(b) That the hardship described in (a) of this subsection is specifically related to the property, and is the result of unique conditions such as irregular lot shape, size, or natural features and the application of the master program, and not, for example, from deed restrictions or the applicant's own actions;

(c) That the design of the project is compatible with other authorized uses within the area and with uses planned for the area under the comprehensive plan and shoreline master program and will not cause adverse impacts to the shoreline environment;

(d) That the variance will not constitute a grant of special privilege not enjoyed by the other properties in the area;

(e) That the variance requested is the minimum necessary to afford relief; and

(f) That the public interest will suffer no substantial detrimental effect.

(3) Variance permits for development and/or uses that will be located waterward of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM), as defined in RCW 90.58.030 (2)(b), or within any wetland as defined in RCW 90.58.030 (2)(h), may be authorized provided the applicant can demonstrate all of the following:

(a) That the strict application of the bulk, dimensional or performance standards set forth in the applicable master program precludes all reasonable use of the property;

(b) That the proposal is consistent with the criteria established under subsection (2)(b) through (f) of this section; and

(c) That the public rights of navigation and use of the shorelines will not be adversely affected.

(4) In the granting of all variance permits, consideration shall be given to the cumulative impact of additional requests for like actions in the area. For example if variances were granted to other developments and/or uses in the area where similar circumstances exist the total of the variances shall also remain consistent with the policies of RCW 90.58.020 and shall not cause substantial adverse effects to the shoreline environment.

(5) Variances from the use regulations of the master program are prohibited.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 90.58.140(3) and [90.58].200. 96-20-075 (Order 95-17), 173-27-170, filed 9/30/96, effective 10/31/96.]