A. Deviations from the requirements of this chapter may be approved after a determination of equivalence is made by the Planning Director according to the criteria in this section. The variance process, as provided by Chapter 14.70 SMC, is not required for deviations but is available to all applicants if they prefer to use that process.
B. A permit applicant may propose deviations from the strict provisions of this chapter and request in writing that the Planning Director determine that the proposed deviations are equal in kind, extent, purpose, and impact as would compliance with the development regulations being deviated from. The Director’s decision in approving or denying a requested determination of equivalence shall be made in writing as a type 2 permit with findings of fact and conclusions and may include conditions of approval.
C. Deviations shall not be requested or approved from allowed uses, maximum building heights, and minimum setbacks. Flexibility in administration of building heights and setbacks shall require a variance pursuant to Chapter 14.70 SMC.
D. Deviations from numerical standards shall be no more than a ten (10) percent departure from the standard. Requests in excess of ten (10) percent shall require a variance pursuant to Chapter 14.70 SMC.
F. The Director’s decision to deny a requested determination of equivalence shall not be subject to appeal. Upon the denial of a requested determination of equivalence, the applicant may submit an application for a variance to the subject development regulation as provided by Chapter 14.70 SMC.
G. The Director may only approve a requested determination of equivalence when all of the following criteria are satisfied:
1. The request constitutes an equivalent and alternative method of achieving the purpose and intent of the subject development regulation.
2. The extent to which the proposed land development implements the purpose and intent of this chapter is not compromised or diminished.
3. The deviation does not create additional adverse environmental or land use impacts.
4. The deviation is the minimum necessary to achieve the requested relief.
5. The cumulative effect of multiple deviations for a single structure or project does not compromise or diminish the purpose and intent of this chapter.
H. In approving a requested determination of equivalence, the Director may impose conditions of approval as necessary to ensure that the decisional criteria above are satisfied. The decision to impose conditions shall be appealable to the Hearing Examiner as provided by Chapters 14.20 and 14.90 SMC. (Ord. 2425, 2022)