a. "In essence an application for a use permit or a variance
implies a challenge to the legality of the zoning ordinance as it applies to a
specific piece of property. (citations omitted) In other words, a challenge to
the validity of a zoning ordinance is a natural and foreseeable outgrowth of a
request for a special use permit or variance."
Coronet Homes, Inc. v. McKenzie, 84 Nev. 250,
255, 439 P.2d 219 (1968). No. 10.
b. "The oft repeated, although ill defined, limitation upon
the exercise of the zoning power, requires that zoning ordinances be enacted for
the health, safety, morals or general welfare of the community. (citation omitted)
Such ordinances must bear a substantial relationship to those police power purposes.
(citation omitted) And if the ordinance does, in its application to specific properties,
impose an 'unnecessary hardship,' it cannot be termed a reasonable or constitutional
exercise of the police power. To preserve the validity of the zoning ordinance
in its application to the community in general, the use permit and variance provisions
of the ordinance function as an 'escape valve,' so that when regulations which
apply to all are unnecessarily burdensome to a few because of certain unique circumstances,
a means of relief from the mandate is provided." Id. at 256.
c. "Too often a property owner will, after careful consideration,
select a site and build in conformity with, and reliance upon, the zoning ordinance
then in effect, only to face time and again attempts by others to change the zoning
plan and character of the neighborhood through the issuance of use permits and
the granting of variances to the zoning ordinance." Id. at 257.
d. Court erred by conducting a trial de novo. "Its province
was confined to a review of the record of evidence presented to the Clark County
Board of Commissioners and the Planning Department, with its primary focus on
the variance itself."
Clark Co. Bd. Comm'rs v. Taggart Constr., 96
Nev. 732, 734, 615 P.2d 965 (1980). No. 24.
e. "A variance is designed to authorize a specific use of property
in a manner otherwise proscribed. Because a variance affords relief from the literal
enforcement of a zoning ordinance, it will be strictly construed to limit relief
to the minimum variance which is sufficient to relieve the hardship. (citations
omitted) It should not be construed to include a generic class of uses, or a list
of uses." Id. at 735.
f. "Zoning is an instrument by which governmental bodies can
more effectively accommodate the needs and demands of our growing society. Coronet
Homes v. McKenzie, 84 Nev. 250, 255, 439 P.2d 219, 223 (1968). Nevertheless,
the zoning restrictions must be balanced against the right of a property owner
to develop his property to his own economic advantage. It is for this reason that
zoning plans, no matter how sophisticated they may be, generally contain, as here,
some procedures for granting variances, amendments, special use permits, or exemptions
for specific uses of specific parcels of property." Id. at 736.
g. The Commission and the Board may "disapprove under architectural
supervision a project which both bodies approved at the conditional use permit
and variance hearings."
Bd. of County Comm'rs v. CMC of Nevada, 99 Nev. 739,
746, 670 P.2d 102 (1983). No. 29.
h. "The grant or denial of a variance, like a grant or denial
of a request for a special use permit, is a discretionary act. See City of
Las Vegas v. Laughlin, 111 Nev. 557, 558, 893 P.2d 383, 384 (1995). 'If this
discretionary act is supported by substantial evidence, there is no abuse of discretion.'
Id. Substantial evidence is evidence which 'a reasonable mind might accept
as adequate to support a conclusion.' State, Emp. Security v. Hilton Hotels,
102 Nev. 606, 608, 729 P.2d 497, 498 (1986)."
Enterprise Citizens v. Clark Co. Comm'rs,
112 Nev. 649, 653, 918 P.2d 305 (1996). No. 48.
i. "[R]espondents had the burden to prove that because of the
narrowness, shallowness, topographic conditions or other exceptional conditions
of the property, the strict application of the zoning regulations would result
in 'exceptional practical difficulties to, or exceptional and undue hardships,
upon, the owner of such property.'" Id. at 654.
j. Unusual shape and excess dedications may, but "do not ipso
facto create a difficulty or hardship which warrants a variance, and it is
incumbent upon the property owner to prove what the hardship or difficulty is,
i.e., the owner of the property would be deprived of all beneficial uses of the
land if the land was used solely for the purpose allowed in that zone, the value
of the property would decrease significantly if the property was used solely for
the purpose allowed in that zone, a reasonable return on the property would not
be realized unless the variance was granted, the land is virtually useless as
zoned, or no feasible use could be made of the land as zoned." Id. at 656.
k. "Respondents never alleged or argued that they could not
receive a reasonable return from the operation of the sand and gravel pit absent
the variance permitting the batch plant." Id. at 657.
l. "Respondents never explained why the circumstances listed
in the answers to questions one and two made the property unsuitable for its zoned
residential use and therefore valueless without a variance...." Id. at
m. Although they addressed environmental, geologic, and economic
impact, noise, traffic, and safety, "at no time did the Board inquire about or
did respondents address the issue of why the lot shape, abutting railroad tracks,
nearby industrial zoning, or dedications required on Jones Boulevard created a
hardship or difficulty which warranted the variance in conjunction with the conditional
use permit. In fact, the only two times that hardship or difficulty was even mentioned,
the conclusion was that none existed; the opinion of the Board's staff was that
no legal hardship existed (although the staff proclaimed that they were not concerned
about that fact and recommended granting the variance), and one county commissioner
stated that he believed no hardship existed." Id. at 657.
n. "Based on the variance application and respondents' testimony
to the Board, it is clear that respondents provided no evidence to prove that
the unusual lot shape, abutting railroad tracks, nearby manufacturing zoning,
and dedications on Jones Boulevard created a hardship or difficulty which warranted
the Board to grant a // variance...." Id. at 657-658.
o. "The master plan of a community is a 'standard that commands
deference and a presumption of applicability,' but should not be viewed as a 'legislative
straightjacket from which no leave can be taken.' Nova Horizon
v. City Council, Reno, 105 Nev. 92, 96, 769 P.2d 721, 723 (1989)." Id.
p. "The Board permitted respondents to do indirectly what they
could not accomplish directly, i.e., manufacture concrete and asphalt in a zoning
district which expressly forbids manufacturing. Such a decision amounts to spot
zoning and provides no deference to the master plan in violation of this court's
ruling in Nova Horizon v. City Council, Reno, 105
Nev. 92, 96, 769 P.2d 721, 723 (1989). Therefore, we conclude that the Board erred
in granting the variance and that the Board's decision must be overturned." Id.
q. "An application for rezoning requires the submission of
nine separate reports addressing the impact of the rezoning on the surrounding
area. Clark County Code § 29.68.025(E). Additionally, non-conforming use
requested, i.e., zone changes, are required to have at least one public hearing
before the Board of County Commissioners. Clark County Code § 29.68.030.
By cloaking their request for a zone change as one for a variance in conjunction
with a conditional use, respondents received three major benefits. First, they
were not required to submit the nine impact reports to the Planning Commission
and the Board of County Commissioners, thereby lessening their burden of production.
Second, they avoided having to request manufacturing zoning from the Planning
Commission, which had twice before denied respondents' same request. Third, they
avoided the public hearing in front of the Planning Commission which would have
exposed their plan to greater scrutiny both by the Planning Commission and by
citizens." Id. at 10, n. 7.