Pawn Shop Entitled To Variance Because Eminent Domain Uniquely Burdened Property

Tuesday, July 03, 2018 9:29 am
July 2018 - Volume 46 Number 7

Arizona’s high court clarified: A zoning board of adjustment can grant a variance from a distance requirement when the owner’s need for the variance arises from the property’s physical characteristics.

Facts: William Jachimek leased the building on an odd corner lot in the City of Phoenix, Arizona. The parcel has some unusual physical features caused by an eminent domain action: the property is much smaller than any of the nearby corner lots with the same zoning designation (C-3). Because the frontage area around the building was taken by eminent domain, the building abuts the road. Relatedly, the building has very little parking.

Jachimek planned to operate a pawn shop in the building. Pawn shops are a permitted use in the C-3 zone. The previous use---an “adult theatre”---was not. However, pawn shops are subject to a distance requirement. A pawn shop building’s exterior walls must be at least 500 feet from a residential district, and Jachimek’s building was not. Jachimek sought a variance from the 500-foot requirement. The City of Phoenix’s Board of Adjustment conditionally approved the variance, which was opposed by Pawn 1st, LLC, a compe[..]