Special Use Permits

About the Permits

For some land uses, a Special Use Permit is required in certain zoning districts where the use is not permitted as a matter of right but may be acceptable in certain locations under specific conditions. The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission review each of these requests individually and provide opportunities for public comment during advertised public hearings.
Special Use Permits are often required for uses that are generally thought of as having external or "spillover" effects that could negatively affect neighboring properties. Included are uses that produce higher than normal levels of noise, light, odor, or activity. In approving a Special Use Permit, the Board of Supervisors, may impose reasonable conditions on the use to ensure its compatibility with its surroundings.

Permit Process

Applications are due no later than the first business day of each month. Considerations in reviewing requests for Special Use Permits include:

  • Conditions that would mitigate any potential negative impacts
  • Potential service, transportation, fiscal, and environmental impacts
  • Relationship of the use to its surroundings

Once issued, Special Use Permits and any conditions imposed run with the land for an indefinite period unless specifically conditioned otherwise.
There is no inherent right to obtain a Special Use Permit. Special Use Permits are a privilege granted by the County. It falls to the applicant to demonstrate the appropriateness of establishing the special use on the specific property. The Special Use Permit process usually takes about 90 days but can take longer if the issues are especially complex.

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