Special Use Permits

About the Permits

Special Use Permits are required for certain land uses in certain zoning districts where the land use may or may not be an acceptable neighbor to surrounding properties or may be acceptable only under certain 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 necessary for those uses which are generally thought of as having external or "spillover" impacts, one or more of which may negatively affect a neighboring property. Included are uses that produce higher than normal levels of noise, light, odor, or activity. The Board of Supervisors, in approving a Special Use Permit, may impose any number of reasonable conditions on the use to ensure its compatibility with its surroundings.

Permit Process

Considerations in reviewing requests for Special Use Permits include:
  • Conditions that would ameliorate the potential negative impacts
  • Potential service, fiscal, transportation and environmental impacts
  • Relationship of use to its surroundings
Once issued, Special Use Permits and any conditions imposed run with the land for an indefinite period of time 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 necessity for and appropriateness of establishing the special use on the specific property. The Special Use Permit process usually takes approximately 90 days, longer if the issues are more complex.