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Special Use Permits

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Land in the County is divided into different zoning districts. Each zoning district has certain uses that are permitted and certain uses that are prohibited. There are also certain uses that may be appropriate given the specific circumstances of the property and the proposed use. These are uses which are allowed only by obtaining a Special Use Permit.

Who Grants Special Use Permits:
The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) acts on Special Use Permit requests. This is a five member board appointed by the Circuit Court. The BZA meets monthly and conducts public hearings on Special Use Permit requests.

How Long Does it Take:
Depending on when the application is filed, the Special Use Permit process usually takes less than 60 days. For meeting deadline schedules, contact the Community Development Department at (540)245-5700.

How to Apply:
A presubmission conference with County staff is required. Application is made with the Zoning Administrator in person at the Community Development Office. If the applicant does not own the property, they must have property owner consent.  A sample special use permit application and BZA review plan can be found here. A $250 fee is required at the time of application. Applicants must also submit a BZA review plan with the application. The plan must be drawn to scale on 8 ½” x 11” paper and contain or be accompanied by the following:

  • Tax Map and Parcel Number
  • A scaled drawing of the tract or lot with dimensions or, a boundary survey of the lot if available 
  • Names of owners of all adjoining property – including those across the street
  • Location of all zoning districts, buildings, structures, and boundary lines
  • Type of surfacing, size, design, and dimension of all off-street parking and loading spaces
  • Location, design, and dimensions of all vehicular entrances and exits to the site
  • Locations and dimensions, including height in feet, and the proposed general use and capacity of all buildings
  • Off-street parking information
  • Erosion and sediment control information, if applicable
  • Stormwater management information, if applicable

What Happens Next:
County staff notifies adjacent property owners and advertises in a newspaper having general circulation in the County. Staff also prepares staff reports which are sent to the applicant and Board of Zoning Appeals members. Copies are also made available to the public at the Government Center.

What Happens at the Meetings:
The following process is used at the Board of Zoning Appeals meetings for Special Use Permits:

  • The Chairman will announce the request
  • The applicant or his representative will present his case for the permit
  • Persons wishing to speak in favor of the request will be allowed to do so
  • Persons wishing to speak in opposition to the request will be allowed to do so
  • The applicant or his representative will be given a chance for rebuttal
  • The public hearing will be closed
  • The request will be discussed by the BZA
  • The BZA will either approve the request, approve the request with stipulations, disapprove the request, or table the request until a later date

If Approved, What is the Next Step:
If the Special Use Permit is approved, the proposed development must go through the normal site plan (if required) and building plan review process. The BZA review plan is not a substitute for a site plan. For information on this process, contact the Community Development Department and the Building Inspection Department.

Can a BZA Decision be Appealed:
Any decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals can be appealed to the Circuit Court within 30 days of the BZA’s decision.