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Thread: Special use permit/special exception approvals

  1. #1

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    Special use permit/special exception approvals

    Hi all - Do any of you have provisions in your zoning ordinances for administratively approving special use permits or special exception permits by the Zoning Administrator or Department Director? We are in the beginning stages of a zoning ordinance re-write and are being asked to research this topic as our Town Attorney says it is a viable thing but I don't quite know how without opening up a lot of subjectiveness to the process.

    Any thoughts or ideas are always helpful. Thanks

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WadeBurke
    Hi all - Do any of you have provisions in your zoning ordinances for administratively approving special use permits or special exception permits by the Zoning Administrator or Department Director? We are in the beginning stages of a zoning ordinance re-write and are being asked to research this topic as our Town Attorney says it is a viable thing but I don't quite know how without opening up a lot of subjectiveness to the process.

    Any thoughts or ideas are always helpful. Thanks
    Yes, we do. But only for cell antennas/commercial dishes. We have a special use waiver process that is managed administratively. It seems to work pretty well.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  3. #3

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    Waivers vs. Approvals

    Thanks, are you talking about a waiver for submitting an application for new cell antennas and dishes? Here they want to provide administrative approval by staff of actual applications therefore seeming to put the legislative action and decision making on our heads.



    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Yes, we do. But only for cell antennas/commercial dishes. We have a special use waiver process that is managed administratively. It seems to work pretty well.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    NO,
    because of your point about "opening up a lot of subjectiveness to the process."
    besides not allowed by State Code.
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  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WadeBurke
    Thanks, are you talking about a waiver for submitting an application for new cell antennas and dishes? Here they want to provide administrative approval by staff of actual applications therefore seeming to put the legislative action and decision making on our heads.
    No, no....they still need to apply and we review/approve the application administratively without having to go to Plan Commission/Village Board for review/approval. Then once the adminstrative review is done in the Planning Dept., they need to apply for building permits.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  6. #6
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Danger Will Robbins...

    Be careful -

    If they want to give you that kind of power, make sure the rules are clear as to what is required for approval - very specific criteria -

    also, how will you handle comments form the public/abutters? there has to be some due process for that

  7. #7

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    Exactly my point - thanks!

    Well, the thinking was that should a request be received to docket the case for review staff would do so and/or if staff did not feel approval was in order we would reserve the right to docket the case. Due Process just seems lost, I understand wanting to speed up a perceived lenghtly process for approval but I just find the entire concept slightly un-nerving and there does not seem to be alot of jurisdictions applying this method out there.


    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian
    Be careful -

    If they want to give you that kind of power, make sure the rules are clear as to what is required for approval - very specific criteria -

    also, how will you handle comments form the public/abutters? there has to be some due process for that

  8. #8
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Read your state statutes on the subject several times. We developed a short cut system, but they all still go before the board with a public hearing. What are normally called "conditional uses" have public notice requirements as would a zone map change (20 days in advance: posting the property, personal notice to all properties withing 200 feet). But then we have three types of "exceptions" (state statute term) where only the immediately adjacent owners are notified of the advertised hearing: reductions to parking and landscaping requirements; nonconformity permits; and personal domestic animals.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    In my neck of the woods, we have: "Uses By Right/Permitted Uses" (ie go ahead and get your permits), "Conditional Uses" (ie you can do it, if you meet X, Y, and Z requirements), "Special Uses" (ie you might be able to do, but you have to go through a public hearing and granted approval by the City Council), and "Not Permitted" (ie sorry, you're out of luck).

    A Conditional Use could be considered similar to an adminstrative approval, except that the conditions are VERY clear (such as use must be on a parcel that fronts on a road classified as Minor Collector or greater).

    The closest we have to this is also our Telecommunications Ordinance. It wasn't written by me and I don't like it. It is a form of a Conditional Use, but it has staff determining when no "adverse impacts" exist or "all other locations are not feasible." I hate being put in that position.

    I concur with Luckless: be afraid...very, very afraid of that type of discretionary power. Not that it is necessarily wrong, but it is too easy for others to second-guess.

    My Council loves to put conditions of approval that make things subject to the apprvoal of the Planning Director. I am always resisting that.

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