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Building & Zoning – Zoning Ordinance - Article 8

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ARTICLE 8. SPECIAL USE PERMITS

Sec. 8-1. Purpose of special use permit procedure. 

     The purpose of the special use permit procedure is to provide a means for the board of supervisors to authorize, after review and subject to appropriate conditions, certain specified uses which, although generally appropriate in the district in which they are permitted by this Ordinance, have a potentially greater impact on neighboring properties than those uses which are permitted by right in the district. The special use procedure is intended to provide the opportunity for the planning commission and the board of supervisors to review of each proposed special use and its potential impacts on surrounding properties and land uses, with special regard for the particular circumstances of each case. It is also intended to provide an opportunity for the planning commission to recommend and for the board of supervisors to impose such conditions as are necessary to ensure that the use will be compatible with the surrounding area and consistent with the intent of the particular district and the purposes of this Ordinance. 

Sec. 8-2. Special use permit required.

     A use indicated as permitted as a special use by any of the district regulations set forth in this Ordinance shall be authorized only upon approval of a special use permit by the board of supervisors. No building permit or certificate of occupancy for a special use or for a building devoted to a special use shall be issued unless a special use permit for such use has been approved in accordance with the provisions of this article.

Sec. 8-3. Applications for special use permits.

     Applications for special use permits shall be submitted to the zoning administrator on forms provided for such purpose. Applications may be filed by the owner of the property or, with the written consent of the owner, the contract purchaser of the property or any agent of the owner. Applications shall be accompanied by such plans and information as required by this article.

Sec. 8-4. Required plans.

     Special use permit applications shall be accompanied by plans, drawn to scale, and including the following information:

  1. A location map showing the subject property and adjacent streets and roads, water bodies, subdivisions, political boundaries, zoning patterns, and the use of adjacent properties and names of the owners;
     

  2. A site plan of the subject property showing its boundaries, existing and proposed buildings and uses, yards, open spaces, pedestrian walkways, landscaping, screening and buffering, fences, signs, access to the site, and on-site parking and vehicular circulation;
     

  3. Easements, water bodies, floodplains, wetlands and other natural features, including major trees and wooded areas, and steep slopes;
     

  4. Existing and proposed streets, utilities and drainage facilities;
     

  5. Elevation drawings and general floor plans of all buildings;
     

  6. In the case of a special use application for any mineral extraction activity for which a permit to conduct mining and reclamation operations is required by applicable state law, the application for the special use permit shall include copies of such information and such elements of the permit application materials, including the proposed postmining land use and reclamation plan, required for permits by the pertinent state regulatory agency as deemed necessary by the planning commission for the purposes of enforcing the provisions of this Ordinance. Upon direction from the planning commission, the zoning administrator may waive any of the special use permit plan requirements set forth elsewhere in this section when plans and information contained in the state permit application materials provide the information necessary for review and action on the special use permit application.

     In addition to the above, the zoning administrator may require such other information as deemed necessary to determine compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance and to evaluate potential impacts of the proposed special use. The zoning administrator may waive such plan elements as deemed unnecessary to determine compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance, to evaluate the potential impacts on surrounding properties and to establish an adjacent record of the application. Plans shall be submitted in such numbers as determined by written policy of the planning commission. 

Sec. 8-5. Procedure for review and approval.

     8-5.1. Review by zoning administrator. Within thirty (30) days of receipt of a special use permit application and after review of same, the zoning administrator shall forward to the planning commission the application, plans and related materials. The zoning administrator shall also submit to the planning commission a report indicating the manner in which the proposed special use complies or does not comply with the applicable provisions of this Ordinance and any recommendations the zoning administrator may have regarding approval, disapproval or conditions to be attached to the proposed use or plans.

     8-5.2. Action by planning commission.

  1. After receiving a special use application, the planning commission shall hold a public hearing thereon. The commission shall give notice of such hearing as required by the provisions of section 15.1-431 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended.
     

  2. After conducting a public hearing and reviewing the application for compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance, the planning commission shall make a recommendation to the board of supervisors. The commission may recommend approval or disapproval, or that additional requirements or conditions be attached in accordance with section 8-6 of this article. The commission shall take action and forward a report to the board of supervisors within sixty (60) days after its public hearing, unless the applicant requests additional time to consider or to prepare revised plans.

     8-5.3. Action by board of supervisors. Upon receiving the recommendation of the planning commission, the board of supervisors shall give notice as required by the provisions of section 15.1-431 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, and hold a public hearing on the application. The board of supervisors may approve or disapprove the application, may accept or modify the conditions recommended by the planning commission, or may attach additional conditions consistent with the provisions of section 8-6 of this article. The board of supervisors may also refer the application back to the planning commission for further consideration or advice, and in which case shall specify a time period within which the commission shall report. The action of the board of supervisors shall be by resolution which shall be set forth in writing and preserved among its records.

Sec. 8-6. Standards and guidelines.

     8-6.1. Standards for approval. A special use permit shall be approved only when the board of supervisors is satisfied that the use and the operation thereof: Will not be in conflict with the objectives of the comprehensive plan; will not adversely affect adjoining and surrounding property; will not unreasonably impair light and air, convenience of access or safety from fire, flood and other dangers; will not create or unreasonably increase congestion on adjacent streets; will not overburden utilities, public facilities or public services; will not adversely affect groundwater, surface water or wetlands resources; will conform with applicable requirements pertaining to erosion and sediment control; and will not otherwise be contrary to the stated intent and purpose of this Ordinance.

     8-6.2. Factors to be considered. In evaluating and acting upon special use permit applications, the planning commission and the board of supervisors shall consider, among other factors: The adequacy of utilities, access, and necessary public facilities and services; off-street parking and vehicular circulation; the arrangement of and relationship among elements of the site plan; the extent to which natural vegetation and topographic features are to be retained; and the adequacy of separation, landscaping, buffers, yards and other features to protect adjacent properties from potential adverse effects of the special use.

     8-6.3. Conditions may be imposed. The planning commission may recommend and the board of supervisors may impose such reasonable requirements and conditions as deemed necessary to meet the guidelines set forth in this article and to accomplish the intent and purpose of this Ordinance. In the case of a special use application for any mineral extraction activity for which a permit to conduct mining and reclamation operations is required by applicable state law, the board of supervisors may condition its approval on issuance of the permit by the appropriate state agency and compliance with the requirements of the state permit.

     8-6.4. Compliance with district regulations. Except to the extent that greater requirements may be imposed by the board of supervisors pursuant to the provisions of this article, a special use shall comply with the regulations and standards generally applicable within the district in which it is located and with such specific conditions for the particular use as may be set forth in the district regulations.

Sec. 8-7. Amendments to special use permits.

     Any amendment or change of substance to an approved special use permit shall be subject to the same procedures and standards as for a new application. Minor modifications to approved site plans or building details may be authorized by the zoning administrator when such modifications do not: Significantly alter the boundaries of the property; conflict with specific requirements of this Ordinance or conditions of the approved special use permit; decrease the width or depth of any yard, setback or buffer area; significantly alter points of access to the property or the internal arrangement of site plan elements; or have an appreciable effect on surrounding properties.

Sec. 8-8. Compliance with approved plans.

     Failure to comply with approved plans or any conditions of a special use permit shall constitute a violation of the provisions of this Ordinance and shall be cause for revocation of the special use permit by the zoning administrator.

Sec. 8-9. Expiration.

     An approved special use permit shall become null and void if no building permit to construct the authorized improvements has been issued within twelve (12) months of the date of approval by the board of supervisors. A special use permit for which no building permit is required shall become null and void if the use is not established within twelve (12) months of the date of approval by the board of supervisors. Upon written request by the applicant, the zoning administrator may grant one (1) sixty-day extension of the expiration date of a special use permit.

Sec. 8-10. Existing uses.

     Any use permitted as a special use in the district in which it is located and for which no special use permit has been approved shall be considered a nonconforming use, provided such use was legally established prior to the effective date of this Ordinance.

Sec. 8-11. Fees. 

     A filing fee in such amount as established by general rule by the board of supervisors shall be submitted with each application for approval of a special use permit.

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