A conditional use permit allows a city or county to consider special uses for land that may be needed or desired by a particular community. It is normally granted through a public hearing.

What Is the Process for Applying for a Conditional Use Permit?

A conditional use permit application proposed by a project promoter is considered at a public hearing and, if approved, is subject to a number of important restrictions. Depending on local law, hearings are typically held by a board of zoning, a planning commission, or a zoning administrator. Property owners near the site are sent advance notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing in case they want to be heard.

What Limitations Do Conditional Use Permits Have?

Generally, conditional use permits do not allow uses prohibited by zoning laws or uses not explicitly allowed by the permit. The conditional use permit includes provisions which limit the applicant's ability to use the property. Under certain situations, local governments may include provisions from federal laws and expand the variety of uses allowed.

What Standards Determine If a Conditional Use Permit Should be Granted?

There are several standards communities have used in considering whether a conditional use permit should be granted. The following standards are the most common:

  • General Welfare Standard - The use for which a conditional use permit is sought will not be damaging to the public interests, property or improvements
  • Nuisance Standard - Any use found to be unacceptable or clashing with the nature of the city and its surroundings due to noise, dust, odors, or other unattractive features may be prohibited
  • General Plan Consistency Standard -Although not expressed anywhere, conditional use permits are subject to the general plan of the community in which the permit is sought
  • Zoning Consistency Standard - To get a conditional use permit, the applicant must show that the considered use is well-suited with the zoning laws, and that such use would be important or attractive to the public convenience or interests.

Can I Keep a Conditional Use Permit When I Sell the Property?

Unfortunately, once you sell property that has a conditional use permit, the permit is sold with the property. This means that the permit can only be transferred to the party purchasing the property rather than transferred to another piece of property.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Conditional Use Permit Problem?

An experienced real estate lawyer can help you understand the complex zoning laws in your area. A property lawyer can also help you oppose a proposed conditional use permit.