Conditional Use Permits

What documents do I need to apply?

  1. Original Application for Conditional Use with original signatures.
  2. 35 copies of the completed application.
  3. 35 copies of the site condition map which shows: topography, streets and utilities, site drainage, existing vegetation, surface geology, location of existing structures, environment hazards, and wetlands.
  4. 35 copies of the site plan which shows: vehicular circulation, parking areas, pedestrian circulation, landscaping, general location, and use of structures.
  5. The application fee.
  6. Completed Watershed sign-off form.

Do I need a professional to represent me?

Although it is possible to prepare a conditional use permit without professional help it may not be the best approach. Whether you seek professional help may depend on the magnitude of the project and your own capability to prepare the required documents and plans. If you decide you need professional help, petitioners most often select a private planner, civil engineer, or attorney to advise and/or represent them.

How long will it take?

Prior to actually submitting an application a pre-application conference is required. These meetings usually need a week in advance notice so that the Planning Department may arrange for a representative from the major departments to be present. Following the pre-application meeting the conditional use application may be submitted to the Planning Department.

The Planning Department operates a first come first served system for scheduling conditional use permit public hearings. The minimum amount of time for a conditional use permit from acceptance to the public hearing is about 45 days. However, if there are more public hearings than the Planning and Zoning Commission can hear in one meeting the Planning Department then fills each scheduled meeting in order. If the Commission's docket is filled for many meetings, the amount of time between turning in a conditional use permit and its public hearing depends on the number of zoning public hearings in line ahead of it.

What is the likelihood that my conditional use will be approved?

Conditional use applications that comply with the zoning regulations, subdivision regulations, and the comprehensive plan are nearly always approved. The approval will usually have conditions included that must be satisfied. A condition example would be "executing an agreement with the municipality to construct streets." (Top)

What happens BEFORE the public hearing?

To get ready for the public hearing the Planning Department does the following:

  1. Gives you one or more placards to post on the property. The placards must be posted at least 21 days before the public hearing.
  2. Assigns a case number to the conditional use for tracking and reference purposes.
  3. Sends a copy of your conditional use to a number of public agencies and the local Community Council for comment. The primary public agencies are Public Works and the public utilities. The Community Councils often discuss zoning matters at their monthly meetings. You may wish to contact the council for the scheduled time and location and then attend the meeting.
  4. Mails a "Notice of Public Hearing" to each of your neighbors within a minimum of 500 feet of your property.
  5. The planner as well as other public agency staff assigned to your conditional use will visit the property and may take photographs.
  6. A post application meeting will be scheduled approximately 3 weeks before the public hearing with the planner to review your conditional use and advise you of any issues that been raised by agencies or the public. The post application meeting is often a critical decision point on whether to proceed with the public hearing at this time or not.
  7. A report is written and published to advise the Planning and Zoning Commission of the Planning Department's findings and recommendation. The report is available on the Friday before the hearing or at the public hearing. It is also posted on the Municipal website at Zoning and Platting Cases Online Notification System.

What happens at the public hearing?

The public hearings are held in the Assembly Chambers at Loussac Library. The Planning and Zoning Commission follows a published agenda. The hearing of each petition generally follows these steps:

  1. The chair will introduce the case and explain the procedure to be followed. The conditional use case number and the name of the applicant are read into the record.
  2. The chair will give the Planning Department 10 minutes to briefly outline the case.
  3. You or your representative will then have 10 minutes for his/her presentation. The Commissioners may direct questions to you through the chair. You may reserve a portion of your time for rebuttal.
  4. The chair opens the hearing for public testimony. Each person may testify for no more than three minutes and may be questioned by the Commission, through the chair, at anytime during such presentation.
  5. The chair closes the hearing to public testimony.
  6. The applicant has the right of rebuttal using the time reserved from the presentation.
  7. The chair will ask for a positive motion from the board.
  8. The chair and the Commission discuss the motion and facts in support of or in opposition to the conditional use permit.
  9. The chair calls for roll call vote on the motion. No matter how many Commissioners are present it takes 5 yes votes to approve the conditional use permit.
  10. The chair will advise the applicant of the Commission's action, including findings of fact and conclusions of law.

What do I do if my conditional use permit is approved?

To complete the conditional use permit the following must be done within the time period set in the approval:

  1. Any conditions attached to the approval must be satisfied.
  2. A "Notice of Zoning Action" must be recorded with the State District Recorder. The Planning Department will prepare the Notice of Zoning Action after it has received notice or verified the conditional use permit conditions are satisfied. Planning Department staff will also advise you of where to take the Notice for filing and what must be returned to it when the filing is complete.
  3. Finally, you must stay in compliance with the terms and conditions of your conditional use permit. Failure to do so may result in the loss of the conditional use permit.

What do I do if my conditional use permit is denied?

There are 3 options available to you if your conditional use permit is denied.

  1. Stop consideration of conditional use on the land.
  2. Prepare a new conditional use permit application that resolves the issues that caused the Planning and Zoning Commission to reject the previous conditional use permit and reapply.
  3. File a notice of appeal with the Municipal Clerk's office to have the Planning and Zoning Commission's action reviewed by the Board of Adjustment. The Board of Adjustment process is a strict legal review with a fairly rigid legal procedure. You may wish to consult an attorney before filing an appeal.

When does a conditional use permit expire?

A conditional use permit will expire at the time specified by the Planning and Zoning Commission or it may never expire. Temporary conditional use permit like a gravel pit will have specific time limits. A permanent conditional use such a parking structure would never expire.

The owner of a conditional use permit may cause the permit to expire if he/she notifies the Commission the permit is being abandon. If the conditional use is inactive for a year it will also expire.

Where can I find the actual laws regarding conditional uses?

The text of the Municipality Code of Ordinances and the Code of Regulations is available at the Municipal libraries, the Planning Department, and on the Internet at municode.

For conditional uses review the following:

  • Conditional use procedures AMC 21.15.030
  • Conditional use standards AMC 21.50


Cut-off date: The Planning Department establishes an annual schedule for the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearings which includes enough time between accepting a conditional use petition and the public hearing to do the legal notice to neighbors and solicit information from government agencies and citizens on the petition. The cut-off date is the starting point and the last day a petition can be accepted for a specific hearing.

Planning and Zoning Commission: The Planning and Zoning Commission is made up of 9 citizens appointed by the Mayor to hear, examine the proposed conditional uses and the law, and decide on whether to grant or deny the conditional use permit. The appointed Commissioners are not municipal employees. The Commission meets once a month on the 1st Monday to consider zoning items.

Pre-application conference: To give the Planning Department advance knowledge of a pending conditional use permit, a before submittal meeting is held to review the proposed conditional use permit. The meeting allows the applicant to hear of issues concerning the conditional use permit from municipal staff and the staff to hear about the project.

Site plan: A site plan is a scaled drawing of the proposed development that shows the buildings, parking areas, landscaping, trails and other project detail.

Special limitation: Special limitations or SL's are unique restrictions placed on a property with a rezoning. The restrictions can limit or prohibit land uses or require improvements such as landscaping or specific building design.

Zoning: Zoning is a system of laws to regulate use of property. It includes provisions to separate land uses and provide minimum or maximum dimensions on for instance building height, distances from property lines, and the amount of land that can be used.