Community Development  |  SP & ZMA Process
brown-horizontal-line

Special Use Permits & Zoning Map Amendments

A special use permit (SP) is a permit for a use not permitted in a particular district except by a special use permit as specified within the regulations for each zoning district in the Zoning Ordinance. SPs are carried out through a legislative process and are granted at the discretion of the Board of Supervisors, and are initiated by a property owner or contract purchaser.

A zoning map amendment (ZMA), or rezoning, is an amendment to the zoning map, which may include changing the boundaries of one or more districts, the district classification of one or more parcels or the proffers from an existing map amendment.   ZMAs are carried out through a legislative process and are granted at the discretion of the Board of Supervisors.  Zoning map amendments (ZMAs), or rezonings, may be initiated by a property owner.  The Albemarle County Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors may also initiate ZMAs.
 
Click here to see a flowchart of the SP & ZMA Review Process

A pre-application meeting is required prior to submitting an application for an SP or ZMA to provide the prospective applicant with important information about the review of the application. To apply for an SP or ZMA, a property owner must follow these steps:

1) Discuss your request with staff.
First, contact either
Ron Higgins or David Benish who will discuss your proposal and determine if you should have either an exploratory or mandatory pre-application meeting.  Based on the nature of the proposal and the level of information available at the meeting, it may be determined that the mandatory pre-application meeting requirement can be waived.  Staff will notify the applicant if an additional mandatory pre-application meeting is required. If staff determines that the mandatory pre-application meeting requirement has been satisfied, the applicant may proceed to Step 3.

2) Request a pre-application meeting. 
If it is determined that a mandatory pre-application meeting is needed, then the applicant must submit a Pre-Application Meeting Request Form.  Pre-application meetings are held every Monday at 2 pm, 3 pm or 4 pm, excluding holidays.  For more information about the mandatory pre-application meeting including the Meeing Request Form, download and review the
Pre-application Meeting Process, Checklist, and Meeting Request Form.

Once the request for a pre-application meeting has been received staff will contact the applicant and setup a time for the actual meeting.

Following the pre-application meeting, staff will provide the applicant a pre-application comment form and checklist within ten (10) days of that meeting.

Mandatory pre-applications meetings cannot happen any sooner than 2 weeks prior to the official submittal date identified here, Application Submittal & Review Schedule.
 
3) Submit an application.
The applicant may then submit an application by completing an application form and submitting all required supplemental information as specified on the application form and the appropriate checklist. Applications are due to Community Development on or before the third Monday of every month. See the Application Submittal & Review Schedule below.

Special Use Permit Applications:
Special Use Permit Application
Checklist for a Special Use Permit - This is an example of the checklist you will be provided by staff after the after the pre-application meeting

Rezoning Applications:
Rezoning Application
Checklist for Neighborhood Model District Rezoning
 - This is an example of the checklist you will be provided by staff after the after the pre-application meeting
Checklist for Planned Development District Rezoning - This is an example of the checklist you will be provided by staff after the after the pre-application meeting
Checklist for Conventional District Rezoning - This is an example of the checklist you will be provided by staff after the after the pre-application meeting
 
4) Review of the application for completeness and fee payment.
Once the County has received an application staff will review the application for completeness.  Staff will notify the applicant of the status of the application within ten (10) days of the Monday submittal date* noted in the review schedule below.
*Please note that some submittal dates may be the Tuesday after a Monday holiday, see schedule below.

Complete Application
If the application is deemed complete, the applicant will be contacted regarding the application fee and when it must be paid to initiate the review of the application within the review cycle noted in the review schedule below.  This fee must be paid within fifteen (15) days of the Monday submittal date.  If the fee is not received within the fifteen (15) days of the Monday submittal date, the application will be processed during the next review cycle for which the fee has been paid within fifteen (15) days of the Monday submittal date associated with that review cycle.

Incomplete Application
If the application is deemed incomplete, the applicant will be contacted regarding the information necessary to address the deficiencies in the application.  For the application to be deemed complete and processed within the review cycle of the Monday submittal date the application was originally submitted, then these deficiencies must be addressed, submitted back to staff and and deemed complete within ten (10) days of that Monday submittal date. If the revisions addressing the deficiencies are not submitted back to staff and deemed complete until after the ten (10) days from that Monday submittal date, the application will be processed during the next review cycle noted in the review schedule below. 

Application Submittal & Review Schedule**

** Staff will advise the applicant at the pre-application meeting if a work session with the Planning Commission is recommended (refer to Step 7).

5) Host a community meeting.
Applicants are required to host a community meeting within 30 days of submitting the application fee. The purpose of the meeting is to provide the public with information about the proposed project and an opportunity to provide feedback. The community meeting may be waived under certain circumstances at the discretion of the planning director. Staff will provide the applicant with community meeting guidelines along with the comments provided after the mandatory pre-application meeting.

6) Receive written comments from County staff.
If the application is deemed complete and the fee is paid, staff will provide the applicant with comments on the application within 46 days of the Monday submittal date.  Upon request, County staff may meet with the applicant to review comments.

7) Schedule an optional work session with the Planning Commission.
For any application, the director of planning may recommend a work session to present the proposed project to the Planning Commission, seek direction in addressing issues related to the project, and give the commission the opportunity to receive public comments about the project.

8) Amend and resubmit application.
Once staff comments are received, the applicant may revise and resubmit the application or request a public hearing with the Planning Commission.  Resubmittals may be made by the Monday outlined in the schedule below. The first resubmittal of an application is free, while subsequent resubmittals require an additional fee as noted within the application. Staff comments are due to the applicant 30 days after the resubmittal deadline.

Submittal & Review Schedule

9) Request a public hearing.
Although not required, it is strongly recommended that the applicant first receive comments from staff before requesting a public hearing before the Planning Commission on the application (See Step 6).  The Planning Commission will act on the application within 90 days from the date the application is first referred to the commission provided that the applicant requests a Planning Commission public hearing after receipt of the staff's first review comments in accordance with the review schedule linked above or in the front office of Community Development.  Once recommended to the Board by the Planning Commission, the application will be acted upon within 12 months of the first meeting of the commission after the application was referred to the commission.