Conditional Zoning Districts, Conditional Use Permits, General Use District Rezonings and Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments all require review and approval by the Board of Commissioners, after a Public Hearing and review by the Planning Board.
The Chatham County Board of Commissioners hold 10 Joint Public Hearings a year with the Planning Board. The Public Hearings are held during the Board of Commissioners' last regular meeting in January, February, March, April, May, June, August, September, October and November.
Click here for the online calendar.
For the Zoning Deadlines Calendar, click here.
Conditional Zoning District Rezoning
Conditional Zoning Districts are zoning districts in which the development and use of the property is subject to predetermined ordinance standards and the rules, regulations, and conditions imposed as part of the legislative decision creating the district and applying it to the particular property. Only property owners or the authorized agent of the property owner may submit an application for a Conditional Zoning District.
Conditional Use Permits
A land use designated as a "Conditional Use" in a particular zoning district is one that, because of its inherent nature, extent and external effects, generally is not appropriate in the district unless subject to special standards and review that will ensure it is located, designed and operated in a manner that is in harmony with neighboring development and does not adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare. Development associated with a land use designated as a Conditional Use is only allowed persuant to a Conditional Use Permit issued by the Board of Commissioners.
In reviewing Conditional Use Permits, the Board of Commissioners and Planning Board follow a quasi-judicial procedure. In a quasi-judicial procedure, the Boards act much like a panel of judges. They hold a public hearing to allow the staff, applicant and other interested parties to present competent, substantial, and material factual evidence relating to the required conclusions (listed below). Following the public hearing, the Planning Board reviews the evidence submitted into the record and makes a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners based on that evidence. The Board of Commissioners then discuss the application and makes findings of fact supported by the presented evidence. Based on those findings, the Board decides whether or not it can reach each of the required conclusions. It may approve a Conditional Use Permit only if it reaches all of the required conclusions. the Board may approve a Permit subject to conditions reasonably necessary to allow it to reach the required conclusions.
Note: Because the Boards may only consider evidence presented at the public hearing, it is improper for the petitioner or other interested parties to communicate with Board members outside of the hearing.
Before the Board of Commissioners can approve any Conditional Use Permit, it must first reach each of the following conclusions:
- The use requested is among those listed as an eligible conditional use in the district in which the subject property is located or is to be located.
- The requested conditional use permit is either essential or desireable for the public convenience or welfare.
- The requested permit will not impair the integrity or character of the surrounding or adjoining districts, and will not be detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the community.
- The requested permit will be consistent with the objectives of the Land Use Plan.
- Adequate utilities, access roads, storm drainage, recreation, open space, and other necessary facilities have been or are being provided consistent with the County's plans, policies and regulations.
Note: The applicant bears the burden of presenting sufficient factual evidence to support findings of fact that allow the Board to reasonably reach each of the required conclusions.
Conditional Use Permit Application Fee: $500 + $25 per Acre
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General Use Zoning District Rezoning
General Use Zoning Districts are the standard zoning districts in the County. Table 10.13 of the Zoning Ordinance lists the uses that are permitted in each district. Rezoning proposals may be initiated by the Planning Director or through a directive to the Planning Director from the Board of Commissioners. Property owners or their authorized agent may also submit an application to rezone their property to a General Use Zoning District with payment of the application fee.
General Use District Rezoning Application Fee: $500 + $25 per Acre
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Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments
When necessary to implement current County policy or reflect changing County policy, the Board of Commissioners or Planning Board may initiate a text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance. Any person who owns property or resides in the zoned area of the County may submit an application for a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment with payment of the application fee.
Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment Application Fee: $250
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General Board of Commissioners Review Procedure
For more information about the submittal and procedural requirements, see Sections 5, 17 and 19 of the Chatham County Zoning Ordinance.
- The applicant is required to hold a Community Meeting prior to submittal of an application; a written report of the Community Meeting shall be included in the application packet (not required for text or map amendments, or certain revisions to existing Conditional Zoning Districts or Conditional Use Permits).
- The applicant is required to meet with the Chatham County Appearance Commission prior to submittal of an application; the Commission will forward a recommendation to the applicant and Planning Department within 45 days from the date of submittal (not required for text or map amendments, or certain revisions to existing Conditional Zoning Districts or Conditional Use Permits).
- A complete application and supporting information shall be submitted to the Planning Department at least 45 days prior to the Public Hearing.
- The Planning Department shall have 15 days to review the submittal for completelness and notify the applicant.
- The Technical Review Committee will review the application prior to the Public Hearing.
- The Board of Commissioners and Planning Board will hold a joint Public Hearing to receive public comments on the application.
- Following the Public Hearing, the Planning Board will review the application and make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners.
- The Board of Commissioners will review the application and Planning Board recommendation and take final action on the application.
Zoning Applications, Checklists and Associated Guidelines can also be found on the Zoning Applications & Materials page.
For more information, please contact the Chatham County Zoning Administrator:
Angela Birchett, CZO