Special Use Permits

The development and administration of the Rock Island County Zoning Resolution is based upon the division of the County into zoning districts, within which districts the use of land and buildings and the bulk and location of buildings and structures in relation to the land are substantially uniform. It is recognized, however, that there are certain uses that may have unique, special or unusual impacts upon the use or enjoyment of neighboring property and planned developments and cannot be properly classified in any particular district or districts, without consideration in each individual case. A use may be permitted in one or more zoning districts and a Special Use in one or more other zoning districts.

Zoning district regulations typically delineate a number of uses that are allowed as a matter of right, and a number of uses that are allowed by special use permit. Uses allowed only by special use permit are those considered to have a potentially greater impact upon neighboring properties or the public than those uses permitted in the district as a matter of right. The special use permit procedure, by its very nature, presupposes that a given use may be allowed in one part of a zoning district, but not in another.

Key Principles to Know About Special Use Permits

  • Whether granted by the governing body or the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), special use permits are legislative in nature.
  • Uses allowed by special use permits are considered to have a potentially greater impact than those allowed as a matter of right.
  • Special use permits must be evaluated under reasonable standards, based on zoning principles.
  • Impacts from special uses are addressed through conditions.
  • Conditions must be reasonably related to the impacts to be addressed, and the extent of the conditions must be roughly proportional to the impacts.

Special Use Permit Application Process

The application process for a Special Use Permit is very similar to the Rezoning Process. The main difference is a Special Use Permit will typically include a site plan with proposed developments and a narrative explaining the proposed use. A lot of times these are business plans with expected hours of operation. A pre-application conference with a member of the County's Current Planning Staff is recommended to discuss the proposal before filing an application. Once the Zoning Administrator has determined the application is complete and all accompanying material has been submitted, the item will be scheduled for review by the Zoning Board of Appeals at a public hearing. The application fee for a Special Use Permit is submitted at the time of application.