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City of Rochester

Special Permits

Bureau of Planning and Zoning
City Hall - Room 125B
30 Church St
Rochester, NY 14614
Tel: (585)428-6526

What Is A Special Permit?

Special Permits are required for certain specific uses in each Zoning District. Special Permits must be approved by the City Planning Commission in a public hearing process. Specific standards set forth in Section 120-192B  of the Zoning Code must be met for an application to be approved.  

What Else Does The Planning Commission Do?

This seven-member commission's primary responsibilities are to prepare and recommend a Comprehensive Plan to the City Council and review and recommend changes to the Official Map and  the Comprehensive Plan. They also review proposed public projects, amendments to the Zoning Code, applications for Special Permits, and various types of major land use proposals. Members must be residents of the city, and each of the City Council Districts must be represented by at least one member. 

Who Can Apply?

A Special Permit may be submitted by a property owner, an agent for the owner such as a contractor, attorney, architect or real estate agent, or a person with a contractual interest in the property such as a tenant or option holder.  

How Do I Apply?

Applications are available in the City's Permit Office, Room 121B - City Hall, 30 Church Street, Rochester, NY 14614, and on the City's website. Upon submission of the completed application, a public hearing will be scheduled.  

What Must the Applicant Prove?

The applicant is responsible for providing evidence that all the provisions and standards set forth in the Zoning Code have been met. Specific proposals are reviewed for their compatibility with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and the surrounding neighborhood.

What Happens At The Public Hearing? 

Members of the Planning Commission are provided copies of the application in advance of the hearing. A notification to neighbors within a 300 foot radius is required by law. The applicant is allowed fifteen (15) minutes to present his/her case. Persons providing verbal testimony are allowed three (3) minutes to address the Board, ten (10) minutes if the speaker is an authorized representative of an established neighborhood association. The applicant is allowed a five-minute rebuttal. After the hearing, the Planning Commission decides each application. Deliberations after the hearing are open to the public although the public may not participate in them. 

Is An Attorney Necessary?

No. However, the applicant or representative of his/her choice must attend the public hearing to present the application. 

 


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