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Zoning special permits

What Is A Special Permit?

Special Permits are required for certain specific uses in each Zoning District. The City Planning Commission approves Special Permits in a public hearing process. Certain standards outlined 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 reside in the city and at least 1 member must represent each City Council District. 

Who Can Apply?

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

How Do I Apply?

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

Zoning Application website  

What Must the Applicant Prove?

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

What Happens At The Public Hearing? 

  1. Members of the Planning Commission are provided copies of the application before the hearing. 
  2. A notification to neighbors within a 300-foot radius is required by law. 
  3. The applicant is allowed 15 minutes to present his/her case. Persons providing verbal testimony are allowed 3 minutes to address the Board, and 10 minutes if the speaker is an authorized representative of an established neighborhood association. 
  4. The applicant is allowed a 5-minute rebuttal
  5. After the hearing, the Planning Commission decides on 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.