Special Uses are activities that, because of their unique characteristics, potentially could generate greater impacts than uses permitted in a zoning district. Due to these greater impacts, special uses are not granted as a matter of course but must be reviewed and approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission at a public hearing.
While special uses and rezonings may seem similar, a special use only allows the specific use requested by the applicant in addition to any other uses permitted by right. It is often closely tied to a concept plan and specific site requirements, called conditions of approval. A rezoning, on the other hand, is much less specific and allows a whole range of uses permitted in the specific district.
Special Uses are most commonly used in Rural areas. There are 43 special uses listed in the rural zoning districts. RV parks, golf courses, airstrips, and firearm ranges are among the land uses that can be considered Special Uses.
Site Development Standards
Standards such as structure height, screening, paving, and setbacks apply to special uses as they do to all permitted uses. The Commission can modify or waive these standards or add standards if a good reason is provided.
Additional requirements related to public health, safety, and welfare can be imposed by the Commission. For example, they could adopt a requirement limiting the hours of operation of an auto repair shop to daylight hours if the shop is located next to somebody's home. Or the Commission could require an RV park to pave a dirt road if the road is used by RVs for entering and exiting. Conditions are sometimes requested by other entities such as the County Engineering and Natural Resources and Health Departments or fire departments or State agencies.
Prior to submitting an application for special use, potential applicants are required to have a pre-application meeting with Planning staff to discuss their proposal as well as go over the Citizen Review Process, which is a mandatory process that notifies neighbors of the proposal, prior to application submittal. To schedule a pre-application meeting, please complete the Pre-Application Meeting Request Form (PDF) and email the County Planner. We will contact you to schedule a pre-application meeting at your convenience.
Once an application is submitted, the case planner will send notice by first-class mail to each owner of real property within a radius of no less than 300 feet of the subject parcel(s). Where there are potential compatibility concerns, the case planner may expand the mailed notification area to greater than a 300-foot radius at the time of application acceptance. A legal notice is placed in the local newspaper and posted on the property at least 15 days before the Commission meeting. A public hearing will be held by the Planning and Zoning Commission to accept input from people who support, oppose, or simply have questions about the project. After the hearing is closed, the Commission votes to approve, approve with conditions, disapprove or table the request.
The Commission makes the final decisions on Special Uses. However, if you or someone affected by your proposed use do not agree with their decision, it can be appealed to the Board of Supervisors within 15 days of the decision.
The process will not begin until fees and all information needed to evaluate the Special Use are submitted. Acceptance of the application does not confer approval of the proposed use or proposed site plan.
- Application Form
- Site Plan
- Citizen Review Report
- Hazardous Materials Form, if applicable
- Additional information as needed depending on the nature of the Special Use.
Commission meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 4 pm located in the:
Board of Supervisors Hearing Room
1415 Melody Lane
Bisbee, AZ 85603
The submittal deadline is 45 days before the Commission Meeting.