Special Exception

A Special Exception from the requirements of very limited provisions of the Unified Development Code (UDC) may be considered by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA).  A Special Exception is most widely used for residential setback modifications, but also applies to the expansion or extension of nonconforming structures, sites and uses.

An applicant may request a modification of the current UDC setbacks only if the property is located in the Old Town Overlay District or was established before May 10, 1977. The modification must meet strict standards and criteria, to be considered by the ZBA as part of a public process.

What are the Criteria for Approval?

The ZBA will consider a setback modification based on the review criteria established in Section 4.09.040 of the UDC. The ZBA will consider factors such as size, compatibility with surrounding structures, and other site-related factors. A setback modification may not be granted as a matter solely of convenience or economic gain. The ZBA shall base a decision to allow a Special Exception for a nonconforming situation on the criteria in Chapter 14.

What do I need for an Application?

Prior to making an application, a Pre-Application Conference is required. Please see the front desk or call 930-3575 to set up an appointment. Other requirements for an application include:

* See the Development Manual for detailed information required by the checklist – online at udc.georgetown.org/development-manual

What is the Approval Process?

  • Timeline: 45 days (approximate) from the Application Deadline
  • Approval Authority: Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA)

When does a Special Exception Expire?

A Special Exception expires twelve (12) months from the date of ZBA approval, unless:

  • A complete Building Permit application has been issued and construction commenced or, if no Building Permit is required, a Certificate of Occupancy has been issued.
  • The ZBA elects to extend the 12 month expiration date and provide for an alternative expiration with the approval, not to exceed 24 months.