Conditional Use Permits
Conditional uses are land uses which are considered by the city to be desirable or convenient to the community, but which by their nature or operation have the tendency or potential to generate excessive traffic, attract a large number of persons, create noise or other pollutants, impact public safety and/or detrimentally impact the value or potential development of other properties in the neighborhood. A Conditional Use Permit establishes specific design standards and restrictions on the operation of the use to mitigate these potential adverse effects and provides a regulatory mechanism to ensure compliance with the established design standards and conditions.
The process involves a Planning Commission public hearing and City Council vote. To find out more, please click the links below.
1. Pre-Application Conference
The first step in the process is a pre-application conference with the City Planner. The purpose of a pre-application conference is to provide an opportunity for an informal evaluation of the applicant’s proposal and to familiarize the applicant with the applicable provisions of the Zoning Code, the Comprehensive Plan, infrastructure requirements, and any other issues that may affect the project.
To schedule a pre-application conference, contact Planning staff at (314) 291-6550 or via email.
2. Application Submittal
Subsequent to the pre-application conference, the applicant submits the required items (see the Submittal Requirements). Within 7 days, the applicant will be notified whether or not the submittal is complete for hearing. If the submittal is incomplete, the applicant has thirty days to re-submit or notify the City Planner of a pending re-submittal. Once the application has been deemed complete, a public hearing will be scheduled.
3. Public Notification
In order to schedule a public hearing, proper public notification is required.
The City produces a public notice which includes the date, time, and location of the public hearing, a location map identifying the site, the name and address of the applicant or their representative, and a description of the requested zoning procedure, which shall be used for notification and publication. The City publishes the notice of public hearing in the newspaper not less than 15 days and not more than 30 days prior to the hearing and obtains proof of such publication. The City also posts a sign on the site and mails a notice to property owners within 300 feet of the site.
4. Public Hearing
The applicant is required to present the case before the Planning Commission at the hearing, which should include presentation of any supporting materials, an explanation of the development proposal, and justification of the request. In presenting the application, the burden of proof shall rest with the applicant to clearly establish that the proposed conditional use shall meet the burden of proof criteria.
The public hearing can be broken down into several components: First, the City Planner will introduce the application providing an overview of the project location, rezoning request and the planning issues to be addressed at the public hearing. Second, the applicant and/or his consultants will present the proposal for their case. Third, if a traffic analysis was required, the applicant's and/or city's traffic consultant will present their preliminary findings to the Planning Commission.
Upon completion of the presentation, the Commission Chair will open the hearing for both comments and questions from the public as well as the Planning Commission. See Applicant Presentations for additional guidance on making a presentation to the Planning Commission.
5. City Planner Review & Findings
Upon closure of the public hearing, the application is referred back to the City Planner to prepare findings on the requested Conditional Use Permit. These findings must be submitted to the Planning Commission within 30 days of hearing closure. The City Planner’s report typically includes a description and summary of the existing site conditions, adjacent uses and zoning, determination of consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, neighborhood character analysis, review of site design issues, and findings on the Burden of Proof criteria. If the City Planner makes a positive finding, the report will include a draft ordinance for the Planning Commission’s consideration.
6. Planning Commission & City Council Action
Within 60 days of receipt of the City Planner’s report, the Planning Commission will take action on the Conditional Use Permit. The Planning Commission may recommend approval of the Conditional Use Permit as submitted, may recommend the Conditional Use Permit with amendments or may deny the Conditional Use Permit. In recommending approval of development conditions, the Planning Commission shall impose such conditions it determines necessary. If the Planning Commission denies the Conditional Use Permit, the applicant has the option of appealing to the City Council within 10 days of the Commission’s decision.
If the Planning Commission recommends the Conditional Use Permit, the City Council will take action on the Conditional Use Permit within 60 days of receipt of the Commission's recommendation. The recommendation of the Planning Commission shall be placed on the next available Council agenda, unless the applicant requests the matter to be deferred to another agenda. The City Council may approve the Conditional Use Permit by a majority vote, approve the Conditional Use Permit with amendments by a two-third majority vote or deny the request.
7. Final Site Plan
The final step in the Conditional Use Permit process is the Final Site Plan. This plan depicts the development of the site in accordance with the conditions established in the approved Conditional Use Permit ordinance. Generally, the requirements for this plan are contained within the ordinance. In addition, this script must be included on the Plan. The Final Site Plan is approved by the City Planner and maintained on file in the Department of Community Development.
The minimum submittal requirements for a Conditional Use Permit application are as follows. Initially, electronic copies are sufficient. Paper copies may be requested by staff.
Click here for the interactive .PDF application form.
The fees currently established by the City Council for a Conditional Use Permit application are as follows:
- Application for new Conditional Use Permit involving new construction or substantial addition to an existing building: $800
- Application for new Conditional Use Permit involving reuse of an existing building or site: $600
- Application for amendment to an existing Conditional Use Permit (public hearing required): $500
- Minor modification to an existing Conditional Use Permit (no public hearing): $400
A written metes and bounds legal description of the site is required.
The narrative is a written statement that:
- Explains the proposed project and/or operation in detail;
- Demonstrates consistency with the Comprehensive Plan; and
- Indicates how and why the proposed conditional use conforms to the applicable standards set forth in the Zoning Code.
Traffic Impact Analysis
The City Planner determines whether a traffic impact analysis is required at the pre-application conference. An analysis is required for all Motor Vehicle Oriented Businesses. The specific requirements of the analysis are determined by the City Planner with technical review by the City Engineer, if needed. The applicant's traffic analysis is subject to the review of the City's traffic consultant. The applicant is responsible for the cost of the review by the City’s traffic consultant.
For new construction or additions/expansions, the Site Plan must include the following information:
- Location Map
- North arrow
- Plan scale
- Zoning district, subdivision name, lot number and zoning of adjacent parcels
- Name, address, telephone of firm and professional seals affixed to every sheet in the set
- Shape, location, and dimensions of the lot in accordance with an accurate boundary line survey
- Location and identification of all existing and proposed easements
- Proposed building line and setbacks
- Shape, size, and location of buildings and distance to adjacent properties
- Direction of slope or drainage indicated by arrows as applicable
- Existing and proposed contour lines and street grade
- Proposed finish grades at foundation walls
- Flood plain and/or wetlands
- Elevation of top of foundation of primary structures
- Sanitary sewage treatment (location of septic field) and stormwater drainage facilities
- Dimensions of existing and proposed roadway pavement and right-of-way width for streets abutting site
- Approximate location of existing and proposed sidewalks
- Number, size, and location of existing and proposed off-street parking spaces, including handicapped
- Name and size of existing and proposed landscaping
- Location and size of existing and proposed freestanding signs
- Location and size of existing and proposed light poles
- Approximate location of stormwater detention, ponds, sinkholes, springs, silt berms, and other silt control facilities
- Landscaping plan
- Exhibits sufficient for the City Planner to determine compliance with the Building Design Standards section of the Zoning Code. Such exhibits may include architectural elevations, renderings, photographs, or sketches.
Burden of Proof
In presenting any application for a Conditional Use Permit, the burden of proof shall rest with the applicant to clearly establish that the proposed conditional use shall meet the following criteria:
Consistency. The conditional use is deemed consistent with good planning practice in that it:
- Advances the goals, objectives, and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.
- Advances the purpose and intent of the underlying zoning district.
- Meets the requirements contained in the Zoning Code for the specific use.
Operational impacts. The conditional use can be operated in a manner that is not detrimental to the permitted developments and uses in the district. In determining the impacts of the proposed use on surrounding properties, the following factors shall be considered:
- Operational schedule; and/or
- Other similar factors related to the nature of the operation.
Visual impacts. The conditional use can be developed and operated in a manner that is both visually compatible with the permitted uses in the surrounding area and protects or enhances the public viewshed. In determining the visual impact of the proposed use on surrounding properties, the following factors shall be considered:
- Either the number of units and/or site coverage in respect to the immediate neighborhood;
- Massing and scale. The location, floor area, and/or height of the structures associated with the proposed conditional use; and
- Screening and buffers. The use of landscaping, fencing, setbacks or other design features to mitigate the visual impact of the proposed conditional use.
Infrastructure. Adequate facilities either exist or will be provided, including but not limited to:
- Parking and loading
- Emergency services
General welfare. The conditional use is deemed essential, convenient, or desirable to preserve and promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the City of Maryland Heights.
- The City will provide the means to electronically project the presentation, typically in a PowerPoint format.
- If the applicant wishes to use this approach, they must provide the presentation to the assigned project manager by either e-mail, flash drive or CD. Potential issues with compatible format should be addressed prior to the meeting (no later than 2:00 p.m. the day of the hearing).
- The applicant may also utilize the electronic slides prepared by the City Planner in his introduction.
- If the applicant needs easels for displaying mounted plans, they should be requested prior to the public hearing (two easels can be furnished by the City).
- Be brief and concise. Use only the amount of time necessary to clearly state the facts related to the request. While the Planning Commission does not set a specific limit on the length of the presentation, typically the presentation should not exceed 20 minutes.
- Avoid repetition. If you want to have other people speak on behalf of your request, each should have something to contribute for consideration of your case. It is preferable to have one spokesman, if possible, with others available to help answer questions and provide technical information.
- Address the Zoning Criteria. Describe anticipated impacts, negative and positive, of the request and proposed use on existing development and public facilities.
- Explain what efforts (and results of meetings, if any were held) have been made between the applicant and nearby property owners to discuss the application.
Points of Emphasis:
- Remember, this is your primary opportunity to make your case for approval. Using the Project Narrative or the Burden of Proof as a presentation guideline may be helpful. It is your responsibility to demonstrate consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and conformance with zoning requirements and/or design standards.
- Addressing the Public: You will be afforded the opportunity to address any questions or comments from the public. Typically the Chairman waits until all public comments are made before inviting you to respond. Address your comments to the Planning Commission, not the individual. Cross-examination is not appropriate.