Conditional Use Permit (CUP)

The Conditional Use Permit (CUP), sometimes referred to as a "Special Use Permit (SUP)," is a type of use approved for a property by the Board of Supervisors (BOS) with conditions of use accompanying the permitted use. As stated in Section 14-23 of the Zoning Ordinance, the CUP is intended "to provide for certain uses which, because of their unique characteristics or potential impacts on adjacent land uses, are not generally permitted in certain zoning districts as a matter of right, but which may, under the right set of circumstances and conditions, be acceptable in certain specific locations." Furthermore, due to the unique characteristics of the use and/or property, each application is unique and, therefore, conditions applied to identical uses on different properties may be similar in nature, but with slight differences in the specifics of the conditions. In addition, the BOS may determine that additional conditions are necessary to mitigate the impacts of a proposed use and impose these conditions during their review process. In some circumstances, no set of conditions are sufficient to grant approval and, therefore, the BOS may deny these applications.


Prior to applying for a Conditional Use Permit, interested parties must meet with Planning and Zoning staff for a mandatory Pre-Application Meeting to discuss the perceived impacts of the proposed use, Comprehensive Plan guidance for the property the use is proposed on, and discussion of any potential associated conditions.

Following the Pre-Application Meeting, a CUP Application (with the accompanying $1,000 fee) can be submitted to the Department of Planning and Zoning for review by staff, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Supervisors. Staff from the County, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and other applicable agencies will review the application and, following this review, Planning and Zoning staff will prepare a Staff Report to be presented to the Planning Commission at a Public Hearing similar to the process held for a rezoning application.

Within 100 days of staff’s referral of a complete application to the Planning Commission, a Public Hearing before this body will be scheduled, a legal noticed placed in the local paper for two consecutive weeks prior to the meeting, and all adjoining property owners will be notified by mail not less than five days prior to the meeting. During this Public Hearing, staff will present the application to the Commission with their summarized analysis and recommendation, the applicant can speak before the Commission, and the public has the opportunity to comment on the application. The Planning Commission may discuss the application and recommend conditions during their Public Hearing, the Commission acts as an advisory body to the Board of Supervisors and will make a recommendation for approval, approval with modifications, or denial of the application to the Board with any additional recommendations, if necessary.

Once the Board of Supervisors has received the Planning Commission’s recommendation, a Public Hearing before this body will be scheduled and a legal notice will be placed in the local paper for two consecutive weeks, but the adjoining property owners are not directly notified of this Public Hearing. Similar to the Planning Commission’s Public Hearing, staff will present the application to the Board with their summarized analysis and recommendation along with the Planning Commission’s recommendation, the applicant can speak before the Board, and the public has the opportunity to comment on the application. At this Public Hearing or a subsequent meeting (but within one year from the filing date of the application), the Board will decide to approve or deny the application. For CUP approval, the applicant must demonstrate that the application satisfies the approval criteria specified within Section 14-23(d) of the Zoning Ordinance. In addition, the Board may impose any additional conditions or limitations necessary to protect the public interest, safety, and welfare.

If approved by a Conditional Use Permit, the use must be established within one year of the date of approval. Minor amendments to an approved CUP application may be reviewed by the Zoning Administrator if the amendment proposes a change in on-site location in size or intensity of less than five percent or a five percent or less increase or decrease in either lot coverage or floor area. All other amendments are considered major amendments and are reviewed by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors with Public Hearings before each body, as specified in Section 14-23(k) of the Zoning Ordinance.

Forms for the Pre-Application Meeting and CUP Application can be found on the department’s Forms and Policies page. Comprehensive Plan guidance for properties within the County and uses subject to a Conditional Use Permit can be found on the department’s Comprehensive Plan page.