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The special exception process provides the City Council with the opportunity to exercise discretionary powers in considering the establishment of certain uses that, due to their nature, design or location, may have the potential for adverse impacts on adjacent land uses and/or the health, safety or welfare of the community. 

When considering such uses, the City Council shall have the authority to impose conditions that are designed to remove or mitigate potentially adverse impacts upon the community or other properties in the vicinity of the proposed use.

Special Exception Process (90-120 days)

  1. Pre-application meeting
  2. Application Filing
  3. Staff/DRC review
  4. Public Hearing Notice
  5. Planning Commission Review & Recommendation
  6. City Council Review & Decision

Before granting a Special Exception, following criteria must first determine that the proposed use:

  1. The proposed use will not adversely affect the use of neighboring properties
  2. The use shall comply with applicable district regulations and applicable provisions of the adopted Comprehensive Plan and downtown plans
  3. The location, size and height of buildings structures, walls and fences, and the nature and extent of screening, buffering and landscaping shall be such that the use will not hinder or discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent or nearby land and/or buildings
  4. The proposed use will be such that pedestrian and vehicular traffic generated will not be hazardous or conflict with the existing and anticipated traffic in the neighborhood and on the streets serving the site

Owners of lands or structure may appeal in writing to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) for variance from the requirement or restrictions of the land development regulations

Variance Process (90-120 days)

  1. Pre-application meeting
  2. Application Filing
  3. Staff/DRC review
  4. Public Hearing Notice
  5. Board of Zoning Appeals Review & Recommendation
  6. City Council Review & Decision

Before granting a variance, the following approval criteria:

  1. Special conditions or circumstances exist which are particular to the size and characteristics of the land, structure or building involved which are not applicable to other lands, structures or buildings in the same zoning district
  2. Strict and literal enforcement of the zoning regulations would create an undue hardship as distinguished from a mere inconvenience on the property owners.  Physical handicaps or disability of the applicant and other considerations may be considered where relevant to the request
  3. Such hardship is not shared generally by other properties in the same zoning district and in the same vicinity
  4. Would not be injurious to or incompatible with contiguous uses, the surrounding neighborhood or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare
  5. Requested is the minimum modification of the regulation at issue that will afford relief
  6. The condition giving rise to the requested variance has not been created by any person presently having an interest in the property and/or the conditions cannot reasonably be corrected or avoided by the applicant
  7. Requested does not involve any use which is prohibited
  8. Is consistent with the City of Punta Gorda Comprehensive Plan

Administrative Variance

If a variance is requested for relaxation of the minimum yard requirements of these regulations by three foot or less for existing buildings  an administrative variance requested is for relaxation of the minimum yard requirements by three foot or less, the request may be granted.

Administrative Variance Process (30-15 days)

  1. Application Filing
  2. Staff Review
  3. Notice of intention to grant the required variance, stating the description of the property affected, including a description by street address if possible, the nature of the variance requested, and the existence of the right of appeal, shall be published one time in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county, and mailed to the owners as revealed by the current tax roll of each contiguous parcel.
  4. Within 15 calendar days of the publication of notice, but not thereafter, any interested person may apply in writing stating his name, the nature of his interest, and the nature of his objection, for a hearing of the matter before the BZA and the City Council which shall conduct a public hearing on the matter in accordance with the procedures of subsections
  5. If no objections are made within 15 calendar days of the publication of notice the administrative variance will be approved