Lesson 3 – Are Conditional Uses Considered Administrative Or Legislative Decisions?

§10-9a-507 of Utah State Code specifically denotes that a land use authority’s decision to either approve or deny a conditional use is an administrative land use decision. 

Why is that important? 

  • Legislative decisions are those that establish applicable policies, including adoption or amendment of land use ordinance, designation of zoning classifications, etc.  They are made exclusively by a municipality’s legislative body (i.e. City / Town Council, County Commission, etc.) 
  • Administrative decisions, on the other hand, apply the established laws or policies that have been enacted by the legislative body, and are typically made by authorized staff members or boards (i.e. a Planning Commission) of the municipality.

Often, land use authorities think they have more authority over a conditional use than they actually do. This creates big legal problems when conditions are imposed on a use that are not included in the municipality’s standards of review or when a conditional use is denied entirely because of public clamor.