When it comes to conditional uses, the single most beneficial thing a municipality can do is review their lists of permitted and conditional land uses.
- Land uses designated as conditional should have clearly-defined standards associated with them to mitigate against any anticipated detrimental effects, so that the land use authority can ensure consistency of its reviews and recommendations between applications.
- Standards to consider should relate primarily to:
- the general health, safety, and welfare of the people and / or property;
- environmental and nuisance concerns; and
- intent of the municipality’s general plan.
- These standards should include regulations to protect the integrity of the underlying zoning districts the use may be located in.
- Municipalities can even take that best practice recommendation one step further, and consider turning frequently requested conditional uses into permitted uses once they feel confident in their established standards for a particular zoning district. This removes the potential temptation of public clamor and potential legal issues arising from seemingly arbitrary requirements imposed on a particular conditional use.
The second most beneficial thing a municipality can do is ensure its requirements of a particular conditional use make sense for that use and that those requirements can actually be enforced (i.e. provisions for enforcement are included in its ordinances.) Often it is forgotten that municipalities have the authority to enforce the terms of a conditional use, including compliance with outlined conditions, and can terminate or revoke if needed.