Apply for a Special Land Use

Do you have a land use proposal that falls outside the permitted use for that zoning area? If so, you'll need to apply for a Special Land Use.

Paper Form

Review the Zoning Ordinance

Be sure to read the related articles in the Zoning Ordinance. These include:

Keep in mind special uses often vary from district to district. You'll find application procedures and review standards in Article 12, Section 5.12.09.

Consult with us

We strongly recommend you request a meeting with Planning Department staff before you begin. Pre-application meetings help ensure a smooth application process.

Feel free to call or email us before you apply. Our phone number and email address are in the Contact Us section of this page.

Talk to your neighbors

Neighborhood outreach is very strongly recommended for a Special Land Use application. When you talk to your neighbors, you'll be able to receive comments and resolve conflicts before the Planning Commission review. Failure to conduct outreach activities may result in a tabling of the request.

Check Section 5.12.06 of the Zoning Ordinance for recommended outreach procedures. We can assist by providing the mailing list that we use to send public notice postcards, or 

Complete the application

Download the Application

Alcohol Sales and Consumption

Does your application involve the sale or consumption of alcohol? Make sure to submit the Supplemental Alcohol application(PDF, 121KB).

We’ll review your application

We'll review your application before submitting to the Planning Commission. We may contact you with questions, ask for more information, or recommend changes for clarity. 

We’ll send out a notice of public hearing

After reviewing your application, we'll forward it to the Planning Commission for a public hearing. A notice of the public hearing is published in the Grand Rapids Press 15 days before the hearing. We notify property owners and residents within a 300-foot radius of the subject property with a post card. Anyone interested can submit a letter to us or speak at the public hearing.

Present your proposal

Planning Commission hearings take place in the Public Hearing Room on the 2nd floor of the Development Center. Each public hearing item for consideration is assigned an approximate start time. Here's what to expect:

  • The Planning staff introduces and explains the request to the Planning Commission
  • You'll be asked to present information on your proposal. The Planning Commission will ask any questions they have, then allow public comment on the application
  • You'll have a chance to respond to any concerns or questions
  • After the public hearing ends, the Planning Commission deliberates on the request in open session. The Planning Commission may approve, approve with conditions, deny, or table the application

If approved, the effective date is 16 days after the decision.

We'll follow up in writing

We'll provide you a letter with the Planning Commission's decision. The letter will include any conditions of approval. If the Planning Commission denies your application, you may appeal the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals. You must file your appeal with the Planning Department within 15 days of the decision. Conditions of approval can't be appealed.

Online Form

We don't accept online applications for this service

You can complete the paper application. Click the Paper Form tab of this page for instructions and to download the form. Call or visit our office if you need help applying. You can find our number and address in the Contact Us section of this page. We're happy to help you fill out an application!

Phone

Call our office if you need help applying. You can find our number in the Contact Us section of this page. We're happy to help you fill out an application!

In Person

Review the Zoning Ordinance

Be sure to read the related articles in the Zoning Ordinance. These include:

Keep in mind special uses often vary from district to district. You'll find application procedures and review standards in Article 12, Section 5.12.09.

Consult with us

We recommend you request a meeting with Planning Department staff before you begin. Pre-application meetings help ensure a smooth application process.

Feel free to call or email us before you apply. Our phone number and email address are in the Contact Us section of this page.

Talk to your neighbors

Neighborhood outreach is strongly recommended for a Special Land Use application. When you talk to your neighbors, you'll be able to receive comments and resolve conflicts before the Planning Commission review. Failure to conduct outreach activities may result in a tabling of the request.

Check Section 5.12.06 of the Zoning Ordinance for recommended outreach procedures.

Visit our office

Visit us at the address listed in the Contact Us section of this page. We'll provide you with an application and help you complete it. Below is the form if you'd like to print it before you come in.

Download the Application

ALCOHOL SALES AND CONSUMPTION

Does your application involve the sale or consumption of alcohol? Make sure to submit the Supplemental Alcohol application(PDF, 121KB).

We’ll review your application

We'll review your application before submitting to the Planning Commission. We may contact you with questions, ask for more information, or recommend changes for clarity. 

We’ll send out a notice of public hearing

After reviewing your application, we'll forward it to the Planning Commission for a public hearing. A notice of the public hearing is published in the Grand Rapids Press 15 days before the hearing. We notify property owners and residents within a 300-foot radius of the subject property with a post card. Anyone interested can submit a letter to us or speak at the public hearing.

Present your proposal

Planning Commission hearings take place in the Public Hearing Room on the 2nd floor of the Development Center. Each public hearing item for consideration is assigned an approximate start time. Here's what to expect:

  • The Planning staff introduces and explains the request to the Planning Commission
  • You'll be asked to present information on your proposal. The Planning Commission will ask any questions they have, then allow public comment on the application
  • You'll have a chance to respond to any concerns or questions
  • After the public hearing ends, the Planning Commission deliberates on the request in open session. The Planning Commission may approve, approve with conditions, deny, or table the application

If approved, the effective date is 16 days after the decision.

We'll follow up in writing

We'll provide you a letter with the Planning Commission's decision. The letter will include any conditions of approval. If the Planning Commission denies your application, you may appeal the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals. You must file your appeal with the Planning Department within 15 days of the decision. Conditions of approval can't be appealed.