Special Exceptions
After variances, the second most common BZA activity is to hear special
exception requests. Special exceptions may also be referred to as special
uses, contingent uses and conditional uses. IC 36-7-4-918.2 states that a
board of zoning appeals shall approve or deny special exceptions, “from the
terms of the zoning ordinance, but only in the classes of cases or in the
particular situations specified in the zoning ordinance. The board may impose
reasonable conditions as a part of its approval.” Note that the BZA may
also require written commitments.


What exactly is a special exception? Indiana Code does not define the
term, but it is generally understood to be a use of property that is allowed
under a zoning ordinance under specified conditions — something that needs
to be considered on a site specific basis. Indiana Code leaves it up to local
government to define what uses in what zoning districts should be special
exceptions, but examples might include institutional uses (i.e., schools),
drive-through businesses, etc.
Indiana Code does not specify a set of criteria for use in considering special
exceptions, again leaving it to the discretion of local government. Some
communities use a general set of criteria for most, if not all, special
exceptions, while others establish a separate set of criteria for each special
exception use.

FINDINGS OF FACT – Special Exception

1. How the proposed Special Exception is consistent with the purpose of the zoning district and the Noble County Comprehensive Plan;
2. The proposed Special Exception will not be injurious to the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community;
3. How the proposed Special Exception is harmonious with all adjacent land use;
4. How the proposed Special Exception will not alter the character of the district;
5. How the proposed Special Exception will not substantially affect property value in an adverse manner.