The special exception process can take from one to several months. It requires application, posting of a sign by the property owner, and a hearing by the Zoning Hearing Examiner (ZHE). Prior to the hearing the ZHE informs property owners within a certain radius and the affected neighborhood association of the request and asks them to express a position on the request.
The Neighborhood Association encourages applicants to contact their neighbors and the association early in the planning process to foster dialog about balancing the applicant’s needs with the need to preserve important elements of neighborhood character. You can email the association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The association develops its position to the ZHE at meetings of the Board of Directors, normally the 2nd Monday of each month or as posted on this web site. Through these positions the association attempts to promote quality of life, implement the goals of the Nob Hill Sector Plan, and balance interests of the applicant, immediate neighbors, and the entire neighborhood.
At this meeting the property owner (applicant) is requested to provide:
- A letter outlining the request
- A dimensioned site plan
- Any letters or petitions from neighbors
The applicant may contact the association ahead of the meeting or may sign up at the meeting to speak. The discussion format is:
- Applicant: 5 minutes
- Neighbors, in support or opposition: 5 minutes
- Discussion and questions by board: 10 minutes
- Board vote
Time target is 20 minutes per request.
Common questions that the applicant should be prepared to answer include:
- Is the property located in the Historic District?
- Have the immediate neighbors been contacted? Do they support or oppose?
- How does the request comply or depart from the association policy?
- Does the request help accomplish or hinder the goals of the Nob Hill Sector Plan?
- Have you considered all options to implement your project without a special exception?
After the Board votes, the secretary will send a letter to the ZHE expressing the Board’s recommendation on the zoning case.
NHNA Policies on Special Exceptions
The association is developing policies to facilitate broader neighborhood understanding and consensus around special exception requests. We hope these policies will lead to association positions that are consistent from request to request. We encourage property owners to consult these as they consider modifications to their property:
One policy has been adopted for evaluating special exception requests for walls and carports in front yard setbacks: Policy of Nob Hill on Walls and Carports Adopted 5-12-2006.
Neither the City nor the Neighborhood Association has the authority to regulate style of construction, materials, or colors. The association encourages property owners to recognize the unique historic character of the neighborhood and to plan remodeling or additions which tend to preserve and are sensitive to that character.