Zoning Special Exception

Special Exceptions are uses allowed in a zoning district but may not be appropriate everywhere in that zoning district.

Special Exceptions require review and approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

What uses can I get a special exception for?

Uses allowed in some zoning districts by Special Exception include:

  • Major Utilities
  • Adult Entertainment
  • Liquor Stores
  • Waste Treatment Plants
  • Outdoor Commercial Recreation Uses other than Water Parks

Who can apply?

The property owner or a representative of the property owner.

Special Exception Process

A Project Manager will be assigned to guide you through the entire process and be your point of contact for any questions.

Step 1. Submit Your Application

Download the Special Exception application and submit it with all required materials and filing fee.

Special Exception Application

Filing Fee: $200

Application Deadlines:

View the Board of Zoning Appeals schedule and filing deadlines

NOTE: In addition to meeting the special exception criteria, there may be additional conditions that need to be met for the use to be permitted.

Step 2. Staff Review

  • Confirm application is complete and request meets criteria and any additional conditions.
  • Schedule the request on an upcoming Board of Zoning Appeals agenda.
  • Prepare a staff report that includes comments received to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
    Note: The Board of Zoning Appeals makes the final decision.

Your project manager will:

  • Coordinate with you regarding your public hearing date and application status
  • Notify the public of the public hearing via a newspaper ad and post a sign on the property
  • Prepare a report listing staff's recommendations

Step 3. Notify the Public

You are required to mail a letter to all the property owners within 350 feet of the Variance property.

  • Your project manager will provide you this list of people and a letter template to use

Step 4. Board of Zoning Appeals Public Hearing

What can I expect at a Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting?

  • The review of your application at the Public Hearing.
  • The Project Manager will present the Special Exception request for the Board's review.
  • You have the opportunity to make a presentation and answer questions that board members may have.
  • The public is allowed to express their view related to the sepcial exception request.

The Board of Zoning Appeals can:

  • Approve as submitted;
  • Approve with conditions discussed during the meeting; or
  • Deny the application.

View the Application Specific Review Procedures - LMO section 16-2-103.E

View our Community Development Application Process Table


Contact the Community Development Information Center at cdic@hiltonheadislandsc.gov or 843-341-4757