Special Exception (SPE)

A Special Exception (SPE) is a use that requires special consideration of its location, design, and methods of operation before it can be deemed appropriate in the zone and compatible with its surroundings. Applications for Special Exception require a site plan showing all proposed improvements. These applications are reviewed to ensure that the proposed use is compatible with surrounding uses and the neighborhood. Many Special Exceptions must also conform to a unique set of requirements defined in the Zoning Ordinance.


Pre-Application Conference: Required under new Zoning Ordinance.

Pre-Application Neighborhood Meeting: Required under new Zoning Ordinance.

Subdivision and Development Review Committee (SDRC): Special Exceptions applications may be referred to the SDRC, at the discretion of the Zoning Section Supervisor or at the request of the applicant.

Decision-Making Body: Special Exceptions are decided by the Zoning Hearing Examiner with recommendation from the Planning Board.


Low fee rating:

$2,500, plus $50 per acre for each acre over 50

Medium fee rating:

$4,000, plus $50 per acre for each acre over 50

High fee rating:

$5,500, plus $50 per acre for each acre over 50

Mobile Home as a Single-Family Dwelling:


Day Care for Children in Single-Family Dwelling:



No Fee

Revision of Site Plan for an approved Special Exception:

1/2 of Original Fee

Public Notice Requirement: For Special Exceptions, sign postings at the subject site are required 30 days prior to the hearing, and mailings are required 30 days prior to the hearing to parties of record.

For Minor Changes to Approved Special Exception, signposting at the subject site is required 14 days following the determination of completeness (may be waived by the Planning Director), and mailings of the application decision are required only to parties of record, the Clerk of the Council, and municipalities within one mile of the subject site. 

Estimated Review Time: 8-10 months

Application Instructions

The new Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations go into effect April 1, 2022. For a period of two years (until March 31, 2024), applicants have the option to submit under the requirements of either the new or prior Ordinance. [Note: Review under the prior Ordinance requires a Pre-Application Conference and Statement of Justification to explain why the applicant has not chosen to develop under the provisions of the new Ordinance.

Any application accepted prior to the effective date of the new Ordinance will be reviewed and decided in accordance to the provisions of the prior Ordinance. See the Transitional Provisions Quick Reference for more information.

See application materials under the tabs above, separated per the applicable Ordinance.

After April 1, 2022

Current Ordinance Materials

Fill out this application form and email the PDF along with the required submission materials to DRDApplications@ppd.mncppc.org.

Important Documents

Contact Us

Development Review Division

PRIMARY PHONE: 301-952-3530

SECONDARY PHONE: 301-952-4366

FAX: 301-952-3749