Planning Department
PlanningDevelopment Services › Special Exceptions

Special Exceptions

A special exception permit allows for certain land uses in a given zoning district that generally require a more in-depth study than permitted uses. The process ensures that all proposed special exception uses would be harmonious with and in accordance with the objectives of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) and the Comprehensive Plan. Special exceptions require an application and approval by the Columbus City Council.

To determine if a project requires a special exception, please review the Unified Development Ordinance or consult the Planning Department (view Planning's contact information).

Application Process

Steps involved applying for and obtaining a special exception. See Process Flowchart.

  • An application is downloaded and completed. The application and two copies of site plan are sent to the Planning Department.
  • Notices are sent to property owners that live within 300 feet of the affected area, for a public hearing before the Planning Advisory Commission (PAC).
  • PAC holds a public hearing and makes recommendation.
  • The Planning Department completes its review and makes recommendation.
  • The recommendations, from PAC and the Planning Department, are sent to the Columbus City Council.
  • Notices are sent to property owners that live within 300 feet of the affected area, for a public hearing before Council.
  • Council holds a public hearing and votes on the application. The application is either approved, approved with conditions or denied. The City Council shall render its decision within sixty (60) days from the special exception use application deadline, unless the City Council can demonstrate that more time is required and a time extension is agreed by the applicant.
  • If the application is approved, the applicant may move forward with the building permit process.

Wireless Telecommunication Facilities

Wireless communications facilities shall comply with the standards listed under the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). Check a summary of the requirements.

For a complete listing of all existing cell towers, please check the Cell Tower Map.

Fees and Applications

For a complete listing of all zoning fees, please visit the Zoning Fees and Applications web page. The Special Exception Permit can also be found on the Zoning Fees and Applications web page.

Contact Information

For assistance with special exceptions, please contact Kevin Herrit, (706) 225-3934.

Columbus, Georgia Consolidated Government Annex Building

Government Annex Building
2nd Floor
420 10th Street
Columbus, Georgia 31902

Phone: (706) 653-4421
Fax: (706) 653-4534

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