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The Chesapeake Bay Board (CBB) is a five-member board comprised of the Wetlands Board. The Wetlands Board/CBB members are at-large County residents appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The CBB will hear and consider requests for special exceptions to the Stafford County CBPA Ordinance.

The Chesapeake Bay Board (CBB) has the authority to grant special exceptions in cases where strict application of the Chesapeake Bay Protection Area (CBPA) would result in unnecessary hardship for the property owner. A special exception is a reasonable deviation from those provisions in the CBPA ordinance in cases where a development proposal cannot meet the regulatory requirements due to a unique set of circumstances and conditions. Such a need for a special exception would not be shared generally by other properties, and provided such special exception is not contrary to the intended spirit and purpose of Chapter 27B.

The CBB must make the following five findings in order to approve a request for a special exception, as set forth in Section 27B-14(d):

• Granting the special exception will not confer upon the applicant(s) any special privileges denied by this chapter to other property owners who are subject to its provisions and who are similarly situated;

• The special exception request is not based on any conditions or circumstances that are self-created or self-imposed, nor does the request arise from conditions or circumstances either permitted or non-conforming that are related to adjacent parcels;

• The special exception request is the minimum necessary to afford relief;

• The special exception request will be consistent with the purpose and intent of this chapter, not injurious to the neighborhood or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare, and is not of substantial detriment to water quality; and

• Reasonable and appropriate conditions are imposed which will prevent the special exception request from causing a degradation of water quality.

The exception process is intended to identify the minimum relief necessary to permit the proposed use. To assist in this determination, a Water Quality Impact Assessment (WQIA) which meets the requirements found in Section 27B-10 is to be used in evaluating the site of the proposed exception, the potential effects of the exception, and for identifying mitigation measures that are appropriate to counteract those effects.

Special exception applications must be filed with the Department of Planning and Zoning.

• A pre-application conference is held between the applicant and a staff member from the Planning and Zoning Department. A solution may be discovered without the need for a special exception.

• A complete special exception application with original signatures, all associated materials and the application fee by the established deadline.

• The Department of Planning and Zoning will advertise the special exception request as a notice of public hearing once a week for two consecutive weeks prior to the hearing date in the local newspaper. The notice will specify the date, time and place of the hearing so persons affected may appear and present their views. In addition, the Planning and Zoning Department will notify adjacent property owners of the requested special exception and hearing date.

• A member of the Planning and Zoning Department will prepare a staff report that will accompany the special exception application and both will be forwarded to the members of the CBB for their review before the meeting date.

• At the public hearing the CBB will approve, deny or defer the special exception request until a later date after hearing the applicant and all interested parties.

The average special exception process is approximately four weeks from submission of a complete application to action.  Any one aggrieved by a decision of the CBB has thirty (30) days to appeal the decision to the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.