Special Use Review

A special use is the use of land, buildings, or structures which, because of its unique characteristics cannot ordinarily be classified in any particular zoning district. In each case, careful consideration of the impact of the special use on neighboring land must be given, and the appropriateness of the special use location must be determined.

Authorizing a Special Use

Special Uses are authorized by passage of an ordinance by the Corporate Authorities. However, no authorization shall be given until after a public hearing is held by the Plan Commission whose findings and recommendations to the special use request are prepared and transmitted to the Corporate Authorities.

Uses Considered Special Uses

Each zoning district lists those uses which are allowed as special uses provided that the required public hearing is held by the Plan Commission and approval is granted by the Corporate Authorities. Depending on the zoning district, uses which require a special use include, but are not limited to, health clubs, theaters, pet shops, veterinarians, package liquor stores, restaurants and taverns, car washes, mini marts, equipment and car rental, kennels, messenger services, hotels, and public and semi-public facilities. (Check with Chapter 19.10.030 and Appendix A (Use Table) of the Wheeling Municipal Code and the particular zoning district for special uses which may be allowed.)

Pre-Approved Standards for Special Use

The Corporate Authorities shall pass an ordinance allowing the establishment of a special use whenever it shall find that:
  • The special use is necessary for the public convenience at that location;
  • The special use will not alter the essential character of the locality in which it is to be located;
  • The location and size of the special use, the nature and intensity of the operation involved in or conducted in connection with it, the size of the site in relation to it, and the location of the site with respect to streets giving access to it, shall be such that it will be in harmony with the appropriate and orderly development of the district in which it is to be located;
  • The location, nature and height of buildings, walls and fences, and the nature and extent of the landscaping on the site shall be such that the use will not hinder or discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent land and buildings, or will not impair the value thereof;
  • Parking areas shall be of adequate size and for the particular use, properly located, and suitably screened from adjoining residential uses, and the entrance and exit drives shall be laid out so as to prevent traffic hazards and nuisances;
  • The property in question cannot yield a reasonable return if permitted to be used only under the conditions allowed by the regulation in that zone.

Applying for Special Use


To apply for a Special Use, submit all the applications and materials requested in applications A1, A2, A3, and PH. Visit our Planning Applications webpage for more information.

Conditions On Special Use

The Plan Commission may recommend and the Corporate Authorities may impose such conditions or restrictions upon the construction, location and operation of a special use, including but not limited to hours of operation, screening, and landscaping, as shall be deemed necessary to secure the general objectives of the zoning code and to protect the value of property in the neighborhood. Conditions will be made part of the authorizing ordinance and must be maintained to continue operation of the particular use.


Unless otherwise specified in the authorizing ordinance, special use ordinance shall expire if the special use ceases to operate for 6 continuous months.

More Information

For further information, contact the Community Development Department at 847-459-2620.