Apply for an Exception Permit

Are you trying to open a business, and the zoning code states that you need an Exception? The City of Miami issues Exception permits for proposed uses in transect zones where the function is not allowed by right. Exception permits require a hearing with the PZAB and may require City Commission approval.

NOTE: Exceptions have strict lifespans. If approved, you will have a specific time-frame in which to obtain all other permits, permissions & certificates needed before the Exception expires.


Find out What Type of Permit you Need

You want to be sure you're applying for the correct special permit.  Find out if you need a warrant or an exception (or if you need a special permit at all) by going through this process.  

If you have determined that an Exception is necessary for your location + function/usage, follow the below steps.  

Collect the Necessary Documents

NOTE: Before applying for your Exception, you may also need a warrant and/or waiver(s).  Click here to view the Warrant process and the Waiver process. If you are applying for an Exception, your Warrants and Waivers will travel with that application. This must be specified in your letter of intent.

You will need the following documents(PDF, 242KB) in order to complete your Exception application:

  • A detailed Letter of Intent [statement describing the intent of the proposed work, including specific details as to the nature and/or proposed use] signed by owner or owner's representative. Statement should specify if you're planning new construction on vacant land or if demolition is required, size of proposed structure, all proposed uses, location and type of improvements or repairs to existing property. Please provide as much detail as possible. 
  • Detailed architectural plans of your proposed project signed and sealed by the design professional (architect/engineer, etc.) that must include floor plans, elevations, zoning legend, diagrams, site and context photos, details and materials). 
  • Minimum of two photos (within 6 months) of existing site conditions of intended property.  PDF or JPEG format.
  • Boundary Survey from surveyor, which must be no more than one-year old. (NOTE: The Base Building Line will eventually need to be marked by Public Works on your survey.  We suggest you do this now, prior to submission, to avoid delays). 
  • Authorization to act (if you are not the property owner). This will not be required at time of submission, but at a later step. We suggest you have this ready. Notarized Hold Harmless Agreement (Signed by Owner or Owner's Representative. 
  • Property deed.
  • Complete list of all folio number(s) and property address(es) as PDF Document. (Note: If all folios and property addresses have not been submitted online, please provide supplemental documentation detailing all additional folios and property addresses. 
  • Landscape & irrigation plans (signed by landscape architect with their seal on each page).  
  • Vegetation survey signed & sealed within one year of the application date.
  • Exception Application (Signed by Owner or Owner's Representative).  This is what you will print out, sign, and scan after you complete the online application process, below. 

NOTE: Once you begin uploading your plans below, you must follow a standard naming convention (i.e. each part of the plans must be titled a specific way). These names can not change once they've been givenClick here to view our standard naming conventions. 

Apply for Exception Online 

  • You will have to create an Eplan account or login to an existing account. 
  • Select "standard application". You will receive instructions from here (including an email to upload your documents). 

Apply Here

Upload Documents

  • After you have completed your initial submission, you will receive an email prompting you to upload your documents. To do this, log back into the portal here, and this time select "manage my existing projects". 
  • Select your project number, and go to the "applicant upload task" tab.
  • Upload documents and submit.
  • This is also where you can manage your project as the below process progresses. 

NOTE: Once you hit "upload complete - send to City of Miami", your ability to upload any more documents will be restricted until the completion of the City's application acceptance process. 

If you need help uploading documents, visit this page

Upload Documents

Modify Plans and Documents, if Necessary

You will likely receive an email with comments from the City, as plans/documents often require modifications. Address the comments/issues to the best of your ability. Once you have addressed the comments from reviewers, you will need to re-submit your revised documents (go to "manage my existing project").  

NOTE: You should address your comments immediately.   If there is no activity on the project in Eplan within six months, the application will be considered abandoned and you will have to start over. 

NOTE: Multiple cycles of comments may occur back and forth, depending on your project.  You may be contacted to begin your pre-application meeting (below) as you are addressing these issues. Nevertheless, all issues must be finalized before official project approval can take place. 

NOTE: You may modify the content of your file(s), but do not change the file names when you re-submit.

Attend a Pre-Application Meeting(s)

When the project has been deemed by staff as minimally sufficient to progress (dependent on addressing all aforementioned issues), you will be contacted to attend a pre-application meeting. 

The City staff will use this meeting to further clarify any questions about your application. You can also use this time to obtain information and guidance relating to your project. You will be instructed to address any outstanding issues. More than one meeting may be necessary to address all of the issues. 

NOTE: You should address the comments from staff immediately. If there is no activity on the project in Eplan within six months, the application will be considered abandoned, and you will have to start over from the beginning. 

Go Before a Review Board, if Necessary

If, at some point in the process, you were told that your project requires advisory/recommending board review (i.e. UDRB, CRC, etc.), that board meeting will not be scheduled until the above staff review has been completed and the minimum requirements have been met (you will be notified of this completion).

Review Fees

Fees for an Exception are calculated based on the below list. You will be emailed a transaction statement (invoice) with your total amount due after requesting an appointment with Hearing Boards (below). 

  • CS, T3 (Single-Family and Duplex Residential uses) $ 1,000.00
  • All other uses $ 1,500.00
  • Extension of time $ 750.00
  • Exception Permit Requiring City Commission Review $ 2,500.00
  • Advertising $ 1,500.00
  • Mail notice fee per notice $ 4.50
  • Meeting package mailing fee per package $ 6.00

Meet with Hearing Boards

When your project is deemed ready for final approval, you will request a meeting with the Hearing Boards to prepare for your public hearing, and they will assign you a hearing date.  

Click here to request your Hearing Boards meeting, then come back to this page for further instructions.

Attend Hearing, Await PZAB Response

At the end of your hearing, you will be given the outcome of your application.  If approved, you need to request a copy of the resolution stipulating any conditions attached to your approval.

Respond to Decision

  • If approved, an Exception shall be valid for a period of two (2) years during which time a Building Permit or Certificate of Use must be obtained.  A one-year (1) time extension may be approved by the Planning Director if requested prior to the expiration of the original term of the Warrant.
  • If you receive an approval with conditions, you must comply with all conditions (within the lifespan of the warrant) before a building permit can be issued. 
  • If denied and you'd like to appeal, see below.

NOTE: Even when approved or approved with conditions, there is a 15-day appeal waiting period before you may obtain building permit(s).

NOTE: If approved or approved with conditions and you'd like to begin your building permit process within the 15-day appeal period from the date of Exception issuance, you will need to submit an “Indemnification/Hold Harmless Affidavit(PDF, 263KB)”. (With notarized signature on application).

Appeal, if Desired

Please note that anyone can appeal an Exception approval or denial within 15 days of issuance.  Click here to begin this process

Important Tips:

  • You must follow a standard naming convention when uploading all of your documents (i.e. each part of the plans must be titled a specific way and can not be changed as you modify these plans).  Click here for naming instructions