Administrator Exception

What is an administrator exception?

An Administrator Exception is a component of the Zoning Review that requires public notice. It is required by the Zoning Code based on the project location and scope of work for certain requests that are allowed by right, provided they will not be injurious to surrounding property as demonstrated through compliance to specific standards in the Zoning Code.


When is an administrator exception required?

The Administrator Exception requests are either dimensional requests related to a use or structure, or based on the proposed use in that specific Zoning District. Common residential dimensional requests are for accessory structures and/or uses such as decks or parking stalls in the side or rear yard, if these are no closer to the front or neighboring property line than the existing, legally established, primary structure.


Who initiates an administrator exception?

Zoning staff will determine if the proposed scope of work requires an Administrator Exception during the Zoning Review of a Zoning Development Review application. Once the applicant has provided staff with evidence of compliance with the applicable Administrator Exception standards and paid the Administrator Exception fee, staff will prepare the public notice poster for the applicant to post at the project site.


What is needed for evidence of compliance with applicable administrator exception standards?

This will vary by project and type of Administrator Exception, such as a residential dimensional request or a commercial request based on proposed use. For commercial applications, please consult the zoning staff reviewing the project. For residential dimensional applications, such as accessory structures and/or uses in the side or rear yard, staff will typically request an accurate site plan, and a letter from the impacted adjacent property owner stating that they do not have significant concerns regarding the proposal.


What is the administrator exception fee?

The fee for the Administrator Exception component of an application is $100. Other review fees will apply for the complete application (see the Fee Schedule for more information). 


What is the posted notice requirement?

The City-provided notice must be posted for at least 21 days on the subject property in a location where it is legible from the primary adjacent public right-of-way. The poster indicates the date and nature of the Administrator Exception.

On the day of posting, the applicant must take a photo of the poster and the site context as evidence that the posted notice requirements summarized above are met. (See Section 922.01.C.2 for more details.) Please upload your photos using the OneStopPGH online portal, or email or deliver the photos to the Zoning staff person reviewing the application. The 21-day count will begin when Zoning staff receives the photo and verifies compliance with the posted notice requirements.


What is required after the 21-day posted notice period?

After the 21-day posted notice period, the applicant must continue to work with Zoning staff to complete the applicable Zoning Review. If the project is in Basic Zoning Review and all other Zoning requirements have been met, the staff will email the applicant with the Record of Zoning Approval (ROZA). If the project is in Site Plan Review or Zoning Review with Planning Commission, the applicant must continue coordinating with the assigned staff reviewer on any outstanding components.


Does an administrator exception expire?

An Administrator Exception expires one year after being granted.  A permit should be obtained and substantial construction or occupancy should begin within one year of approval. If additional time is needed, the applicant may request a one-year extension by writing to the Zoning Administrator within the one-year time period. Include the address of the subject property with a brief explanation on why an extension is needed.


May a neighbor appeal an administrator exception?

Yes, affected parties may appeal an Administrator Exception within 30 days of the approval. Appeals are heard by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA).


Are administrator exception files public?

Yes, the applications and drawings are available for view at the Zoning Division, 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., excluding City holidays.


For more information:

Contact the Division of Zoning and Development Review at 412-255-2241 or