The Zoning Section processes zoning map amendments, special exceptions, variances, special permits, certification of nonconforming uses, and departures. Zoning map amendments for mixed-use, comprehensive design, and traditional single-purpose developments establish the development potential for individual properties. Special exceptions and special permits are required for specific uses, and physical improvements must conform to an approved site plan. The certification process addresses uses that were established legally but are not currently permitted by existing zoning. Departures and variances provide modest relief from the strict requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, based upon the existence of unique physical characteristics or other extraordinary situations that could otherwise prohibit reasonable use of a property.