Frequently Asked Questions: 2232 Review Process

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What is a 2232 Review?

The term 2232 Review is derived from a Code of Virginia requirement under Section 15.2-2232. In general terms, this Code provision provides for a review by the Planning Commission of public facility and utility proposals to determine if their general or approximate location, character and extent are substantially in accord with the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.


What needs a 2232 Review?

Fairfax County's 2232 Review Process applies to all public areas, public buildings or structures and public utility or public service corporation facilities, whether publicly or privately owned. Enlargements, changes of use, and other changes to public areas may also be subject to these provisions. There are some facilities that are generally not reviewed under this process. (See exempt facilities.)


What is a public use?

For the purposes of the 2232 Review Process, public uses have been administratively defined by staff for many years to include, among other things, any uses which are directly under the control of the county government, or an authority or board appointed by the county government, or a quasi governmental entity which is directly supported with county funds. Public facility proposals of other local governmental units such as cities, towns or counties and regional agencies are also subject to the 2232 Review provisions. Facilities of public utilities and public service corporations, such as wireless telecommunications uses, are also subject to the 2232 Review Process pursuant to the State Code. It should be noted that the definition of public use as provided by the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance does not determine the applicability of the State-mandated 2232 Review Process.


How do I submit a 2232 Application for review?

In order to initiate a 2232 Review, all applicants must submit the standard 2232 Telecommunications Facility or Non-Telecommunications Facility Application Form (PDF). The 2232 Review Process application is provided in portable document format (PDF). To view or print PDF files, you will need Adobe Reader installed on your computer.

Submit completed application forms and Statements of Justification to: Director, Department of Planning and Zoning, 12055 Government Center Parkway, 7th Floor, Fairfax, VA 22035.


What are the different types of 2232 Review? When is a public hearing required?

There are three general categories of 2232 Review:

    1. Feature Shown
      A 2232 Review may be processed and recommended for approval as a "Feature Shown." In general, a public facility, public utility facility, or public service corporation facility, use or area may be determined to be a current feature of the Comprehensive Plan when it is either specifically identified on the Comprehensive Plan map or described in and supported by the Plan text. A Feature Shown staff report is a recommendation prepared by the Department of Planning and Zoning. If the Planning Commission concurs with the staff recommendation, approval is granted administratively without a public hearing.*

* As defined under Policy Plan guidelines, certain telecommunications proposals of very low impact are processed administratively without a staff report. These cases are approved by the individual Planning Commissioner under the Commission's consent agenda.

    1. Public Hearing
      The 2232 application will generally require a public hearing before the Planning Commission if it is not directly supported by the Comprehensive Plan and cannot be processed as a feature shown. Under this process, staff circulates the application for review by county agencies and prepares a staff report that is made available to the public two weeks prior to the public hearing. Notice of the public hearing is through newspaper advertisement, posting of the property, and written notification of adjacent and nearby property owners. After the public hearing, the Planning Commission determines if the general location, character or extent of the proposal is in substantial accord with the county's Comprehensive Plan and either approves, denies, or defers the application.

    2. 2232 Reviews with a Special Exception or other Zoning Approval(s)
      Some 2232 applications are subject to and must obtain a special exception or other approval under the county's Zoning Ordinance. When allowed, the 2232 Review and the zoning approval are heard concurrently by the Planning Commission. A zoning staff report is prepared that includes a separate section to address the 2232 and is made available to the public two weeks prior to the public hearing.


Does the Board of Supervisors hold public hearings for 2232 Reviews?

The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the 2232 Review only if the decision of the Planning Commission is appealed to the Board by the applicant or the Board, on its own motion, chooses to hear the application.


How long does the 2232 Review process take?

Except for applications involving telecommunication facilities, a 2232 Review application must be acted on by the Planning Commission within 60 days of the official acceptance date of the application by the Department of Planning and Zoning, unless such time has been extended by the Board of Supervisors.  For 2232 Review applications involving telecommunications facilities, the Planning Commission must act within 90 days of the official acceptance date unless the Board of Supervisors or the applicant has authorized an extension of the review time.  However, for such applications, the Board may not extend the time for action beyond an additional 60 days unless the applicant has agreed to an additional extension of time.


Is there an application fee?

There are no application fees for a 2232 Review determination.  However, fees are charged for applications involving special exceptions or other zoning actions.


Where do I find more information on the status of current 2232 applications?

The status of current 2232 applications can be viewed on the Pending 2232 Applications Table (PDF).  


What is the County policy regarding sled mount antennas?

On September 29, 2003, the Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to the Policy Plan determining that a sled mount antenna configuration is not considered a Feature Shown of the Comprehensive Plan. This December 8, 2011 correspondence to the Planning Commission clarifies the review process as it pertains to non-flush mounted antennas.


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