Appeals to the Board of Zoning Appeals
The Zoning Administration Division (ZAD) of the Department of Planning and Zoning provides the principal administrative coordination and support on appeal applications for the BZA. ZAD is located at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035 in Suite 807 and the telephone number is 703-324-1314.
Before the BZA will consider an appeal, an application must be properly filed with both the Zoning Administrator and the Clerk to the BZA within the time limit and in accordance with submission requirements as set forth below. The Zoning Administrator is located in Suite 807 and the Clerk to the BZA is located in Suite 801, at the above address. If an appeal application is accepted, a public hearing date is scheduled. Written notice requirements must be satisfied and the public hearing properly held before the BZA can act upon an appeal. The appellant or authorized agent is required to present the justification for the appeal at the hearing.
Properly Filed Application for Appeal
Time Limit on Filing:
Sect. 18-303 of the Zoning Ordinance sets forth the time limit on filing for appeals. Except in the following cases, all appeals must be filed within thirty (30) days from the date the decision being appealed was made.
Appeals for notices of violation involving the following violations shall be filed within ten (10) days from the date of the notice in accordance with submission requirements:
- Occupancy of a dwelling unit in violation of Sect. 2-502.
- Parking of inoperative motor vehicles, as defined in Chapter 110 of The Code, in violation of Par. 13 of Sect. 10-102.
- Parking of a commercial vehicle in an R district in violation of Par. 16 of Sect. 10-102.
- Parking of vehicles on an unsurfaced area in the front yard of a single family detached dwelling in the R-1, R-2, R-3 or R-4 Districts in violation of Par. 8 of Sect. 11-102.
- Erection of prohibited signs on private property in violation of Paragraphs 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13 or 14 of Sect. 12-104.
- Erection, alteration, refacing or relocation of a sign on private property in violation of Sect. 12-301.
- Other short-term, recurring violations similar to those listed above.
Sect. 18-304 of the Zoning Ordinance sets forth the submission requirements for appeals. All elements of the submission requirements must be met within the established filing time frame before the appeal can be accepted and scheduled for public hearing.
Each appeal application must include: four (4) copies of the application form, four (4) copies of the determination being appealed, and four (4) copies of a written statement signed by the appellant setting forth the following:
- The order, requirement, decision or determination which is the subject of the appeal.
- The date upon which the decision being appealed was made.
- The appellant's grounds and reasons for the appeal.
- Specification as to how the appellant is an aggrieved person. (For example, owner of property affected by the determination or adjacent property owner affected by the determination, etc.) If the appellant is a County officer, department, board or bureau, a statement must be provided as to how the appellant is affected by the decision.
- Any other supportive data as the appellant may desire in the record, including plats, plans, drawings, charts or related material. If supportive data is oversized, at least one copy no larger in size than 8 ½" x 11" must be provided.
A $600 filing fee as prescribed in the Zoning Ordinance must accompany each appeal application. The filing fee must be in the form of a check made payable to the County of Fairfax. Cash or credit card is not acceptable. If the appeal is withdrawn, there will be no refund of the filing fee.
Appellant must file three (3) copies of the entire appeal application package (application form, written statement, determination being appealed, and any supportive data) and the $600 filing fee with the Zoning Administrator, AND one (1) copy of the appeal application package with the Clerk to the Board of Zoning Appeals at the locations identified above.
If staff determines that the appeal is complete and timely filed, the appeal will be administratively accepted. However, if staff has a question regarding the completeness, or timeliness of an application, whether the scope of the appeal should be limited, or whether the determination at issue is within the jurisdiction of the BZA, the appeal application will be forwarded to the BZA for a determination as to whether the appeal should be accepted. In such instances, the appellant will be notified of staff's position regarding acceptance of the appeal and of the opportunity to address the BZA.
Legally Advertised Public Hearing
Normally, the public hearing on an appeal will be held within ninety (90) days of the acceptance of the appeal. There are advertisement and public notification procedures required by law for all public hearings. They are as follows:
- The Clerk to the BZA must notify the County Planning Commission of every application made to the BZA. If the Commission decides to consider any such application, it will normally schedule its own public hearing on the application prior to the time it is scheduled for public hearing by the BZA.
- The County must publish a notice of the time and place of the public hearing once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the County, such that the publications will be not less then six (6) days and nor more than twenty-one (21) days before the date of the public hearing.
- The County must, at least fifteen (15) days before the scheduled hearing, post on the subject property a notice of the hearing and a statement indicating the property affected and the nature of the appeal.
- The County must notify owners of each property involved in the appeal, if these owners are different from the appellant.
- The County must send written notice of the public hearing to property owners in the immediate vicinity of the subject property. This notice will include the date, time, place, subject matter and name of the appellant. The appellant will receive a copy of this notice.
Prior to the public hearing staff will forward a staff report to the BZA detailing staff's position, a copy of which will be sent to the appellant. At the public hearing, both staff and the appellant present their position and then any other interested person is given an opportunity to speak.
Action of the BZA
Although the BZA may defer its decision on an appeal, it usually renders a decision immediately following the public hearing. The BZA may affirm or reverse, wholly or partly, or may modify the order, requirement, decision or determination that is at issue in the appeal and the concurring vote of four (4) members of the BZA is required for any such action.
The State Code provides that any person aggrieved by a decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals may, within thirty (30) days of that decision, file a petition with the Circuit Court to review decision.