Zoning Glossary M-Q

Zoning GlossaryThis Glossary is provided to assist the public in understanding the staff evaluation and analysis of development proposals. It should not be construed as representing legal definitions. Refer to the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance, Comprehensive Plan or Public Facilities Manual for additional information.


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Common Abbreviations

MARINE CLAY SOILS: Soils that occur in widespread areas of the County generally east of Interstate 95. Because of the abundance of shrink-swell clays in these soils, they tend to be highly unstable. Many areas of slope failure are evident on natural slopes. Construction on these soils may initiate or accelerate slope movement or slope failure. The shrink-swell soils can cause movement in structures, even in areas of flat topography, from dry to wet seasons resulting in cracked foundations, etc. Also known as slippage soils.

OPEN SPACE: That portion of a site which generally is not covered by buildings, streets, or parking areas. Open space is intended to provide light and air; open space may be function as a buffer between land uses or for scenic, environmental, or recreational purposes.

OPEN SPACE EASEMENT: An easement usually granted to the Board of Supervisors which preserves a tract of land in open space for some public benefit in perpetuity or for a specified period of time. Open space easements may be accepted by the Board of Supervisors, upon request of the land owner, after evaluation under criteria established by the Board. See Open Space Land Act, Code of Virginia, Sections 10.1-1700, et seq.

P DISTRICT: A "P" district refers to land that is planned and/or developed as a Planned Development Housing (PDH) District, a Planned Development Commercial (PDC) District or a Planned Residential Community (PRC) District. The PDH, PDC and PRC Zoning Districts are established to encourage innovative and creative design for land development; to provide ample and efficient use of open space; to promote a balance in the mix of land uses, housing types, and intensity of development; and to allow maximum flexibility in order to achieve excellence in physical, social and economic planning and development of a site. Refer to Articles 6 and 16 of the Zoning Ordinance.

PROFFER: A written condition, which, when offered voluntarily by a property owner and accepted by the Board of Supervisors in a rezoning action, becomes a legally binding condition which is in addition to the zoning district regulations applicable to a specific property. Proffers are submitted and signed by an owner prior to the Board of Supervisors public hearing on a rezoning application and run with the land. Once accepted by the Board, proffers may be modified only by a proffered condition amendment (PCA) application or other zoning action of the Board and the hearing process required for a rezoning application applies. See Sect. 15.2-2303 (formerly 15.1-491) of the Code of Virginia.

PUBLIC FACILITIES MANUAL (PFM): A technical text approved by the Board of Supervisors containing guidelines and standards which govern the design and construction of site improvements incorporating applicable Federal, State and County Codes, specific standards of the Virginia Department of Transportation and the County's Department of Environmental Management.


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