Zoning Glossary T-Z


This 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

TIDAL WETLANDS: Vegetated and nonvegetated wetlands as defined in Chapter 116 Wetlands Ordinance of the Fairfax County Code: includes tidal shores and tidally influenced embayments, creeks, and tributaries to the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers. Development activity in tidal wetlands may require approval from the Fairfax County Wetlands Board.

TRANSPORTATION DEMAND MANAGEMENT (TDM): Actions taken to reduce single occupant vehicle automobile trips or actions taken to manage or reduce overall transportation demand in a particular area.

TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM MANAGEMENT (TSM) PROGRAMS: This term is used to describe a full spectrum of actions that may be applied to improve the overall efficiency of the transportation network. TSM programs usually consist of low-cost alternatives to major capital expenditures, and may include parking management measures, ridesharing programs, flexible or staggared work hours, transit promotion or operational improvements to the existing roadway system. TSM includes Transportation Demand Management (TDM) measures as well as H.O.V. use and other strategies associated with the operation of the street and transit systems.

URBAN DESIGN: An aspect of urban or suburban planning that focuses on creating a desirable environment in which to live, work and play. A well-designed urban or suburban environment demonstrates the four generally accepted principles of design: clearly identifiable function for the area; easily understood order; distinctive identity; and visual appeal.

VACATION: Refers to vacation of street or road as an action taken by the Board of Supervisors in order to abolish the public's right-of-passage over a road or road right-of-way dedicated by a plat of subdivision. Upon vacation, title to the road right-of-way transfers by operation of law to the owner(s) of the adjacent properties within the subdivision from whence the road/road right-of-way originated.

VARIANCE: An application to the Board of Zoning Appeals which seeks relief from a specific zoning regulation such as lot width, building height, or minimum yard requirements, among others. A variance may only be granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals through the public hearing process and upon a finding by the BZA that the variance application meets the required Standards for a Variance set forth in Sect. 18-404 of the Zoning Ordinance.

WETLANDS: Land characterized by wetness for a portion of the growing season. Wetlands are generally delineated on the basis of physical characteristics such as soil properties indicative of wetness, the presence of vegetation with an affinity for water, and the presence or evidence of surface wetness or soil saturation. Wetland environments provide water quality improvement benefits and are ecologically valuable. Development activity in wetlands is subject to permitting processes administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


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