of the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance allows certain businesses
and occupations to be conducted in a dwelling unit as a home
occupation provided certain of limitations are met.
Home Occupation Permit Limitations
A home occupation must be conducted by the home occupation permit
applicant within the dwelling which is the primary residence of
the applicant or in an accessory building thereto which is
normally associated with a residential use and shall be clearly
subordinate to the principal use of the lot as a dwelling. Please
see Paragraph 12 below for exceptions related to horseback riding
Except for articles produced on the premises, no stock in trade
shall be stored, displayed or sold on the premises.
There shall be no exterior evidence that the property is used in
any way other than for a dwelling.
No mechanical or electrical equipment shall be employed other
than machinery or equipment customarily found in the home,
associated with a hobby or avocation not conducted for gain or
profit, or customary for a small office.
No outside display or storage of goods, equipment or materials
used in connection with the home occupation shall be
The home occupation permit applicant and other persons who use
the dwelling as their primary residence may be involved in the
home occupation use. In addition, one (1) nonresident person,
whether paid or not for their services, may be involved in the
home occupation use on the property provided that there is only
one (1) such person on the property and the hours of such
attendance shall be limited to 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through
Friday. Please see Paragraph 13 below for exceptions related to
horseback riding lessons.
Only one commercial vehicle shall be permitted per dwelling unit,
subject to the following provisions:
Any commercial vehicle parked in an R district shall be owned
and/or operated only by the occupant of the dwelling unit at
which it is parked.
The following commercial vehicles shall be prohibited from
parking in an R district:
(1) Food trucks, solid waste collection vehicles, tractors and/or
trailers of tractor-trailers, dump trucks, construction equipment,
cement-mixer trucks, and towing and recovery vehicles;
(2) Vehicles, including any appurtenances attached to the vehicle,
that are greater than twenty-one (21) feet in length, eight (8)
feet in height, or eight and a half (8 ½) feet in width;
(3) Vehicles carrying commercial freight in plain view;
(4) Trailers used for transporting equipment whether attached or
unattached to another vehicle;
(5) Vehicles with three (3) or more axles; or
(6) Vehicles or equipment that are similar to Paragraphs B(1)
through B(5) above.
The dwelling in which the home occupation is being conducted
shall be open for inspection to County personnel during
A permit for a home occupation is valid for only the original
applicant and is not transferable to any resident, address or any
other occupation. Upon termination of the applicant's residency,
the home occupation permit shall become null and void.
No sign shall be permitted, and all outdoor lighting shall be in
accordance with Part 9 of Article 14.
Except for schools of special education and horseback riding
lessons, there shall be no customers or clients.
Schools of special education and horseback riding lessons shall
be subject to the following class size limitations:
A school of special education shall not exceed more than four
(4) pupils at any given time and not more than eight (8)
pupils in any one day.
Horseback riding lessons on lots containing a minimum of two
(2) acres but less than five (5) acres shall include no more
than two (2) students at any given time and up to eight (8)
students in any one day.
Horseback riding lessons on lots containing five (5) acres or
more shall include a maximum of four (4) students at any
given time and up to eight (8) students in any one day.
In addition to Paragraphs 1 through 12 above, horseback riding
lessons shall be subject to the following:
Notwithstanding Paragraph 1 above, the primary residence of
the home occupation permit applicant shall be located on the
same lot where the horseback riding lessons are given;
however, the applicant shall not be required to conduct the
horseback riding lessons and/or care for the horses that are
kept, boarded or maintained on the property.
The hours of horseback riding lessons shall be limited to
7:00 AM to 7:00 PM and notwithstanding Paragraph 6 above, one
(1) nonresident person, whether paid or not for their
services, may assist with the horseback riding lessons and/or
care for the horses, provided that the hours of such
attendance shall be limited to 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
All horses used in the horseback riding lessons shall be kept
on the property and no horses shall be transported or ridden
onto the property for the lessons.
If there is a lighted outdoor riding ring or riding area, the
use of outdoor lighting for such areas shall be limited to
7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
A Conservation Plan approved by the Northern Virginia Soil
and Water Conservation District shall be prepared for the
property and all activity on the property shall conform to
such Plan. A copy of the approved Conservation Plan shall be
submitted to the Zoning Permit Review Branch with the Home
Occupation Permit application.
Riding lessons, other than as permitted above,
shall be deemed a riding/boarding stable and shall require special
permit approval in those districts where permitted.
If there are any changes proposed in the dwelling or in the
plumbing or the electrical system, appropriate permits will be
required. Approval of this permit or of any other permit does not
relieve the Applicant from compliance with the provisions of any
applicable ordinances of Fairfax County or the Commonwealth of
A permit for a home occupation shall be revocable by the Zoning
Administrator because of the failure of the owner or operator of
the use covered by the permit to observe all requirements of the
permit and the Zoning Ordinance.
Permitted Home Occupations
Home occupations include, but are not necessarily limited to, the
1. Artists and sculptors.
2. Authors and composers.
3 Dressmakers, seamstresses and tailors.
4. Home crafts, such as model making, rug weaving, lapidary
work, and ceramics.
5. Office facilities, other than home professional offices
as defined in Article 20.
6. Schools of special education whose class size does not
exceed more than four (4) pupils at any given time and not more
than eight (8) pupils in any one day.
7. The letting for hire of not more than two (2) rooms for
rooming or boarding use for not more than two (2) persons, neither
of whom is a transient.
8. Horeseback riding lessons, in accordance with the
A. On lots containing a minimum of two (2) acres but less
than five (5) acres, no more than two (2) students at any given
time and up to eight (8) students in any one day.
B. On lots containing five (5) acres or more, a maximum of
four (4) students at any given time and up to eight (8) students in
any one day.
It is important to note that home occupations are different from
home professional offices. The offices, studios, and occupational
rooms located within a single family detached residence of licensed
or certified physicians, physical therapists, psychiatrists or
psychologists, engineers, architects, real estate appraisers or
brokers, insurance agents and other professionals who see clients
are allowed as home professional offices. A home professional
office requires a public hearing and the approval of a special permit by the Board of
Zoning Appeals. If you believe that your occupation is more closely
identified with a home professional office, please contact the
Zoning Evaluation Division of the Department of Planning and Zoning
at 703-324-1290, TTY 711 for further information.
Applying for a Home Occupation Permit
All applications require a completed Home
Occupation Permit Application (PDF), a narrative statement and
a check for the application fee in the amount of $50 made payable
to Fairfax County.
In order to view, print, and fill out the application form, you
will need to have
Adobe Reader version 6.0 or higher installed on your computer.
Completed applications may be submitted in person or mailed to the
Department of Planning and Zoning
Zoning Administration Division
Zoning Permit Review Branch
12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 250
Fairfax, Virginia 22035-5508
Phone Number: 703-222-1082
For mailed applications, please allow up to two weeks processing
time. If you have further questions regarding a Home Occupation
Permit, please contact the Zoning Permit Review Branch.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday
9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday