About Us-Planning Commission


Who we are and what we do

The Planning Commission advises the Board of Supervisors on all matters related to the orderly growth and development of Fairfax County, including applications for rezoning, special exceptions, conceptual/final development plans, proffered condition amendments, and all associated amendments to such applications, as well as any amendments to the County’s Comprehensive Plan. The Commission also reviews all public facility applications to ensure that they are compatible in location, character and extent to surrounding neighbors. Further, the Commission provides citizens with an opportunity to voice their support for or concerns with an application for development in and around their community.

More specifically, the duties of the Planning Commission, with the advice and assistance of the County Staff, include the following:

  1. Prepare and recommend a Comprehensive Plan for the physical development of the County, and review that Plan at least once every five years for updates and changes.

  2. Prepare and recommend amendments to the Zoning Ordinance.

  3. Prepare and recommend amendments to the Subdivision Ordinance.

  4. Prepare and recommend amendments on the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for public infrastructure development in the County.

  5. Prepare and recommend amendments to the Official Map for the County.

  6. Review and make recommendations on all amendments to the Official Zoning Map.

  7. Review and make recommendations on applications for special exceptions, and when deemed necessary, on appeals and applications for special permits filed with the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).

  8. Approve final development plans.

  9. Approve or disapprove the general or approximate location, character and extent of streets, parks or other public areas, public buildings, public structures, public utilities, or public service corporations, other than railroads, whether publicly or privately owned.
As noted, the Planning Commission plays a vital role in the development and revitalization of every community, business center and public facility in our County.

Authority and Establishment

The Code of Virginia requires jurisdictions to appoint a planning commission to review and take action on the aforementioned items. On July 6, 1938, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors established a planning commission to assist them in monitoring orderly growth within the County.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission currently has 12 members, appointed by the Board of Supervisors to four-year terms. To provide stability, the terms of the members are staggered, so that no more than 1/3 of the Commission terms expire in any one year. If a vacancy occurs outside of the scheduled appointment timeframe, the Board of Supervisors will fill this vacancy for the remainder of the term. Also, Commissioners are minimally compensated for their many hours of service, at an amount set, and periodically adjusted, by the Board of Supervisors.

To be eligible for appointment to the Commission, members must be residents of the County, living in the District he or she represents, and be qualified by knowledge or experience to make decisions on questions of community growth and development. (Note: At-Large representatives may reside anywhere within the County's boundaries.) In addition to this requirement, at least one-half of the members must be property owners.

Commission Structure

The Commission establishes its own procedures which are set forth in its adopted Bylaws and Procedures. This document outlines how the Commission operates.

The Commission has established four officer positions to help insure its smooth operation: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Parliamentarian. These officers are elected for one (1) year terms, and the election is generally held at the third regular meeting in January of each year. However, if an appointment to the membership by the Board of Supervisors is pending, the annual election may be postponed until the first regular meeting after the appointment, upon vote of the Commission.

A candidate receiving a majority vote of the membership is elected and takes office immediately. Officers serve for a one-year term, or until a successor takes office. Vacancies in office are filled immediately by regular election procedures.

The Commission also establishes various committees to help distribute its workload. These committees each elect a chairman for a one year term at their first meeting of the calendar year. For additional information on committees, please refer to the Planning Commission Committees.


Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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