Code Compliance

CONTACT INFORMATION: Code Compliance is open 8AM - 4PM Mon-Thurs and 9:15AM - 4PM Fridays.
703-324-1300 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 1016
Fairfax, VA 22035
Gabriel M. Zakkak

Donation Drop-Off Boxes

Donation Drop-Off Boxes flyer
Drop-Off Boxes Flier

A donation drop-off box is defined as any portable outdoor container intended or used for the collection and short-term storage of items such as clothing, toys, books, and shoes, which are removed from the container on a periodic basis.

Drop-off boxes are considered an accessory use subject to the provisions of Article 4 of the Zoning Ordinance, permitted only in conjunction with a principal use, such as a shopping center or commercial establishment, and not permitted as the sole use on a lot. They may be allowed on commercial properties zoned C-5 through C-8 that are at least 40,000 square feet in size. In residential zoning districts, donation drop-off boxes are permitted where the principal use of the property is not residential (such as a religious assembly use). Donation drop-off boxes are also permitted where specifically identified on a development plan that is approved in conjunction with a special permit or special exception for another use, or a proffered rezoning. 

A maximum of two (2) donation drop-off boxes shall be permitted on any one (1) lot and shall be located within a contiguous area of not more than 120 square feet, with no individual drop-off box exceeding the dimensions of seven (7) feet in height, six (6) feet in width or six (6) feet in length.

The location of donation drop-off boxes must comply with the front setback, which is typically 40 feet in most commercial zoning districts.

They may not be in any transitional screening yard, landscaped open space (including parking lot landscaping), required parking spaces, in the public right-of-way, or in any location that could impede vehicular or pedestrian circulation, vision, or access within a site.


If a Property Owner notices an unpermitted drop box on their property:

  1. Property Owner obtains the name and contact information of the organization who owns the drop box.
  2. Property Owner contacts the organization to report the unpermitted drop box, requesting that it be removed it within 3-5 days.
  3. Property owner may inform the organization that if the drop box is not removed within a specified timeframe, Property Owner may take steps to have it removed.
  4. Property Owner may contact Department of Code Compliance (DCC) to file a complaint about a donation drop box. DCC may issue a notice of violation against the property owner if the drop box is in violation of any zoning requirements or if it is overflowing.
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