A drop box is defined as any portable outdoor container intended or used for the collection and storage of unwanted textile and household items such as clothing, toys, books, and shoes, which are removed from the container on a periodic basis. Refer to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-development/zoning-ordinance for a copy of the code section.
Drop-off boxes are considered an accessory use subject to the provisions of Paragraph 34 of Article 10-102 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 and certain P and R districts in accordance with certain county regulations, and subject to proffers and development conditions that may preclude or restrict them.
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 drop-off boxes is subject to the regulations for accessory storage structures in Paragraph 34C of Section 10-102 of the zoning ordinance as well as any proffers or development conditions. They are not permitted to be located anywhere in the front yard of lots zoned C-5 through C-8, which are less than 40,000 square feet in area. On larger lots, they may be in the front yard but must be set back a distance equal to the minimum front yard requirement of the zoning district, 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. Additional limitations apply to the location of any drop-off box exceeding eight and one-half feet in height.
If a Property Owner notices an unpermitted drop box on their property:
- Property Owner obtains the name and contact information of the organization who owns the drop box.
- Property Owner contacts the organization to report the unpermitted drop box, requesting that it be removed it within 3-5 days.
- 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.
- Property Owner may contact 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.