Home Occupation Permits



Article 10 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

  1. 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 lessons.

  2. Except for articles produced on the premises, no stock in trade shall be stored, displayed or sold on the premises.

  3. There shall be no exterior evidence that the property is used in any way other than for a dwelling.

  4. 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.

  5. No outside display or storage of goods, equipment or materials used in connection with the home occupation shall be permitted.

  6. 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.

  7. Only one commercial vehicle shall be permitted per dwelling unit, subject to the following provisions:

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  1. The dwelling in which the home occupation is being conducted shall be open for inspection to County personnel during reasonable hours.

  2. 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.

  3. No sign shall be permitted, and all outdoor lighting shall be in accordance with Part 9 of Article 14.

  4. Except for schools of special education and horseback riding lessons, there shall be no customers or clients.

  5. Schools of special education and horseback riding lessons shall be subject to the following class size limitations:

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  6. In addition to Paragraphs 1 through 12 above, horseback riding lessons shall be subject to the following:

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

  1. 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 Virginia.

  2. 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 following:

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 following limitations:

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 following address:

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

Office Hours:
8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday
9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday

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.

 


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