Staff Reports for Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments

Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments

Authorized for Public Hearings

The following proposed amendments to the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance are scheduled to be authorized or have been authorized for advertisement of public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Please note that hearing dates and times may be subject to change.

For the convenience of the public, copies of the Staff Reports for the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments are available for review in portable document format (PDF) by clicking the amendment title below. In order to view these documents, you will need to have the free Adobe Reader Version 6.0 or higher installed on your computer. Some attachments to the Staff Reports may not be available in electronic format. If you are interested in viewing these documents, please contact the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314.


Minor Modifications to Approved Zonings and Other Related Changes - Amends the Minor Modification provisions of the Zoning Ordinance to provide new flexibility that would allow additional minor changes to approved zonings by the Zoning Administrator and the Board of Supervisors without requiring formal zoning amendment applications.  The amendment also proposes editorial revisions for simplicity and clarity, revisions to provisions related to the initiation of applications, submission requirements, fees, the definition of gross floor area, and development plan regulations necessary to implement the amendment.

Planning Commission Public Hearing:  October 26, 2017 at 8:15 p.m.

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing:  November 21, 2017 at 3:30 p.m.


 Public Hearing Location

All public hearings are held in the Government Center at the following location:
Board Auditorium
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia

Speaker Information

Persons wishing to speak at the public hearings on these topics may call the Office of the Clerk to the Planning Commission, 703-324-2865, TTY 703-324-7951 and the Office of the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors, 703-324-3151, TTY 703-324-3903, to be placed on the respective speakers' list or may appear and be heard.

Sign up for the speakers' list online:
Planning Commission
Board of Supervisors  

Under Construction

The following topic areas are actively being researched and evaluated by staff to develop a proposal for an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance.  These potential amendments have not been formally authorized by the Board of Supervisors for public hearing at this time.  The following topics are being considered as part of the Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project:

Planned Development Housing Districts - Pending.

Use Definitions and Categories (including restaurants) - The Zoning Ordinance defines and regulates restaurants based on outdated operational characteristics.  The amendment is needed to clarify and simplify regulations in order to respond to this important sector of the County's economy.  This amendment is the first one under the Zoning Ordinance Modernization (zMOD) to address creating more generic use definitions to keep pace with current and future trends.

Signs - On June 18, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which drew a very distinct line concerning the use of content-based sign regulations.  The facts concerned an ordinance in Gilbert, Arizona that had differing restrictions on political, ideological and directional signs.  The Supreme Court decided that the Gilbert ordinance was "content-based" and could not survive the strict scrutiny required by the First Amendment to protect freedom of speech.  As such, the Court found that the Gilbert regulations applied to particular speech because of the topics discussed and/or expressed on the sign itself - thereby regulating some kinds of speech differently from others.  Fairfax County's sign ordinance needs to be amended to respond to the Gilbert decisions.

Additionally, the following topics are being considered as part of the 2017 Zoning Ordinance Amendment Work Program:

Short-Term Rentals - The Board of Supervisors has directed the creation of a working group to draft zoning regulations for Short-Term Rentals in the county and to establish a registry of Short-Term Rentals.  In proposing Short-Term Rental regulations to the Board, the working group seeks to balance residents' interests to protect the character of their neighborhood with the interests of persons wanting to operate Short-Term Rentals with in their residence.  Click on the title to read more information.

Continuing Care Communities- The Zoning Ordinance accommodates independent living facilities (dwellings) and a variety of assisted living/nursing care/memory care facilities (medical care) as separate uses.  Today's market is increasingly seeing these uses in combination, which presents some challenges given the zoning regulations applicable to each use.

Agricultural Uses and Districts - The Zoning Ordinance currently defines agriculture and permits such use in various low intensity residential districts.  Today's market has indicated a desire for more "agritourism" related uses (such as wineries, farm markets, seasonal farm festivals, etc.), which are currently not specifically set forth in the provisions.  Additionally, new forms of agricultural activity, such as urban community gardens and container farms, need specific designations in the Zoning Ordinance to accommodate them in appropriate zoning districts other than low density residential districts.

Rear Yard Coverage - On lots containing single family detached dwellings, the Zoning Ordinance limits coverage of the minimum required rear yard area (which does not necessarily constitute the entire rear yard) with accessory uses and structures to a maximum of 30%.  It has become increasingly common to have more hardscaping features and other outdoor amenities in rear yards, such as patios, pool decking, and other features, which may not all require building permits for construction, and therefore residents may not be aware of this restriction.  Additionally, smaller lots such as those in Planned Development ("P") Districts and corner lots which have smaller minimum required rear yards face additional challenges in satisfying this requirement while maintaining reasonable use of the rear yard.  This amendment would provide property owners increased flexibility and a means of requesting relief.

Parking - Pending.

If available, additional information will appear when you click on the title of each topic above.

For More Information

For confirmation of hearing dates and times or additional information regarding any of these issues, please contact the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314, TTY 711.

E-MAIL SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE: Subscribe to the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments e-mail service to receive periodic announcements about recently authorized proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance.

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