Land Development Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Office hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Counter hours: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (M-Th), 9:15 a.m.-4 p.m. (F)

703-324-1780
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035

Bill Hicks,
Director

Land Development Notices

Notices provide details of procedural and program changes impacting the land development and permit application process.

You can receive email updates when new information is available by subscribing to the Letters to Industry email list.

On May 1, 2018, the Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to Chapter 101 (Subdivision Provisions) and Appendix Q (Land Development Services Fee Schedule) of The Code of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, and to the Public Facilities Manual (PFM) related to interpretation of the PFM, hydraulic grade lines, debris control devices, new fees for code modifications and appeals, and other edits. The amendments became effective at 12:01 a.m. on May 2, 2018, with the exception that the amendment to Appendix Q will become effective at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2018.

A copy of the staff report and amendments can be found at: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/landdevelopment/public-facilities-manual-and-code-amendments

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

In instances where new construction is reconnecting to existing building sewers and drains, the Virginia Residential Code and Virginia Plumbing Code require evaluations to be conducted. Such evaluations, performed by video, must confirm existing materials is equal to that required by the code for new construction. Prior to recording, ensure the pipeline has been flushed with water. At a minimum the evaluation must provide verification of the following:

  • Address or lot location
  • Internal dimensions
  • Pipe wall smoothness
  • No standing water
  • Free from obstructions
  • No physical separations
  • No misalignments
  • No holes in the pipe walls
  • No other imperfections that could cause future blockage

While this requirement has been in existence for numerous code cycles, the Building Division is making it easier to make your video footage available for review. A new website has been developed where you can upload video files for staff review. Once evaluated, staff will notify you of the approval status. If not approved, a pipeline replacement may be required. Final inspections cannot be approved until videos have been evaluated and approved.

For questions, please call the Building Inspections Branch at 703-631-5101, TTY 711 and ask to speak with a field supervisor.

Effective April 19, 2018, all waiver requests for the removal of invasive/noxious plants, and/or dead, diseased, or dying trees under Chapter 118-3-3 (d) must be submitted using this application form. Previous forms will not be accepted after the effective date. There is no fee associated with the submission of this application form under Chapter 118-3-3- (d).

Applicants have the option of submitting the form electronically to LDSSAC@fairfaxcounty.gov, or in person to the Site Application Center, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 230, Fairfax, Virginia 22035.

Copies of the updated form and related instructions are available on the county’s website at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/landdevelopment/land-development-services-forms/.

If you gave any questions, please contact a Stormwater Engineer in Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Parking Requirements in Transit Station Areas & Parking Reductions

On February 20, 2018, the Zoning Ordinance was amended to incorporate lower parking requirements for offices, multi-family residential, and commercial uses in Transit Station Areas (TSAs) outside of Tysons. Changes to the provisions for parking reductions were also included in the amendments. The amendments became effective at 12:01 a.m. on February 21, 2018.

New parking rates in TSAs:

Multi-family Residential

Bedrooms per Unit

Spaces per Unit

0-1

1.3

2

1.5

3 or more

1.6

 

Office

Distance from Metro*

Spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. Gross Floor Area

0 – 1/4 mile

1.3

> 1/4 mile

1.5

*Distance from the station entrance along an accessible route

 

Commercial

80 % of the standard parking rate

1) Excludes offices

2) Excludes restaurants

3) Includes shopping centers

4) Includes restaurants parked at shopping center rate(s)

 

Note: All TSAs are mapped in the Comprehensive Plan.

Parking Reductions:

1) Parking reductions based on proffered Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs have been eliminated. This type of reduction was eliminated because there is no generally accepted method for correlating trip reductions, using TDM strategies, with reductions in the amount of parking required. As a result, this type of reduction was rarely used. Previously approved reductions are grandfathered.

2) Parking reductions based on the unique characteristics of a proposed use(s) have been added. Board of Supervisors (Board) approval is required. These provisions provide for parking reductions that do not qualify for consideration under more specific types of reductions and could not otherwise be considered regardless of merit. The reduction request must demonstrate that, due to the unique characteristics of the proposed use(s), the parking spaces proposed to be eliminated for the site are unnecessary and there will be no adverse effects on the site or adjoining area. These provisions are not intended to be used as a mechanism to ask for a change to the parking rates set forth in the Zoning Ordinance for the general type of use involved.

3) Shared parking reductions of up to 30% based on the timing of peak parking demand may now be approved administratively by the Director of Land Development Services for sites meeting certain qualifications. Administrative approval is not available for: sites with pending zoning cases submitted for approval by the Board; sites within 1,000 feet of a Residential Permit Parking District; or sites where the number of parking spaces is specified by an approved special permit, special exception, proffered condition, or a prior parking reduction approved by the Board. Any request for parking reductions not eligible for administrative approval may be approved by the Board under the current shared parking provisions which are being retained.

The text of the adopted amendments (ZO-18-470) is available on the Department of Planning and Zoning’s web page:

https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-zoning/zoning-ordinance/amendments/recently-adopted

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Code Research & Development Branch at 703-324-5175, TTY 711.

On March 6, 2018, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors moved to improve and streamline the land development process by allowing small additions to commercial and other non-residential properties to proceed at less cost and with shorter approval times.

Previously, commercial property owners had to submit a minor site plan or site plan for additions when disturbing more than 250 sq. ft. of land or adding more than 250 sq. ft. of gross floor area (GFA) to a building. Building additions of up 500 sq. ft. of GFA were allowed without a minor site plan if you were improving the accessibility of the property to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Once past these thresholds, the landowner would have to pay an engineering or architecture firm to prepare a minor site plan or site plan for the county, and pay the county’s submittal fees. Depending on the project, the site plan review process could take several months to get to approval.

The amendment to the Zoning Ordinance means that landowners now do not have to submit a minor site plan or site plan if they are disturbing less than 2,500 sq. ft. of land or adding less than 500 sq. ft. of GFA (750 sq. ft. for ADA improvements) to a building when certain conditions are met. The land is still subject to any applicable proffers or development conditions, building permits, zoning setbacks, and other regulations.

This change aligns with the third goal of the county’s Economic Success Strategic Plan, which is to improve the speed, consistency and predictability of the development review process.

At the same time, the board also amended the County Soils Map to reflect more detailed topography and land use research done by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.

The details of both of these amendments can be found in the Land Development Services staff report prepared for the Board of Supervisors. The amendments became effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 7, 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

We anticipate that beginning July 1, 2018, Fairfax County will charge a $208.00 fee for each Building and Fire Prevention Code Modification request submitted to the Building or Fire Official for review. In addition, Fairfax County will charge a $208.00 fee for each appeal request submitted to the Local Board of Building Code Appeals. Applications for code modifications and appeals will not be processed until payment is received. Details about this change can be found here.  If you have any questions, please contact Richard Grace at 703-324-1687.

The Building Division of Land Development Services is unveiling a new program to allow self-certification of plans associated with new antenna/cell phone equipment on existing towers or monopoles. Through acknowledgement of the owner and certifications by the design engineers, plan reviews for qualifying projects will be waived allowing for faster permit issuance.

This waiver is not applicable to new towers, new monopoles and new or replacement equipment on existing buildings.

To take advantage of the plan review waiver, attach a completed Antenna Certification Form to each set of plans during permit application. Building Plan Review technicians will process the plans with a goal to make them available for pick-up within 24 hours of submission.

Fire Protection System Shop Drawing Submissions to the Office of the Fire Marshal

Shop drawings for fire protection systems, such as fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems, are required to be submitted for review and approval, prior to system installation.  The Office of the Fire Marshal, Engineering Plans Review Branch, oversees this program. 

Shop drawings can be submitted any time after a building permit has been applied for.  The building permit does not need to be approved prior to the shop drawing submittal.  While this practice has been in place for many years, it has come to our attention that this may not be well known or regularly practiced.

We recommend shop drawings get submitted as soon as possible after the building permit has been applied for.  This helps to ensure adequate time to receive a permit to begin construction of these critical life safety features.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact John Walser at 703-246-4889.

Plan Submission
To better align current processes with future technology, the Building Division will accept only one set of building plans to be submitted for review. Applicants will be provided with a PDF-version of the approved plans on a CD upon final approval. A copy of the approved plans is still required to be onsite for inspections and is the responsibility of the permit holder.

Revisions to an issued plan will follow the same process as an initial plan submission.

This requirement will go into effect on April 1, 2018 for all applicants.  However, as a courtesy, one set of plans will be accepted beginning January 1, 2018 upon request.

Inserts Process
To coordinate records policy with state law, applicants will no long be permitted to leave the Building Plan Review offices with unapproved plan set. Inserts for corrections or revisions, will be required to be conducted in the designated areas.

This policy change will go into effect on April 1, 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact Nicholas Kavanagh, at 703-631-5101, TTY 711 or via email.

The list of manufactured treatment devices (MTDs) that have obtained interim approval by the Virginia Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse as proprietary best management practices, and have been approved for use in Fairfax County to meet the water quality control requirements of Stormwater Management Ordinance Article 4 in accordance with PFM § 6-0402.3B can be found at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/landdevelopment/publications. This list will be updated as new MTDs are approved in the future. If you have any questions, please contact Site Code Research and Development at 703-324-5175, TTY 711.

For the health and welfare of Fairfax County citizens, the Virginia Code provides “guidelines for placement and maintenance of litter receptacles” in areas used by the public. According to 9VAC20-190-50, shopping centers and restaurants are required to have no less than one litter receptacle to be located along pedestrian travel routes normally taken by persons using the facility. To be in conformance, property owners must be diligent to ensure that the litter receptacles placed generally in front of the shopping center or public place are reasonably stationary, are constructed or covered in a manner to prevent the blowing of litter from the receptacle, have at least a 10-gallon capacity, and are regularly maintained to prevent any overflow. Failure to comply is an environmental issue. For more information on these guidelines, refer to 9VAC20-190-50.

Do you have industrial storage racks, or are you planning to install them, in your facility?  If so, then you need to be aware of these basic safety precautions to reduce the likelihood of an expensive and dangerous rack collapse. 

Industrial storage racks are not shelving units one would expect to find in a residence.  They are engineered shelving systems designed to support the condensed vertical storage of materials, often in pallets, and are typically found in large warehouses and big-box retail stores.  Industrial rack systems can stand over two stories tall and support several tons of stored items.  Since they are primarily constructed of slender components that are subjected to significant compression loads, buckling of individual members due to eccentric loading can be a concern, for example, when part of the frame becomes out of plumb.  If left unchecked, catastrophic failure of the rack system can result.  When part of a rack system fails, it often results in collapse of an entire row, since it is connected together.  If the collapsing row falls onto a neighboring row of racks, as is likely for closely spaced rows, a domino effect can result in the collapse of several rows. 

A northern Virginia facility recently experienced a rack system failure involving the collapse of a row of racks approximately 30 feet high and 200 feet long killing one person and injuring several others. 

Proper installation, maintenance, and operational procedures are necessary to mitigate the dangers involved for those working around industrial storage racks.  A permit is also required for the installation of industrial storage racks since they are regulated by the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC).  Section 2209 of the 2012 Virginia Construction Code specifies that the design, testing and utilization of industrial steel storage racks shall comply with the 2008 ANSI MH 16.1, Specification for the Design, Testing, and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks, published by the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI). 

The owner is required to maintain the structural integrity of the rack system through proper operational, housekeeping, and maintenance procedures, especially in regards to properly securing the racks, preventing overloading, and inspecting for damage.  Watch out for rack columns improperly anchored to the floor or not anchored at all, missing load ratings posted for each bay, and damaged or deformed rack components.  Each column should have a base plate with anchor bolts sized to resists the loads imposed on the racks securely attached to the floor.  Load ratings should be posted by level and bay.  Racks should be routinely inspected for damage to ensure that they are secured, level, and not deformed.  Employees should be encouraged to report rack damage promptly.  Damaged portions of racks should not be used until they are properly repaired. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer and Technical Support Center at 703-222-0801, TTY 711, or email us.

Effective Sept. 11, 2017, the Records and Information Management Branch of Land Development Services (LDS) will electronically notify all outside agencies1 that approved site-related plans are available for electronic download, to include Site Plans, Subdivision Plans and Public Improvement Plans. As such, upon forwarding to Bonds and Agreements Center, customers will no longer be required to submit additional plan sets or sheets to Site Records for final distribution. 

Note: Due to the specific business needs of Fairfax Water inspection staff, customers will still be required to submit two full paper sets of approved plans along with two separate paper sets of the relevant site plan sheets to Fairfax Water directly at 8560 Arlington Boulevard, Fairfax, VA 22031. For questions pertaining to Fairfax Water’s process, please contact Ross Stilling at rstilling@fairfaxwater.org or 703-289-6385, TTY 711.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Records and Information Management Branch at 703-324-1895, TTY 711.

1Outside agencies include Fairfax Water, Wastewater Planning & Monitoring Division, Maintenance & Stormwater Management Division, Zoning Permits Review Branch, GIS & Mapping, and the EOC Pine Ridge Police Department.

As part of our efforts to streamline Fairfax County’s land development process, the Fairfax County Department of Land Development Services and the Department of Planning and Zoning are launching “Fairfax Permit Q” on August 2, 2017. Powered by the online management platform Qless™, this new technology allows customers to join our building and zoning permit lines from a home computer, a mobile phone, or an on-site kiosk.

Once placed in a queue, customers can attend to other business instead of waiting in line. Fairfax Permit Q will provide text updates on where customers are in line and predictive wait times, so they only need to return as they near the front of the queue. This new system aims to cut wait-times and improve the customer experience. County staff will still provide in-person customer service at our permit counters in the Herrity Building (12055 Government Center Pkwy., Fairfax, VA).

On Aug. 2, you can join the permit line by:

If you have any questions about this new system, please call 703-222-0801, TTY 711.

Effective July 1, 2017, engineering and construction drawings and plans for any single-family residential dwelling submitted for the purpose of complying with the Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) or the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC) shall be confidential and shall no longer be subject to disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), except to the applicant or owner of the property. Information about the latest legislative amendment, amending Code of Virginia §36-105.3, can be found online at the Virginia's Legislative Information System under HB 1587 Uniform Statewide Building Code; security of certain records.

A revised permit application form, allowing for multiple applicants to be listed, will also be made available July 1.

Note: An application for a permit shall be made by the owner or lessee of the relevant property or the agent of either or by the Registered Design Professional, contractor or subcontractor associated with the work or any of their agents. Any and all of these may be listed on the permit application form.

If you have any questions, please contact the Records and Information Management Branch at 703-324-1895, TTY 711.

Effective, July 1, 2017, Building Plan Review will not process subsequent regulatory reviews for projects with outstanding building review-related fees, including those associated with fire marshal review, until such fees have been paid. There are numerous methods with which to pay outstanding fees, including all major credit cards. Payments may be made online or at the cashier counter, located in the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway, 2nd Floor, Fairfax, Virginia 22035.

To minimize the accumulation of review fees for services rendered, we will need to ensure fees are current prior to the next review. In the past, we have had plans accumulate several thousand dollars in fees and never get permitted, leaving the county services unpaid.

If you have any questions, please contact Nick Kavanagh in the Building Division at 703-324-1778, TTY 711.

Redevelopment on single-family residential lots usually results in an increased dwelling size and impervious area, which then increases the rate and volume of runoff. A major area where redevelopment is occurring is in older suburban neighborhoods that were developed decades ago, prior to the establishment of effective stormwater management regulations. Watersheds in which these older neighborhoods are located have been well documented to be substantially degraded by the high volumes and velocities of uncontrolled runoff.  The county and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have amassed considerable data showing that many county streams are in an impaired condition with eroded, incised and unstable stream banks, deficient instream and riparian habitat, and poor biological health. There is a well-established relationship between the increase in watershed impervious area and declining stream condition and health.  The cumulative amount of relatively small impervious area added from each individual infill development and redevelopment impacts the watershed hydrology, further stressing already impaired streams.

For non-concentrated runoff conditions (e.g. sheet flow) the Public Facilities Manual (PFM) states that an owner or developer may continue to discharge stormwater into a lower lying property if the peak rate after development does not exceed the pre-development peak rate (PFM Section 6-0202.6).  An increase in peak rate or volume caused by the development is only allowed if there is no adverse impact (e.g., soil erosion, sedimentation, duration of ponding water, inadequate overland relief) on the lower lying property, as determined by the Director; or does not aggravate any existing drainage problem or cause a new drainage problem on the downstream property.

Please be reminded that for residential infill lots discharging runoff as sheet flow, unless there is no increase in the peak rate of the 10-year frequency storm runoff after development or redevelopment, the Director may require onsite stormwater management measures to control water quantity.  Owners may continue to purchase offsite nutrient credits to satisfy water quality requirements only.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development & Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711

Effective July 1, 2017, the countywide Stormwater Pro Rata Share Assessment rate will change from $20,475 to $22,161 per increase in impervious acre; the maximum water quality credit will decrease from 41.2% to 40.5%; and the maximum water quantity credit will increase from 58.8% to 59.5%.

Note: Payments received on or after July 1, 2017 will incur the $22,161 rate per increase in impervious acre, regardless of the date of the first plan submission. As stated in the Notice dated July 7, 2016, plans that were first submitted prior to Jan. 1, 2015, could use the watershed specific rates provided that the pro rata payment was made on or before Sept. 30, 2016. Any pro rata share assessment for such plans must now submit a revised pro rata share assessment form to DPWESLDSSAC@fairfaxcounty.gov prior to payment.

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer and Technical Support Center at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.

Effective immediately, the mylar sheets in a final plat (i.e. record plat) submission are no longer required; paper copies are required. Please note that the original plat still must be sealed, signed and dated by the preparer.

Land Development Services has updated the approval stamps for final plats and the template is attached. It is available in PDF format. The template should be printed on submitted plats in lieu of reserving a “blank oblong space of four (4) inches by six (6) inches” as required by §101-2-5(c)(1) of the Subdivision Ordinance.

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer and Technical Support Center at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.

Starting today, Jan. 19, 2017, the Building Division in LDS has a new central number for customers to call.  The new number is 703-631-5101, TTY 711.  After dialing the number, callers are presented with the following options to direct their call:

  1.    Press 1 to schedule an inspection or speak to inspections staff
  2.    Press 2 for elevator inquiries
  3.    Press 3 for Building Plan Review or Critical Structures
  4.    Press 4 for permitting related inquiries
  5.    Press 5 for Building Records

If you have any questions, please contact the Building Division at 703-631-5101, TTY 711.

As part of its licensing process, the Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS) requires Fairfax County to evaluate child and adult daycare facilities to ensure compliance with the building code.  Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, this process will now require a permit application, the associated minimum permit fee and a floor plan submission.  A new publication is available online in English and Spanish to explain the requirements. This process will ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and predictability in our evaluation.  

Should you have any questions regarding the new process, please contact Nicholas Kavanagh, Building Division Technical Support Manager, at 703-324-1778, TTY 711, or via email.

Because construction of a new food establishment cannot begin until the Health Department has completed its commercial plan review process, the county seeks feedback from applicants on a brand new Health Department permit application form designed to speed up the restaurant permitting process.

Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to use the new form, which includes a checklist to quickly determine what is required for approval. Use of this beta version should dramatically decrease or eliminate plan rejections, which will enable applicants to open their restaurant faster. To use the new permit application form for your current project, please email Pieter Sheehan at: Pieter.Sheehan@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Occasionally, an applicant desires to begin a project in advance of final site plan approval. Under PFM 2-0203.4 et. seq., the Director can approve a Rough Grading Plan (RGP) to allow early grading and utility work to begin on the site while the review/approval of the full site plan remains ongoing, even for plans that do not qualify for modified processing. The process below details the steps necessary to parse out appropriate items to seek approval for a project-related RGP.

  1. A site plan shall be submitted, reviewed by all reviewing agencies (i.e. Wastewater, Water Authority, Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD), VDOT, etc., if necessary) and official first-submission comments will be generated.
  2. Once first-submission site plan comments have been received from all reviewing agencies, the submitting engineer shall contact the site reviewer and schedule a post-submission meeting.
  3. In the post-submission meeting, the submitting engineer and County staff shall agree on how all first-submission comments shall be resolved and shall discuss the scope of the RGP (i.e. extent of clearing and grading, demolition, installation of underground utilities, foundations, storm water management, etc.).
  4. After the post-submission meeting with Site Development and Inspections Division (SDID) staff, the submitting engineer shall submit a letter requesting the Director's approval of the rough grading plan prior to site plan approval. The letter shall cite any hardship or unusual circumstances as justification of the request and describe the scope of the RGP and may be submitted via email (PFM 2-0203.4B (1)).
  5. Complete the RGP Processing Review Checklist and submit it with the RGP. The checklist is located at: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/landdevelopment/land-development-services-forms

If you have any questions, please contact the SDID Division at: 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

In an effort to ensure greater compliance with building codes and referenced standards, the Building Division, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, will require a copy of the certificate of inspection to be displayed inside each elevator cab and attached to each escalator and dumbwaiter countywide.  The original certificate should be kept in the office of the building operator.

For questions, please contact staff of the Building Division Elevator Program at 703-631-5101, TTY 711, or via email.

Third party construction inspection checklists and certifications for use in documenting the construction of all stormwater and BMP facilities are now available online at: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/forms/ under “Stormwater Management.”

These checklists meet the requirement of PFM 2-1301.1C and should be used for all stormwater management and BMP facilities not already under construction as of Oct. 14, 2016.  These checklists include a certification that must be signed by a licensed professional stating that the facility was constructed in accordance with the approved plans and specifications.  Checklists and certifications are also required for stormwater and BMP facilities constructed in conjunction with infill lot grading plans.

In a continued effort to streamline the building plan review process, we are combining numerous forms into a single cover sheet for both residential and commercial projects.  The new Building Plan Review Cover Sheet incorporates and replaces the following forms.

  • Accessibility Compliance Form
  • Building Information Form
  • Cover Sheet for Townhouses and Single Family Dwellings
  • Electrical Energy Certification Form

The Building Plan Review Cover Sheet may be incorporated in your plans or attached to the drawing sets on 11-inch by 17-inch paper. The new cover sheet will consist of the following five sections:

  • Project Information – Basic information about the project for either residential or commercial projects.
  • Residential – This section is for new custom or masterfile detached single family dwellings and townhouses.
  • Commercial – This section is for new or alterations (tenant layouts) to existing commercial buildings.
  • Notes – General permit requirements.
  • Designer/Architect/Engineer – This section is for designers’ information.

The revised cover sheet is available in PDF fillable format and can be used immediately.  Using the new coversheet will be mandatory starting Jan. 1, 2017.

If you have any questions, please call James Anjam at 703-324-2677, TTY, or email us.

Effective immediately, plats proposing the vacation of most County easements can be submitted and processed as an "Easement Plat". For the vacation of floodplain and storm drainage easements, a "Record Plat" will still be required.

If you have any questions, please call 703-222-0801, TTY 711, or email us.

A revision to the 2015 International Residential Code has clarified the requirement for emergency escape and rescue openings (EERO) for existing basements. 

The 2012 Virginia Residential Code requires an EERO from all finished basements.  However, Section R310.6 of the 2015 International Residential Code includes an exemption to the EERO requirement for existing basements being finished without bedrooms.  As a result, Fairfax County is relaxing this requirement now.  Basements in houses constructed prior to Oct. 1, 2003, are permitted to be finished without an EERO; however, it is strongly recommended you provide one.  An EERO in the form of a window or door to the outside is still required in basements of houses constructed after Oct. 1, 2003, and all basement bedrooms regardless of when they are constructed.  An EERO in a bedroom may serve the entire basement.  See our Typical Finished Basement Details for the specific requirements. 

The following openings can be used for emergency escape and rescue:

  • Window in a walk-out basement condition.
  • Window to a window well or areaway.
  • Door in a walk-out basement condition.
  • Door to an areaway.
  • Door to bulkhead enclosure (Bilco door or similar).

If you have any questions, please call 703-222-0801, TTY 711, or email us.

Refer to the new Off-Street Parking webpage for links to new information for processing parking tabulations and parking layout changes to show compliance with the County's parking regulations. The new information will assist applicants and stakeholders by improving the speed, consistency and predictability of the development review process:

  • Parking Tabulation Form and Instructions clarifies what information is required when determining the number of spaces required for all land uses (tenants) on a site.
  • Land Use-Parking Rate Table allows you to quickly find the parking rate for a particular land use in the Zoning Ordinance.
  • Tysons FAQs specifies the requirements for "Opting-in" to the Tysons parking rates.
  • Parking Redesignation Review Checklist identifies the items needed to ensure quick and efficient processing of redesignation plans including Tysons Opt-ins (i.e. rate redesignation).
  • Process Flowchart depicts the 2-step submission and review process for parking redesignation plans and associated tabulations.

For more information on the new webpage, please contact the Site Code Research & Development Branch at 703-324-1780, TTY 711.

An updated Parking Tabulation Form is now available. The form has been revised for clarification purposes and to be consistent with current practices.

Effective September 1, 2016, all proposed parking tabulations must be submitted on the revised form, which is identified by a revision date of May, 2016. Previous forms will not be accepted after the effective date.

Copies of the updated form and related instructions are available at the Customer and Technical Support Center and on the county's website.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development & Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Curb and gutter, sidewalk and driveway entrance standards for use in townhouse developments are set forth in Section 7-0502 and Plate 4-7 of the Public Facilities Manual. To assist in streamlining plan preparation and review, designers are requested to consider these standards early in the design process and ensure that construction plans are prepared in accordance with the following minimum standards:

  • Optional curb and gutter types are CG-6, CG-6R, CG-7 and CG-7R.
  • A 2-foot minimum grass or concrete strip is required between the back of curb and gutter and the edge of sidewalk as depicted on Plate 4-7.
  • CG-3 spill curb may be permitted.
  • A ¾-inch lip is required across the frontage of the driveway at the gutter pan.
  • Curb cut, driveway, and transition details (such as the location of transitions between different curb types and between curbs and curb inlets), must be provided on the plans to demonstrate constructability.

In addition, designers are encouraged to provide a minimum 4-foot traversable width where the sidewalk crosses the proposed townhouse driveway in accordance with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) standards CG-9B and CG-9D.

If the density and layout of a development are more urban in nature and there are feasibility issues, a modification of these standards may be approvable. Coordination with the Site Development & Inspections Division on proposed modifications prior to finalizing a layout (i.e., prior to the first plan submission) is recommended. Any request must be accompanied by details and supporting data including, but not limited to design computations that demonstrate that the depth of the 10-year storm in the gutter will not exceed the height of the modified curb. If the sidewalk is modified to be adjacent to the back of curb, the sidewalk's minimum width should be 6 feet (refer to VDOT CG-9B and CG-9D).

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development & Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

This notice is a reminder that all project designs must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fairfax County Human Rights Ordinance (Ordinance).

Professional engineers and other design professionals are frequently involved in the design and construction of infrastructure that must adhere to certain code requirements under local, state, or federal law to include the ADA and the Ordinance. The Fairfax County Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs has received several complaints of ADA/Ordinance violations with respect to approved design and construction throughout the County. As a general rule, these code requirements are straightforward. However, from time to time, some of these requirements may require some interpretation and discussion. In these circumstances, it may be advisable to seek the professional views and opinions of other knowledgeable individuals who are trusted by the engineer or design professional to determine whether project designs are fully consistent with the ADA and the Ordinance. The Office of Human Rights and Equity Programs is available as a resource. They can be reached at 703-324-2953, TTY 711 or http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ohrep. However, it is ultimately the engineer or design professional's responsibility to assure that all drawings, plans, and specifications comply with ADA and Ordinance requirements.

Effective August 1, 2016, the countywide Stormwater Pro Rata Share Assessment rate will change from $19,242 to $20,475 per increase in impervious acre; the maximum water quality credit will decrease from 42% to 41.2%; and the maximum water quantity credit will increase from 58% to 58.8%.

Note: payments received on or after August 1, 2016 will incur the $20,475 rate per increase in impervious acre, unless the date of first plan submission precedes January 1, 2015.

If your first plan1 submittal precedes January 1, 2015, then your pro rata share rate will be either:

  1. The watershed specific rates as long as you pay your pro rata fees before October 1, 2016 (no additional form submission required); OR
  2. $20,475 per increase in impervious acre, and you must submit a revised pro rata share assessment form to DPWESLDSSAC@fairfaxcounty.gov prior to payment.

 

The information above is summarized in the table below.

Date of First Plan1 Submission Date of Pro Rata Payment Rate per Increase in Impervious Acre
July 1, 2015 or later Until 7/31/16 $19,242
July 1, 2015 or later 8/1/16 or later $20,475
Before January 1, 2015 Until 9/30/2016 Watershed specific rates
Before January 1, 2015 10/1/2016 or later $20,475 and you must submit the pro rata share assessment form to DPWESLDSSAC@fairfaxcounty.gov

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer and Technical Support Center at 703 222-0801, TTY 711.

1 This includes plans of the following types submitted before January 1, 2015:

  • Conservation plans
  • Infill grading plans
  • Minor site plans
  • Public improvement plans
  • Rough grading plans
  • Site plans
  • Subdivision plans

Effective Immediately: All construction plans, plats, waivers and exceptions returned to the submitting engineer must be picked up within 90 days from the notification date. After a period of 90 days, all construction plans, plats, waivers and exceptions will be removed from the Engineers bin and recycled.

Should you fail to pick up any plan or plat within the 90 day timeframe, comments may be obtained from http://ldsnet.fairfaxcounty.gov/ldsnet/. You may obtain a copy of the approved plan, for a fee, from the Records and Information Management Branch located on the 5th floor of the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035.

  • As of June 30, 2016 all construction plans, plats, waivers and exceptions returned to the submitting engineer exceeding 90 days will be removed from the engineer bins and recycled.
  • As of July 1, 2016 the submitting engineer bins will be relocated to the 2nd floor of the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site and Technical Services Branch at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has updated its compliance spreadsheets for the Virginia Runoff Reduction Method (VRRM).  Use of the updated spreadsheets, Version 3.0, will be required for all first submission plans received after July 1, 2016, for compliance with the water quality criteria set forth in Article 4 of the county’s Stormwater Management Ordinance.

The updated VRRM spreadsheets may be found on the DEQ website as Guidance Memo No. 16-2001 and the BMP Clearinghouse website.  If you have any questions, please contact a stormwater engineer in the Site Development & Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

The coversheet templates for site related plans have changed. This affects the following plan submissions:

  • Site Plans;
  • Public Improvement Plans;
  • Subdivision Plans; and,
  • Infill Lot Grading Plans

The template revisions affect the stormwater information, pro rata share assessment form and asbestos soil notes blocks. Submittals received on or after March 15, 2016, require the revised coversheets.

For plans submitted prior to March 15th, the County encourages use of the revised coversheet template but this is not required. Any plans submitted prior to March 15th utilizing the previous coversheet may continue to use the earlier version of the coversheet on subsequent submissions.

The revised coversheets are available in AutoCad(TM) format or PDF format.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Code Research and Development Branch, at 703-324-1780, TTY 711.

The 3/15/07 DPWES Letter to Industry (07-08), titled “Exemption of Water Well Drilling from County Code Chapter 104” is hereby clarified as follows: as stated in paragraph 3, in order for “access to and drilling of the well by the exploratory and support equipment” to be determined as an exception from the definition of land disturbing activity in Chapter 104 - Erosion and Sedimentation Control, the sum total of clearing and grading, stone placement, and other land disturbing activities shall not exceed 2,500 square feet; however, an access route through forested or non-forested land of up to 20 foot width with a turnaround area which is mowed/”brush-hogged” to a height of no less than 6 inches for drill rig access and drilling will not be considered as land disturbing activity.

All other provisions of the DPWES Letter to Industry 07-08 shall remain in effect at this time.

For more information on water well drilling for residential uses, please see Letter to Industry #07-08, Exemption of Water Well Drilling from County Code Chapter 104.

If you have any questions regarding the erosion and sediment control requirements for projects consisting exclusively of water well drilling for a residential use, please contact the Site and Technical Services Branch at 703?222?0801, Option 1, TTY 711.

On February 2, 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Public Facilities Manual updating tables, plates, and example problems in the PFM to incorporate NOAA Atlas 14 rainfall data. A copy of the amendment can be found at:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/publications/pfm/amendments.htm

The amendment became effective at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2016.

If you have any questions please contact the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Effective immediately, when revising previously approved Infill Grading Plans (INF), Rough Grading Plans (RGP), and Conservation Plans (CON) engineers may now submit only the revised pages for review in lieu of submitting the original plan in its entirety.  A letter of transmittal shall accompany each revision submitted for review and approval describing the revision in detail and its general location. All revisions shall be clearly circled in red.

Revisions to previously approved INF plan submissions must still include the Fairfax County Infill Lot Grading Plan Checklist and use the Fairfax County Infill Lot Grading Plan coversheet.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

A conservation plan meeting the conditions and requirements of Letter to Industry 11-06 may be submitted in lieu of an infill grading plan.  In situations where stormwater quality compliance is required, offsite nutrient credits may be purchased to provide compliance.  A letter of credit availability must accompany the first plan submittal.  Alternatively, evidence of a credit purchase can be included on the initial submittal.  An infill grading plan is required if BMPs other than offsite nutrient credits will be used for stormwater quality compliance.

For more information on conservation plans, please see Letter to Industry 11-06.

If you have any questions regarding the water quality requirements for conservation plans, please contact the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Effective immediately, engineers now have two options for submitting Infill Grading Plans (INF) requiring a Geotechnical “Soils” Report (SR) for review.  Option 1 allows an engineer to submit separate INF and SRs.  Once a SR is reviewed and approved, the submitting engineer can submit the INF plan for review and approval.  The approximate total review time for Option 1 (not including engineer’s response time) is 8 weeks. 

Option 2 (the new option) allows an engineer to submit the INF plan and SR together for concurrent review.  However, if the SR cannot be approved as submitted, the INF plan review will be halted until the SR is resubmitted, reviewed and approved.  The approximate total review time for Option 2 (not including engineer’s response time) is 5 weeks. 

Please note that Chapter 107 “Problem Soils” of the Code of the County of Fairfax requires the submission of a SR when construction and grading work is proposed in an area containing problem soils, and for other areas where special soil or water conditions are potentially injurious (as stipulated in Chapter 107-1-3 “Geotechnical Report Required”).  Guidelines for preparing SRs can be found in Article 4 “Geotechnical Guidelines” of the Fairfax County Public Facilities Manual (PFM).  Article 4 of the PFM can be found online.

The two submission options for INFs requiring a SR are summarized below:

  1. SEPARATE INF AND SR SUBMITTALS (SR APPROVAL REQUIRED BEFORE INF SUBMITTAL)
    • SR is submitted, reviewed and approved or disapproved in 4 weeks.
    • INF is submitted to LDS with geotechnical requirements incorporated in the INF plan. SDID will review the INF (approximately 21 days) and will either, approve, disapprove with comments, or work with the submitting engineer to allow inserts, if there are minimal review comments to be addressed. If inserts are required, INF review time will be approximately 28 days.
    • Total time approximately 8 weeks, not including engineer’s response time.
  2. CONCURRENT INF AND SR SUBMITTALS 
    • The submitting engineer must provide multiple copies of INF, two (2) copies of the SR and proposed grading plan for the SR to SAC for submittal (same day at the same time). Review time for SR and INF will be approximately 4 weeks.
    • SDID will concurrently review the INF and SR, providing comments to the submitting engineer; however, the INF cannot be approved until the SR is approved and the submitting engineer formally inserts the SR and geotechnical requirements into the INF plan
    • Total time approximately 5 weeks, not including engineer’s response time.  If the INF is disapproved due to the disapproval of the SR, the revised SR must be submitted separately as an SR submission and approved prior to second INF submission and the geotechnical requirements developed from the approved SR must be incorporated into the revised INF plan.

 If you have any questions please contact the appropriate Site Development and Inspection Division Branch Chief at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Effective immediately: Infill Grading Plans (INFs) proposing the construction, expansion, or modification of a conventional or Alternative On-site Sewage System (OASS) that requires Fairfax County Health Department (HD) approval pursuant to Chapter 68.1 (Individual Sewage Disposal Facilities) of the Code of the County of Fairfax and 12VAC5-610 or 613 of the Virginia Administrative Code, may be submitted to the Site Application Center (SAC), either separately or concurrently for review by the HD and the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES), Land Development Services (LDS), Site Development and Inspections Division (SDID) as described below:

  1. Submitting Engineer may submit plans either:
    1. SEPARATELY – The submitting engineer submits copies of the INF and Septic/AOSS design directly to HD for review and approval.  Upon approval by the HD, the engineer will formally submit copies of the INF to LDS; submittal shall include HD approval.  SDID will review the INF and will either approve, disapprove with comments, or work with the submitting engineer to allow inserts if there are minimal review comments to address.
    2. CONCURRENTLY – The submitting engineer must submit two (2) copies of INF and Septic/AOSS design directly to HD, and submit multiple copies of the INF to SAC.  SDID will concurrently review the INF and provide comments to the submitting engineer; however, the INF cannot be approved until the submitting engineer formally inserts HD approval into the INF plan.  At the end of the 21-day review cycle the INF will be disapproved if HD approval has not been obtained and provided to SDID.
  2. Under either option in Item 1.
    • HD reviews the INF and ultimately approves it for grading and location of Septic/AOSS, within 14 days. The submitting engineer is responsible for informing SDID and providing confirmation of the HD approval.
    • If the HD disapproves the Septic/AOSS, then SDID will either approve, disapprove with comments, or work with the submitting engineer to allow inserts if there are minimal review comments to address, within the 21-day review cycle. 
  3. If the INF is disapproved by SDID, the submitting engineer must address SDID comments, obtain HD approval and incorporate the approval into the INF plan, and resubmit the INF to SAC, together with the appropriate resubmission fee. SDID confirm comments have been addressed and confirm approved HD grading plan sheet matches proposed grading plan within the INF. LDS can issue the Land Disturbance Permit without having the Well Permit or Septic/AOSS design approval.
  4. Septic/AOSS design review and revisions continue with HD until approved.  The construction, expansion or modification of a sewage disposal system cannot commence without the written construction permit from the HD, which authorizes the construction or modification (see 12VAC5-610-240 et seq.). Conditions may be imposed on the issuance of any permit and no sewage disposal system shall be constructed, modified or operated in violation of these conditions. 

 If you have any questions please contact the appropriate Site Development and Inspection Division Branch Chief at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

On July 28, 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Public Facilities Manual for sidewalk modifications and waivers. A copy of the amendment can be found at:

https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/landdevelopment/public-facilities-manual-and-code-amendments

The amendment became effective at 12:01 a.m. on July 29, 2015.

If you have any questions please contact the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

On June 2, 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Public Facilities Manual regarding the use of underground stormwater detention facilities in residential and mixed-use developments. A copy of the amendment can be found at:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/publications/pfm/amendments.htm

The amendment became effective at 12:01 a.m. on June 3, 2015.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711

Part of Fairfax County contains greenstone bedrock that can contain naturally occurring asbestos fibers. Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) staff recently performed soil survey work to more precisely define the borders of greenstone rock. This soil survey work has resulted in a proposed expansion of the areas in which greenstone is mapped. The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) staff is in the process of preparing an amendment to the official County Soils Map to reflect the proposed expansion.

Asbestos is hazardous to human health when inhaled. Its exposure in the environment is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Fairfax County Health Department, NVSWCD and DPWES have jointly created a guidance document called "Construction Safety in Areas of Naturally Occurring Asbestos" that describes safe construction practices in areas of greenstone bedrock.

The guidance document and proposed map expansion can be found at: http://fairfaxcounty.gov/soil-water-conservation/

If you have any questions, please contact NVWSCD at 703-324-1460, TTY 711.

In an effort to accommodate developer timelines and other related constraints associated with occupying a high-rise building, Land Development Services has established a policy to allow incremental or phased occupancy.  The policy’s underlying absolute is the need to provide safe access to and from the building (both vehicular and pedestrian) as well as a safe environment inside the facility for occupants. 

Developed in conjunction with the Fire Marshal’s Office, the Building Official and the Director of Site Development and Inspection Division (SDID), the policy was envisioned to be used for high-rise structures, but the general tenets described within may be applicable to any project where incremental occupancy would be appropriate.

To learn more, read the policy or contact Building Plan Review by email or by telephone at 703-222-0114, TTY 711.

Effective immediately: Rough Grading Plans (RGPs) intended for early grading in advance of base plan approval that meet the provisions of PFM 2-0203.4A are required to obtain Stormwater Management Plan (SMP) approval pursuant to County Code § 124-2-2 and 9VAC25-880-30 of the Virginia Administrative Code. SMP scope and approval by LDS, the VSMP Authority, is clarified as follows:

  1. For RGPs submitted before "branch chief" approval of the base plan, i.e. prior to processing to the Bonds and Agreements Center (BAC), the content of the SMP as defined in County Code § 124-2-7 shall be included in the RGP based on either:
    1. The limited RGP scope, i.e. rough grading, underground utilities, and footing/foundation construction (only if modified processing has been approved). Based on the site scope, certain interim BMPs may need to be depicted on the RGP to show compliance; or
    2. The complete base major plan scope. Under this option, approvable design content and calculations identical to the base major plan must be included on the RGP.

    The plan submitter may choose option "a" or "b" above. Approval of the RGP constitutes approval of the SMP.

  2. For RGPs submitted after "branch chief" approval where the base plan status is "in" BAC, the SMP content has been provided in the base plan. "Branch Chief" approval satisfies the SMP approval requirement.

If you have any questions please contact the appropriate Site Review Branch Chief at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Because of the constraints that would be placed on property owners' use of their land and difficulties in post-construction monitoring and enforcement on single-family residential lots, Land Development Services is making the following changes effective immediately:

Reforestation (PFM § 6-1311). Director approval, as required by the Public Facilities Manual (PFM), will not be granted for the use of reforestation as a stormwater management BMP on individual buildable single-family detached lots in subdivisions (PFM § 6-1311.2A). However, reforested areas may still be used on such lots with 70% of the reforested area treated as forest/open space for computational credit in the Virginia Runoff Reduction Method Worksheet. Computational credit for 70% of the forested area may also be applied to individual single-family detached residential lots that are not part of a bonded subdivision. The reforested area does not need to be within a restrictive easement (PFM § 6-1311.3B) to receive computational credit.

Simple Rooftop Disconnection (PFM § 6-1312). Director approval, as required by the PFM, will not be granted for the use of simple rooftop disconnection as a stormwater management BMP on individual buildable single-family detached lots. Water from downspouts may be directed to an alternative runoff reduction practice on individual buildable single-family detached lots pursuant to PFM § 6-1312.2.B. The flow path leading to the alternative practice is not required to be within a restrictive easement.

Soil Compost Amendments (PFM § 6-1314). Director approval, as required by the PFM, will not be granted for the use of soil compost amendments as a stormwater management BMP on individual buildable single-family detached lots in subdivisions. Soil compost amendments may still be used to restore the porosity of disturbed soils with 70% of the area treated as forest/open space for computational credit pursuant to PFM § 6-1314.2C. If only used for computational credit, areas of compost amended soils are not required to be within a restrictive easement (PFM § 6-1314.2C)

The above does not prevent an owner from installing these practices, at his own discretion, on individual buildable single-family detached lots for purposes other than meeting the Stormwater Management Ordinance water quality control requirements.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development and Inspection Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

On March 3, 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to the Public Facilities Manual, Chapter 101 (Subdivision Ordinance) and Chapter 112 (Zoning Ordinance) regarding as-built requirements. Copies of the amendments can be found at:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/publications/pfm/amendments.htm.

The amendments became effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 4, 2015.

If you have any questions on plan related processing issues, please contact the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

On March 3, 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Subdivision Ordinance to require a note be placed on the Final Subdivision Plat stating that "individual parcels shall be developed in accordance with the approved stormwater management plan for the subdivision." The amendment becomes effective April 1, 2015. Final Subdivision Plats submitted after March 31, 2015, are required to include the note. The purpose of this note is to assure that subsequent owners are aware of the underlying requirement in § 124-2-7.A.1 of the Stormwater Management Ordinance. The requirement in the Stormwater Management Ordinance is a state mandated requirement derived from § 62.1-44.15:28. A.7 of the Code of Virginia and 9VAC25-870-55. A.1 of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Regulation.

Final Subdivision Plats submitted prior to April 1, 2015, are grandfathered for a period of 6 months. If a grandfathered Final Subdivision Plat is not approved prior to Oct. 1, 2015, the note will have to be added to the plat before it can be approved.

The adopted Subdivision Ordinance amendment can be found at:
http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/publications/pfm/amendments.htm

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer and Technical Support Center at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.

On January 27, 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Public Facilities Manual concerning changes to the Uniform Pro-Rata Share Assessment Program. A copy of the amendment can be found at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/publications/pfm/amendments.htm.

The Board also approved revisions to the Pro Rata Share Agreement. A copy of the updated agreement is available at the Customer and Technical Support Center and on the County’s website at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/landdevelopment/land-development-services-forms.

The amendment will become effective at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2015. A guidance document covering the fee and credit calculation methodologies is being developed.

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer and Technical Support Center, at 703-222-0801, Option 1, TTY 711, or the Stormwater Planning Division at 703-324-5500, TTY 711.

On Dec. 2, 2014, the Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to Appendix Q of the Code of the County of Fairfax, Virginia (County Code) to adjust the fees charged by Land Development Services, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. The adjusted fees impact submissions for plan review, inspections, permit applications, and related items charged under Chapters 2, 61, 101, 104, 112 and 124 of the County Code. In addition, the adopted amendments include editorial changes to the Fee Schedule to improve clarity and to align the County Code with current departmental practices.

The revised fees apply to any submission received on or after Jan. 1, 2015.

The new Fee Schedule can be found at: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/landdevelopment/building-permit-fees.

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer and Technical Support Center at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.

As of Dec. 1, 2014, all infill lot grading plans submitted to Land Development Services (LDS) must go through a quality control review. A pilot version of this new program started on Sept. 2, 2014, and will remain in effect until Dec. 1, 2014. Once submitted to LDS, these plans will be routed to the Engineers & Surveyors Institute (ESI) who will complete the quality control review on behalf of Fairfax County. The new process is in response to industry requests to shorten review periods for these plans.

All infill lot grading plan (INF) submissions must include the Fairfax County Infill Lot Grading Plan Checklist and use the Fairfax County Infill Lot Grading Plan coversheet. The checklist and the coversheet files can be found at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/landdevelopment/land-development-services-forms.

ESI will review each submittal for conformance with the checklist. Some checklist items have been identified as 'fatal flaws' or critical items. Should one of these critical items not be provided, the plan will be deemed unacceptable and returned to the submitting engineer.

An overview of the new process follows:

  1. The submitting engineer delivers nine (9) copies of the plan, the review fee and one copy of the Infill Lot Grading Plan Checklist to the Site and Addressing Center (SAC) in the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA. After assigning an INF number, the plan is sent to ESI.
  2. ESI reviews the plan within one business day using the checklist as a standard.
    1. If the plan is deemed acceptable and contains no 'fatal flaws,' ESI will return the submission and the checklist with ESIs review comments to SAC within one business day for acceptance processing. The package will be forwarded to the Site Development & Inspections Division (SDID) to be assigned to a reviewer.
    2. If the plan is deemed unacceptable, ESI will return the submission to SAC within one business day along with a copy of the checklist indicating the critical items along with other review comments. SAC will fail the plan, note it as 'Not Accepted' and will place the plan sets and checklist in the submitting engineer's box on the 5th floor of the Herrity Building. It should be noted that an automated message providing notification of the non-acceptance will be sent to the submitting engineer only when an email address has been provided.
      1. Before resubmitting, the engineer must revise the plan to address all 'fatal flaws' and all other comments. Nine (9) sets of the revised plan must be delivered to SAC along with a copy of the original checklist that includes the ESI comments.
      2. SAC determines whether the resubmittal is complete and, if so, accepts the plan and distributes it to SDID for assignment to a reviewer.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development & Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

In accordance with Section 108.2.7 of the 2012 Virginia Construction Code, adopted July 14, 2014, a building permit is not required for a retaining wall supporting less than three feet of unbalanced fill that is not supporting a surcharge other than ordinary unbalanced fill.  Additional information can be obtained at the following link:   http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/images/SBC/CodeBooks/2012%20Virginia%20Construction%20Code.pdf.  

Staff is updating the applicable sections of the Public Facilities Manual. Please note that the revised wall height as stated above supersedes wall heights denoted in Items 1 and 2 of the Checklist for Retaining Wall Submissions, published by Land Development Services on Oct. 1, 2001, in Letter to Industry #01-09.

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Land disturbing activities that are not exempt from the Fairfax County Stormwater Management Ordinance (SWMO) must submit a complete stormwater management plan for review and approval. A Stormwater Management Plan Completeness Checklist is available to determine whether the plan is complete and can be accepted for review. As the VSMP administrator, Fairfax County requires this checklist to be signed and sealed by the licensed professional preparing the plan and submitted along with the plan. Per SWMO §124-2-9.A.1, if the plan is determined to be incomplete, the applicant will be notified in writing of the reasons the plan is deemed incomplete.  If a determination of completeness is not made within 15 calendar days, the plan shall be deemed complete as of the date of submission. Where available to the applicant, electronic communication may be considered communication in writing.

The stormwater management plan must comply with all County Code and PFM requirements. Compliance with the checklist items and obtaining a determination of completeness does not necessarily mean that the plan content is correct or that the plan will be approved.

The Stormwater Management Plan Completeness Checklist is available for download at: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/forms

If you have any questions, please contact the Site Code Research and Development Branch, at 703?324-1780, TTY 711.

The Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development has adopted amendments to the Virginia Amusement Device Regulations including increases to the amusement device permit fees regulated by this code. The amendments became effective on July 14, 2014.  A copy of the regulations is available at http://register.dls.virginia.gov/details.aspx?id=4355.

The County is in the process of updating the applicable sections of the county codes.

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer and Technical Support Center at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.

On July 14, 2014, Virginia will adopt the 2012Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) which references the codes listed below and includes Virginia-specific technical amendments. 

  • 2012 International Building Code
  • 2012 International Residential Code
  • 2012 International Mechanical Code
  • 2012 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2012 International Plumbing Code
  • 2011 National Electrical Code
  • 2012 International Energy Conservation Code
  • 2012 International Existing Building Code
  • 2012 International Property Maintenance Code

From July 14, 2014, until July 13, 2015, permit applicants may choose to use the technical provisions of the 2009 or 2012 USBC.  Mixing provisions between the two editions of the code is prohibited.  Beginning July 13, 2015, all applications and plans must meet the 2012 USBC requirements.

The administrative provisions and technical amendments of the USBC are available as a stand-alone document and can be downloaded on the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development website.

Virginia versions of the codes listed above (except the National Electrical Code) which incorporate the Virginia-specific provisions are available for purchase from the International Code Council's online store.

Please note that in the Virginia version of the International Building Code, Chapter 34, Existing Structures, has been deleted in its entirety.  Designers must use the Virginia Rehabilitation Code (Virginia version of International Existing Building Code) for alterations to existing commercial and multi-family buildings.

County-wide masterfile plans designed under the 2009 USBC will no longer be valid after July 13, 2015.  New masterfile plans designed under the 2012 USBC must be submitted and new permits must be obtained prior to that date for all active models. 

For more information, please contact Building Plan Review by email or by telephone at 703-222-0114, TTY 711.

The following interpretations apply to the County’s Stormwater Ordinance.

  1. INFILL LOT GRADING PLANS.  Land-disturbing activities for single-family detached dwellings disturbing less than one acre and not part of a larger common plan of development or sale, including: additions to existing single-family detached dwellings; accessory structures to single-family detached dwellings; and demolitions of single-family detached dwellings or accessory structures are not required to obtain state VPDES permit coverage. Consequently, infill lot grading plans for such land-disturbing activities submitted for review to Land Development Services (LDS) no later than close-of-business on June 30, 2014, are considered to have met the eligibility requirements of § 124-1-11.A (Time Limits on Applicability of Approved Design Criteria) of the Stormwater Management Ordinance for acquisition of state permit coverage provided that the infill lot grading plan is complete and accepted for review, and is subsequently approved before Jan. 1, 2015. Resubmissions of infill lot grading plans that have met the June 30, 2014, submission deadline may be approved as long as the revised plan does not result in a net increase in phosphorus runoff from the land-disturbing activity as depicted on the previously submitted version of the plan. These projects shall be subject to the technical criteria of Article 5 (i.e., the current stormwater management criteria) of the ordinance pursuant to § 124-1-11.A. 

    Infill lot grading plans submitted after June 30, 2014, must demonstrate compliance with the new technical requirements of Article 4 of the ordinance.
     
  2. BMP and/or DETENTION WAIVERS. The county has determined that BMP and/or detention waivers with expiration dates that extend past July 1, 2014, shall remain valid until the expiration date or the life of the associated plan if it has been approved provided that all conditions of the waivers are met. Extensions of these waivers will not be granted unless the associated plan qualifies for grandfathering. For application of this determination for specific sites, contact the appropriate Branch Chief in the Site Development and Inspection Division.
     
  3. START OF CONSTRUCTION. The county has determined that all references to commencing or starting construction in the Stormwater Management Ordinance, Virginia Stormwater Management Regulations, and the Virginia Stormwater Act shall be interpreted as the applicant/owner/developer having obtained a land disturbance permit from LDS.

For more information contact the Site Code Research and Development Branch at 703-324-1780, TTY 711.

 The General Assembly adopted the following amendments to Title 15.2 (Counties, Cities and Towns) of the Code of Virginia. For additional information, click on the section number to view the amended text.

§ 15.2-2260. Submission of Preliminary Subdivision Plats
Effective July 1, 2014, the submission of a preliminary subdivision plat for tentative approval is now at the option of the landowner for plats involving 50 or fewer lots.  

§ 15.2-2261. When a Plan is Deemed Approved
Effective July 1, 2013, a site/subdivision plan is deemed approved once the only requirement remaining to be satisfied in order to obtain a building permit is the execution of any agreement and posting of any bonds and escrows or the submission of any other administrative documents, agreements, deposits, or fees required in order to obtain the permit.  However, any fees that are customarily due and owing at the time of review of the plan shall be paid in a timely manner.

The county is in the process of updating the applicable sections of the county codes. If you have any questions, please contact the Site Code Research and Development Branch at 703?324-1780, TTY 711.

The Advisory Plans Examiner Board of the Engineers & Surveyors Institute has approved a 6-month test period for the Urban Forestry Management Division (UFMD) to act as an outside agency for the review of second-submission plans that are a part of the Designated Plan Examiner (DPE) program. Second-submission plans submitted by a DPE should now be routed directly to UFMD in Room 518 of the Herrity Building at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035. 

One full set of the second-submission plan should be delivered to UFMD accompanied by a transmittal identifying the plan as a DPE submission and the engineer’s comment-response letter. Once approved, UFMD will notify the DPE to retrieve the plan and will notify Land Development Services of the approval.

The test period for this process will expire on October 31, 2014, unless extended by the Advisory Plans Examiner Board. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Urban Forest Management Division at 703-324-1770, TTY 711.

Pursuant to Zoning Ordinance Article 2-601.3, rough grading plans (RGP) that are submitted to Land Development Services must establish the intended permissible use and show proposed grading. 

If an RGP submittal is based on an accepted or approved zoning case or approved preliminary plat, then these previous submittals address the intended use and grading requirements. In these cases:

  1. The RGP must clearly identify the corresponding zoning case or preliminary plat, and any proffers/development conditions shall be included in the RGP submittal.
     
  2. PFM 2-0203.4A applies; however, as part of a pilot program to evaluate RGPs, for RGPs submitted to Land Development Services starting May 12, 2014, until the close-of-business on September 12, 2014, the following applies:
    1. Consistent with PFM 2-0203.4A, a pre-approval condition requiring the submittal of the corresponding major plan shall be established for the RGP in PAWS.
    2. The “unusual circumstances” of PFM 2-0203.4A are determined to be met.

For “by-right” cases requiring a site plan or minor site plan where the project schedule warrants a plan submittal in advance of the site plan or minor site plan, please contact the appropriate Branch Chief in the Site Development and Inspections Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711 to determine if the requirements of PFM 2-0203.4A will be met for the site.

As of July 1, approved plans, plans currently under review, or plans that are still in bonding WILL BE REQUIRED TO BE REDESIGNED to meet the new stormwater management requirements UNLESS your plan, or its associated rezoning or preliminary plat was approved by the County before July 1, 2012 (grandfathered) or is covered by an existing state VSMP permit.

If your project requires state VSMP permit coverage, or you are unsure about the need for VSMP permit coverage, contact the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at 804-698-4000 or 1-800-592-5482 (toll free in Virginia) and/or submit a VSMP permit registration statement and Fee Form to DEQ no later than June 1. Information about VSMP permits is available at the DEQ Construction General Permits webpage: http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement/VSMPPermits/ConstructionGeneralPermit.aspx

Grandfathering applies to plans that were approved by the County prior to July 1, 2012, and that have not obtained VSMP permit coverage or commenced construction.  If you are unsure about whether your project meets the criteria for grandfathering or time limits please review County Technical Bulletins 14-04 and 14-06.

Additional training for industry on the County Stormwater Management Ordinance is being developed.  If you are interested in attending, you may call staff at 703-324-1780, TTY 711 to be included on a contact list.