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 Technical Bulletins 3-1 to 7-8 8-9 and 9-3

One of the goals of the Fairfax County Building Plan Review Commercial Walk-Thru Program is to allow a priority review of small, simple commercial projects and provide a faster alternative to the permit application process.

Due to a significant increase in the number of plans submitted under the program and in order to maintain the program's goals, plans for tenant spaces which include Group A-2 and Group B-food establishments will no longer qualify for the walk-thru program as of June 2, 2008.

The Expedited Building Plan Review Program will continue to accept plans for the affected groups that still require an expedited review.

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

Changes in the requirements for approval of a proposed private residential water well have necessitated that an applicant demonstrate a minimum well yield for that specific well in order to gain approval by the Department of Health and prior to obtaining a building permit.

Reviewed approval of a proposed lot grading plan depicting a private residential water well is required before the plan can be submitted to Plan and Document Control for review.  When the Department of Health determines that the proposed well meets the minimum location requirements, they will issue a well permit to allow the drilling of the well.  At the same time, they will indicate their approval for review on the grading plan, which will then allow submission of that plan to Plan and Document Control for review.  This review can occur concurrently with the drilling of the well.  The applicant may also submit their building permit application and associated architectural drawings to the Permit Application Center to initiate that building plan review process as well.  Once the well has been drilled and a yield determined, the driller must provide evidence of satisfactory well yield to the Department of Health.  The building permit cannot be issued prior to Health Department approval of the well yield.

It is this department’s determination that access to and drilling of the well by the exploratory and support equipment, as well as installation of the water service connections, is exempt from provisions of Chapter 104 – Erosion and Sedimentation Control, of the Code of the County of Fairfax. Therefore, once the Department of Health has reviewed and approved the proposed well site location and issued a well permit to access and drill the well, an approved grading plan and site permit will not be required by this department to access and drill the well.  This exemption applies only to the minimum disturbance necessary to access and drill the well and does not enable the contractor to begin development of the site.

It is important to note that provisions of other ordinances and restrictions may apply to the areas of a proposed well and access to the well site.  Specifically, a grading plan or other studies, reports or written permissions may be required if access to the well site involves disturbance of land areas which are regulated by other provisions of the law, such as Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Areas (Code of the County of Fairfax, Chapter 118), floodplains (Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance), wetlands as defined by the US Army Corps of Engineers, areas restricted by recorded conservation easements, proffered tree save areas, or other similar areas.

All first submission Site Plans (SP), Subdivision Plans (SD) and Public Improvement Plans (PI) submitted on or after February 26, 2007, will require the new cover sheet (dated January 10, 2007). The new cover sheet reflects changes that are necessary to:

  • Facilitate tracking of stormwater management data for reports required by the county’s municipal separate storm sewer (MS4) permit. The block on the cover sheet pertaining to the stormwater statement has been revised to include the information outlined in Attachment A*. This information is further described below. The information regarding the number of stormwater detention facilities, the number of BMP facilities, and the number of private SWM facilities is no longer required on the plan.
  • Ensure notification of the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) of projects requiring permits from the ACOE. If the development requires a wetlands/water permit, it must be indicated as required under the plan approval information item 24 and noted under the comments when it was sent to the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Identify plans proposing dams that require construction permits and operating and maintenance plans pursuant to the “Virginia Impounding Structures Regulations (Dam Safety).” If the development includes a dam that will be regulated by the state, indicate that it is required under the plan approval information item 25. The construction plan will not be approved until the permit is received (See Letter to Industry 07-01).
  • Facilitate review for compliance with revisions to FEMA maps. If the development entails a Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR), it shall be indicated as required under plan approval information and the date that the CLOMR is received shall be noted in the comment column.
  • Facilitate review for compliance with Chapter 109.1 of the Fairfax County Code regarding refuse and recycling collection.
  • Comply with proposed amendments to the PFM regarding vegetated roof notes. The vegetated roof notes will not be required unless and until the proposed amendment regarding vegetated roofs has been adopted by the Board of Supervisors. However, since the cover sheet was being revised, it seemed an opportune time to include this change to the cover sheet. If and when the vegetated roof amendment is adopted by the Board of Supervisors, and if a vegetated roof is included in the plan, it shall be noted as required under the plan approval information item 27 and the appropriate notes, which will be indicated in the adopted amendment, shall be added to the cover sheet.
  • Facilitate review for compliance with overlay district requirements in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance. Under plan approval information item 28, it shall be noted whether or not overlay district information is required and note under the comments column what type of overlay district is pertinent. The types of overlay district are commercial revitalization, historic, natural resource, airport noise impact, sign control, highway corridor, and water supply protection.

Information regarding rezoning, special permits and variances has been consolidated into items 19 through 23. In items 19 and 20, the comment field shall be used to indicate the zoning application number(s) and thereby identify whether the plan is associated with a rezoning, special exception and/or special permit. The appropriate clerk letter or resolution shall be indicated as required under item 20, and noted as to what sheet contains the letter or information in the comment block of item 20.

Copies of a mylar cover sheet or compact disc are available at the Cashier’s Office at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 236, Fairfax, Virginia 22035. Alternatively, the cover sheet may be downloaded free of charge from the Engineers Surveyors Institute’s (ESI) knowledge center at http://www.esinova.org/.

NEW REQUIREMENTS REGARDING STORMWATER MANAGEMENT (SWM) FACILITIES AND BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE (BMP) FACILITIES

As of January 1, 2007, the state requires that the county keep a record of certain information regarding SWM and BMP facilities that come on-line as part of the county’s municipal separate storm sewer (MS4) permit. On-line means facilities that are released from bond starting January 1, 2007. Although this information will be captured on new major plans that include the new cover sheet, this information must also be obtained for major plans and infill grading plans that are in the land development process and include a SWM and/or BMP facility. A template and description for the information is provided in Attachment A*.

The information shall be obtained as follows:

All Major Plans and Infill Grading Plans submitted prior to February 26, 2007 – A copy of Attachment A* must be included with the plan submission to Plan and Document Control.

Infill Grading Plans and Major Plans submitted on February 26, 2007 or later – The infill grading plans shall incorporate the information in Attachment A* onto the plans. Major Plans shall include the new cover sheet. The new cover sheet, which was described earlier in this letter, includes a block with the same information that is in Attachment A*. This information must be completed on the coversheet.

Major Plans and Infill Grading Plans that have been submitted, but have not been approved as of the date of this letter - In order for the plan to be approved, Attachment A* must be submitted to Plan and Document Control. A pre-approval condition will be placed on these plans regarding the MS4 information.

Major Plans that have been approved, but the associated bond has not been released as of the date of this letter - In order to be released from bond, Attachment A* must be submitted to Plan and Document Control. A post-approval condition will be added to the plan record. Attachment B* is a list of these plans sorted by design engineer.

Infill Grading Plans that have been approved, but the associated conservation escrow has not been released as of the date of this letter. In order to release the conservation escrow, Attachment A* must be submitted to Plan and Document Control.

New Requirements regarding Refuse and Recycling Collection

Fairfax County Code, Chapter 109.1, approved in July 2006, requires recycling of mixed paper and cardboard in all non-residential properties. Chapter 109.1 also requires recycling of cans and bottles in addition to mixed paper and cardboard in all multi-family properties built on or after July 1, 2007. New construction of either type of property must include locations for recycling these materials. Both site and architectural plans will be reviewed to ensure that recycling facilities are included in the design.

In order to ensure the requirements of Chapter 109.1 of the Fairfax County Code are met, the designer shall provide information on the coversheet of the plan under the block titled, Refuse and Recycling Collection Requirements.

Non-residential Properties, Including Businesses, Commercial Properties, Schools and Institutions (Effective July 1, 2007)

Effective July 1, 2007, designers shall submit a Waste & Recycling System Plan for any non-residential use to demonstrate that considerations for refuse and recycling collection are provided in the design. The designer must certify on the cover sheet that the plan has been submitted to accommodate recycling of mixed paper and cardboard, at a minimum. Details regarding the submission of the Waste & Recycling System Plan will be included in a letter to industry to be distributed in the future. Until July 1, 2007, this information is not required on the cover sheet.

Multi-family Properties, Including Condominiums and Apartments (Effective July 1, 2007)

Effective July 1, 2007, designers shall submit a Waste & Recycling System Plan for any multi-family dwelling developments to demonstrate that considerations for refuse and recycling collection are provided in the design. The designer must certify on the cover sheet that the plan has been submitted to accommodate recycling of mixed paper and cardboard and cans and bottles. Details regarding the submission of the Waste & Recycling System Plan will be included in a letter to industry to be distributed in the future. Until July 1, 2007, this information is not required on the cover sheet.

Area for Collection of Refuse and Recyclables (Effective January 29, 2007)

Designers of multi-family dwelling and/or non-residential facilities shall indicate the location of the area that has been dedicated to the collection of refuse and recyclables. To ensure that buildings and sites, which include all non-residential facilities and all multi-family properties, are designed to accommodate trash and recycling collection, building and site designers must certify that designs include locations on the property for the collection of refuse and recyclables and indicate where this dedicated space is located. The designer shall indicate if the dedicated space is located in the building, or on the plan. If the space is in the building, the designer shall mark the space labeled “building.” If the space is on the plan, the designer shall mark the space labeled “sheet number” and indicate what sheet number.

As stated above, some of the information regarding multi-family dwelling and/or non-residential facilities will not be required on the cover sheet until July 1, 2007. In anticipation of these future requirements, blocks concerning this information were added to the new cover sheet; however, until July 1, 2007, this information may be left blank on the cover sheet. Details regarding this information and its associated submission requirements will be provided in a future letter to industry. Any questions about refuse recycling and collection should be referred to the Fairfax County Division of Solid Waste Collection and Recycling at 703-324-5230, TTY 711.

Refuse Collection for Single Family and/or Townhouse Developments (Effective January 29, 2007)

Designers of single-family and townhouse developments shall certify whether or not the development is in a Sanitary District where refuse and recycling collection is conducted by Fairfax County. To determine whether or not your development site is in a Sanitary District, please call the Fairfax County Division of Solid Waste Collection and Recycling at 703-324-5230, TTY 711.

*Attachments

Attachment A - MS4 Requirements Form
Attachment B - BMP & SWM Facility Types
Attachment C - Receiving Waters by Watershed
Attachment D - List of Major Plans by Submitting Engineer

If you have any questions, please contact Ken Williams in Plan and Document Control at 703-324-1730, TTY 711.

The following lists of plants recommended for use in bioretention facilities (rain gardens) and on vegetated roofs are now available:

These lists are not exhaustive and are intended to give the designer a palette of plant materials to choose from. Other species may be used, and the acceptability of proposed plant materials is subject to review and approval by the Director. The plant lists may be updated periodically to reflect other species that have been shown to perform well in bioretention facilities and on vegetated roofs.

Proposed amendments to the Public Facilities Manual to incorporate design and construction standards for 6 Low Impact Development Practices (LIDs), including bioretention facilities and vegetated roofs, have been advertised for public hearing. The plant lists were developed for use with these amendments. Designers currently preparing designs of bioretention facilities and vegetated roofs under the existing PFM provisions for use of innovative BMPs are encouraged to begin using these plant lists immediately.

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

On December 4, 2006, the Board of Supervisor’s adopted amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance and Public Facilities Manual establishing criteria for regulating the shape of new lots in subdivisions proposed for certain residentially zoned districts. These amendments became effective on December 5, 2006.

For the most part, building lots within residential subdivisions are generally found to be conventional or rectangular in shape. However, there have been a growing number of irregularly shaped lots that have exhibited characteristics such as elongated appendages, extreme width to depth ratios and lot lines with sharply acute angles that have proven to be problematic for the home owner. Such irregularly shaped lots have made it very difficult for homeowners to readily ascertain lot line locations, have perpetuated difficulties with yard and septic field maintenance and have resulted in lots that are generally inconsistent with the intent of the Zoning Ordinance.

Providing the development community with a simple straightforward approach to designing lots that were more regular in shape led to the concept of a Shape Factor. A Shape Factor consists of a mathematical measurement of a lot’s compactness and is defined as a non-dimensional ratio between the lot perimeter squared and the lot area. Shape Factor is an easily applied method that can be universally used to categorize the relative shape of a lot in terms of its regularity of form. Shape Factor requirements will apply to all new lots in subdivisions proposed for the R-E, R-1 through R-5 and R-8 districts as well as the single family portions of developments in the PDH, PDC and PRC districts which are not depicted on an approved development plan. These requirements will not apply to existing lots (e.g. lots recorded prior to the effective date of this ordinance), lots depicted on an approved proffered development plan, lots which are subject to an approved Special Exception for cluster development, or lots depicted on a Preliminary Plan which was approved prior to December 5, 2006.

The procedures for evaluating the configuration of a lot and the criteria for implementing these procedures are as follows:

  • Lots that are subject to this amendment shall be required to have a Shape Factor of 35 or less based on the Shape Factor formula of: SF = P2/A where P = the perimeter of the lot and A = the area of the lot.
  • A lot with a Shape Factor greater than 35 but less than 50 may be permitted by the Board of Supervisors through the approval of a Special Exception.
  • Lots within the R-2, R-3, and R-4 Districts which are approved by the Director for cluster development shall exclude the pipestem portion of a pipestem lot from the Shape Factor computation.
  • On subdivision plans where the lot configuration is subject to the Shape Factor limitations, the Shape Factor shall be depicted for each lot within the subdivision.

Procedures

Effective immediately, on all subdivision plans where the lot configuration is subject to the Shape Factor limitations, the Shape Factor for each lot within the proposed subdivision shall be depicted on the Subdivision Plan. Shape Factor values for each lot should be put in tabular form (See example included below) and should be included on that portion of the plan where the overall lot layout of the subdivision is shown. To facilitate the early identification of potentially problematic lots, it is strongly encouraged that the Shape Factor information be included on all Preliminary Subdivision Plans as well.

Lot Number Lot Perimeter Lot Area Lot Shape Factor
1      
2      
3      

Where the Shape Factor of a lot is greater than 35 but less than 50, specific criteria has been set forth within the Zoning Ordinance whereby the Board of Supervisors, through the approval of a Special Exception application, may permit these lots. Information regarding the submission and processing of a Special Exception application can be obtained through the Zoning Evaluation Division of the Department of Planning and Zoning either by contacting them by telephone at 703-324-1290, TTY 711 or via e-mail.

If you have any questions, please contact Environmental and Site Review Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

This notice is to remind you of the requirements of the Virginia Dam Safety Act and to initiate a new procedure affecting construction and as-built plans that are submitted to the county for review.

All dams in Virginia are subject to the Virginia Dam Safety Act unless specifically excluded. As such, no person or entity shall construct, begin to construct, alter or begin to alter an impounding structure until the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board (VS&WCB) has issued a construction or alteration permit. A dam may be excluded from this requirement if it:

  • is less than 6 feet in height;
  • has a capacity less than 50 acre-feet and is less than 25 feet in height*;
  • has a capacity of less than 15 acre-feet and is more than 25 feet in height;
  • is used for primarily agricultural purposes and has a capacity** less than 100 acre-feet or height less than 25 feet (should use or ownership change, the dam may be subject to regulation);
  • is owned or licensed by the Federal Government; or
  • is operated for mining purposes under 45.1-222 or 45.1-225.1 of the Code of Virginia.

*In practice, the height of the dam is measured as the vertical distance from the original channel invert elevation to the top of the dam. The top of the dam is that point along the top of the embankment (not to include the emergency spillway) that has the lowest elevation. The figures below are schematic drawings that illustrate the dimensions used in determining appropriate heights.

**The capacity of a dam is defined as the volume capable of being impounded at the top of the dam.

Please refer to the Virginia Dam Safety Act of the Code of Virginia and the Virginia Impounding Structures Regulations (Dam Safety) established by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board for the specific requirements. Information can be obtained from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Dam Safety and Floodplain Management. Note that these regulations include ongoing requirements that are in effect for the life of the structure.

To help ensure that these requirements are being met, from the date of this letter, please adhere to the following procedure: 

  • Indicate on the cover sheet of all construction plans submitted to the county for review that include an impoundment subject to these requirements, that the necessary construction or alteration permits shall be obtained from the VS&WCB prior to beginning work.
  • As a condition of the county's final plan approval, it will be necessary for you to provide a copy of the approved VS&WCB permit to the Plan Control Section in Land Development Services.  
  • Indicate on all as-built plans that include an impoundment subject to these requirements, that the necessary permits were obtained and that the project adheres to the Virginia Impounding Structures Regulations (Dam Safety).
  • To avoid confusion on dam height determinations, include on all construction and as-built drawings dimensional information including elevations for the dam such as that shown on these schematic drawings (PDF).
  • Please coordinate the submission of your application for the required VS&WCB Operation and Maintenance Certificate with the Fairfax County Stormwater Planning Division (SWPD).
  • As a condition of final bond release, it will be necessary for you to provide a copy of the VS&WCB Operation and Maintenance Certificate to SWPD.

Please refer to Section 6-1600 of the Fairfax County Public Facilities Manual for more information on the design and construction of impoundments. 

If you have any questions, please contact Environmental and Site Review Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Background:

This issue came to light through the Fairfax County Development Process Improvement Initiative, which consists of county staff, the development industry and other stakeholders working in partnership to review and make recommendations for improving the overall efficiency, predictability, consistency, and effectiveness of the development review processes in Fairfax County.

The purpose of the Post Submission Conferences is to reach agreement between county staff and submitting engineers on how county comments on the 1st submission plans will be addressed on the 2nd submission plans. Staff would like to improve the effectiveness of the PSC by formalizing the meeting request and implementation process. In addition, Land Development Services has begun a pilot program in which industry may request a 2nd PSC prior to the submission of the 2nd submission plan. This option is being offered for development plans prepared under the designated plan examiner (DPE) program. A 2nd PSC will provide county staff and the submitting engineer an opportunity to verify the implementation of the resolutions discussed in the 1st PSC. This communication improvement should make the need for inserts less frequent. For submitting engineers who follow the procedure for a 2nd PSC, the 2nd submission plan and associated inserts will be processed in accordance with the procedure outlined below.

Procedures:

Post Submission Conference(s)

  1. Submitting engineer and county staff will attend 1st Post Submission Conference.
  • Encourage owner/developer to attend;
  • Utilize a standard Request Form (to be submitted 1 week in advance of Post Submission Conference);
  • Identify agencies/reviewers requested at conference (include Planning and Zoning when appropriate) on Request Form;
  • Submit Request Form by e-mail (if you have difficulties with the submission process, please contact the Environmental and Site Review Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711).
  • Include supporting documents with Request Form (Standard Comment Response Form, sketches, narrative, etc.);
  • Utilize Standard Comment Response Form (Comment, Initial Response, Resolution, Final Response);
  • Unless there are unusual circumstances dictated by the plan, representatives of the Fire Marshal, Fairfax Water and Health Departments will not typically be asked to attend. Coordination with those agencies should take place outside the Post Submission conference.
  1. Submitting engineer will submit minutes of the PSC, filling in “Resolution” area of the Standard Comment Response Form within one week of the PSC.
  • LDS staff has one week to respond to the meeting minutes or it is assumed they concur with the minutes;
  • It is preferred that all correspondence be electronic so that all parties can be easily copied.
  1. Submitting engineer will submit request for 2nd Post Submission Conference with advance prints of all affected sheets, circled in red, to show resolution of outstanding issues from the 1st PSC.
  • Use Standard Comment Response Form;
  • LDS staff to set up 2nd PSC within 7 days of receipt of request.
  1. Submitting engineer will expeditiously submit the second submission plans, after the 2nd PSC, while the resolutions are still fresh in the minds of the site reviewer and the submitting engineer. If staff needs further clarification following the 2nd PSC, county will respond to Submitting engineer’s additional information within 7 days: Plan should then be completed and submitted to ESI as normally done. ESI peer review should attend the 2nd PSC as a third party participant to help in the collective evaluation of whether or not the plan should continue in the DPE process.

Inserts:

  1. The county reviewer shall request a plan insert (if required) after all 2nd submission reviews are complete. If inserts are required, the county reviewer shall notify the Submitting Engineer in writing, via fax, or via e-mail to help expedite the process.
  1. Submitting engineers who followed the procedures for a 2nd PSC will have an expedited review.
  • County reviewer will review 2nd submission DPE plans within 14 calendar days. (Plans requiring no inserts will be processed within the 14 calendar day timeframe and, if appropriate, recommended for approval and sent on to bond.);
  • County reviewer will issue written comments for 2nd submission DPE plans requiring inserts (via letter, memo or e-mail) before the end of the 14 calendar days, thereby fulfilling the DPE commitment;
  • The Submitting engineer shall submit the inserts within 7 calendar days from receipt of comments and include one copy of the plans highlighting the changes that were made in response to the comments;
  • County reviewer will review the inserts within 7 additional calendar days, and, if appropriate, will recommend the plan for approval and forward the plan to bond. (The timelines outlined above recognize that the county must act on a 2nd submission within 45 calendar days.);
  • Site reviewer may remove plans with issues requiring extensive time for review from the DPE process. Plan may either continue as a 2nd submission Non-DPE plan or be subject to a 3rd submission which would automatically remove the plan from a DPE status.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the Environmental and Site Review Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 771.

Issue: Building height calculations have been improperly calculated and/or not been adequately depicted on residential plan submissions. 

Background:  Plan reviewers are finding that the building height on grading and building plans for single family detached units and on construction plans for townhouses are either omitted or improperly calculated. The bulk regulations pertaining to building height and minimum yard regulations are an integral part of grading plans and site plans and must be accurately shown to ensure code compliance.  Information provided on the building permit normally states the maximum permitted height and not the actual building height.  Additionally, architectural plans do not show building height as it relates to actual finished grades. Set forth below is the methodology for calculating building height in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance building height definition.  This methodology is based on a long-standing Zoning Ordinance interpretation for measuring building height and is not a change in practice.  Also set forth below are revised procedures for depicting and certifying height on plan submissions.

Procedures:  Effective immediately, all bonded grading plans and infill grading plans for single family detached dwellings and all site plans for townhouses shall provide and certify the actual building height by providing the elevation of the average grade around the perimeter of the dwelling unit (“average grade”) as set forth below and the roof height calculated as set forth below.

All architectural plans for single family detached and townhouse projects shall certify the height of the structure from the front stoop to the mid-point of the highest roof so that this information can be cross-referenced with the average grade and overall height certification set forth on the grading plans and site plans.   

Additions to homes that do not require a grading plan will also require the applicant to certify to the building height on the architectural drawings and may require a certified survey of the structure height.

The house model and elevation type shall also be provided on the grading plans so that they may be cross-referenced with the building permit.  Grading plans that are using an approved master file house plan must provide the ridge and corresponding eaves elevations of the highest roof from the approved master file.  Custom homes shall be labeled as “custom” and will not be required to show the model and elevation type.  A certified height survey may be required to validate the building height prior to the issuance of the residential use permit.

Clarification of Building Height Methodology – In accordance with the long-standing Zoning Ordinance interpretation, the building height for both detached and townhouse units, is measured from the average grade to the following roof points:

  1. for flat roofs – to the highest point
  2. for mansard roofs – to the deck line;
  3. for gable, hip or gambrel roofs – to  the average height (mid-point) between the ridge and the corresponding eaves of the highest roof line.  If the eaves are uneven, the mid-point between the ridge of the highest roof line and each eave, then the average of these midpoints.

How to Calculate Building Height

For single family detached units, the average grade shall be calculated by taking elevation points around the perimeter of the structure at intervals of approximately 20 feet, and averaging them.  For townhouse units, average grade shall be calculated for each individual unit, rather than around the perimeter of the entire building group/row.  For interior units, a minimum of two elevation points shall be taken at both the front and rear exteriors of the unit and averaged.  For end units, a minimum of two elevation points shall be taken on the front, side and rear exteriors of the unit and averaged.  

All such elevation points shall be shown along the perimeter of the structure and in tabular form on the grading plan.  The actual building height of the dwelling unit shall be presented by subtracting the average grade from the roof height.  It is noted that the lower elevations of window wells, no more than 10 feet wide along the wall of the building, and extending from the structure no more than 4 feet, and areaways or walk-outs with widths along the wall of the building that do not exceed a maximum of 15 feet, are not included in the average grade calculation.  Finished grades that are established with a retaining wall must extend 10 feet from the structure, in order to include the higher grade elevation toward the average grade calculation.  Grades established by a retaining wall that extend less than 10 feet from the structure, are measured at the base of the retaining wall.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the Environmental and Site Review Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

In coordination with other local jurisdictions and industry, Fairfax County is adopting guidelines (PDF) which clarify Section R404, Foundation Walls, of the International Residential Code.

The new guidelines (PDF), effective September 1, 2006, address restraint requirements before placement of fill, curing times for plain concrete, brick ledge parameters and submission requirements for other foundation wall designs.

If you have any questions concerning the guidelines (PDF), please contact Paul Lynch, Director of the Residential Inspections Division at 703-324-1780, TTY 711.

Issue: Application of Section 118-2-1(a) of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance (CBPO) for storm sewer or conveyance channel outfall improvements within a RPA with respect to the submittal and Director approval process of a WQIA.

Background: Outfall structures of storm sewer systems and stream bank stabilization measures, among other facilities, are included in the CBPO as “water-dependent development”, which is ‘the development of land or a facility that cannot exist outside of a RPA and must be located within a RPA, either in whole or in part, by reason of the intrinsic nature of its operation’ [CBPO 118-1-6(ff)]. When these structures are proposed to be located within a RPA, approval of a WQIA by the Director is required [CBPO 118-2-1(a) and 118-3-3(a)]. The purpose of the WQIA is to demonstrate that the proposed RPA encroachment is necessary and that impacts are identified, minimized, and mitigated to the maximum extent practicable. The design details of storm sewer system outfalls and conveyance channels must be included in construction plans as defined in Chapter 104 of the County Code. These same details are also to be included in the WQIA, which upon approval, must subsequently be incorporated into the final approved construction plan.

Most all WQIAs for outfall improvement or construction contain similar information and mitigation methods. The clearing limits are restricted around standard storm drainage easements, super silt fence is used during construction, revegetation of disturbed areas with ground covers, and channel stabilization with biostabilization materials or other energy dissipators have been consistently addressed in each WQIA for a storm system outfall within a RPA. In an effort to reduce review and processing time, and eliminate redundant review steps, incorporation of the WQIA directly into the construction plan for review and Director approval is desirable. This will also reduce inadvertent omissions of design details on the construction plans.

Procedures:  Effective immediately, development plans proposing construction of a storm sewer or conveyance channel outfall in a RPA may include the required WQIA within the development construction plan for Director approval. The WQIA is to be incorporated in the overall stormwater management plan, erosion and sediment control plan and landscape plan addressing the required items of CBPO 118-4-3. The assessment shall be labeled on the development plan as ‘Water Quality Impact Assessment Narrative’ and shall:

  1. Display the boundaries of the RPA as well as include a description of the source of the RPA boundary, e.g., adopted County map or approved RPA delineation study.
  2. Display (on the grading plan) and describe the location and nature of the proposed RPA encroachment and impacts to the RPA (in narrative form), including the area of the clearing and grading (i.e., in square feet).
  3. Provide a justification statement for the proposed encroachment and impacts to the RPA.
  4. Display and describe the extent and nature of any proposed disturbance or disruption of wetlands.
  5. Display and discuss the type and location of proposed best management practices to mitigate the proposed RPA encroachment or adverse impacts.
  6. Describe the extent to which the proposed construction will comply with the performance criteria of the CBPO.
  7. Describe the runoff in the outfall in terms of flow rate (in cubic feet per second) and velocity (in feet per second) for the 2-year, 2-hour storm event and the 10-year, 2-hour storm event.
  8. Describe, quantify and display any erosion protection measures used in the channel, such as rip rap energy dissipaters, or to protect the RPA buffer from degradation due to point discharge or sheet flow discharge.
  9. Provide an outfall channel profile, cross-sections (with equal horizontal and vertical scales) and information consistent with Chapter 5 of the latest edition of the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook under the ‘Determination of Adequate Channel’ section.

The “Plan Approval Information” chart, Item #8 Water Quality Impact Assessment ‘Required’ box on the plan Cover Sheet shall be marked and the ‘Comment/Sheet No.’ shall contain a note as to which plan sheet contains the narrative statement.

With review and Director approval of the construction plan, approval of the WQIA will be deemed to have been met.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please call Valerie Tucker or Qayyum Khan at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Fairfax County has a Revised Checklist/Sheet Index (PDF) for the Submission of Zoning Applications (rezoning, special permit, special exception and development plan applications).

Letter to Industry 05-03, dated February 2, 2005, provided information pertaining to the checklist/sheet index form that is used to evaluate whether the required stormwater information has been incorporated in development plans and plats submitted in association with rezoning and special permit and special exception applications. That letter also provided guidance for meeting the outfall submission requirement for those cases.

Effective April 3, 2006, the Department of Planning and Zoning will begin using a revised checklist/sheet index (PDF) to evaluate applications for compliance with submission requirements relating to storm drainage information. Applicants are requested to incorporate (i.e. “sticky back”) the checklist entitled “Minimum Stormwater Information for Rezoning, Special Exception, Special Permit and Development Plan Applications” with the revision date of February 21, 2006, onto development plans and plats submitted with rezoning, special permit and special exception applications. Compliance with this request will facilitate both the timely acceptance of these applications and the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services review of the stormwater information.

Revisions to the checklist/sheet index include clarification of Item #9 with respect to discussing known changes to drainage areas (i.e. drainage diversions) in the required description of the site’s compliance with the adequate outfall requirements of the Public Facilities Manual. It is understood that diversions may not be known or identified at the zoning application stage, since it is unlikely that the proposed development has been fully engineered. To the extent the need for diversions are known; however, they should be identified in the outfall description. As part of its review of the storm drainage aspects of the application, DPWES staff will provide general comments on the diversion to the extent that any issues are able to be identified. In general, a definitive recommendation on the diversion will not be provided due to the limited information available (e.g. lack of computations for a detailed outfall analysis). Applicants are strongly encouraged to give consideration to diversions to the extent possible during the zoning application process to avoid the need for amendments to the applications due to problems with diversions during site/subdivision plan processing.

We would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention an issue experienced frequently with regard to Item #8 on the Checklist. Pursuant to this Item and the associated submission requirements in the Zoning Ordinance, a description of the existing conditions must be provided for each watercourse into which drainage from the property is discharged. The extent of the description of downstream review for zoning cases is required to be downstream from the site to a point which is at least 100 times the site area or which has a drainage area of at least one square mile. Failure to provide this information with the initial submission of the zoning application may result in delays to acceptance and review of the application.

Please contact Land Development Services at 703-324-1780, TTY 711, with any questions or concerns.

The Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to the Public Facilities Manual regarding drainage divides and stormwater outfall on February 6, 2006.  Amendments to the Subdivision Ordinance and the Zoning Ordinance regarding required notification were adopted as well.  Synopses of the amendments are below. 

Drainage Divides Amendment

The amendment to the Public Facilities Manual (PFM) clarifies the current requirements pertaining to existing drainage divides. The amendment permits the administrative approval of diversions of surface drainage in some instances as long as such a diversion does not negatively impact the downstream drainage system and provides for an improved site design as detailed in the amendment

Pursuant to the amended provisions, if a diversion is requested, the submitting engineer is required to perform an engineering analysis of the downstream drainage systems in order to demonstrate that the diversion does not create adverse impacts. Further, the engineer must be able to demonstrate that the diversion results in an improved site design that either improves the outfall characteristics, preserves green space, provides for better stormwater management, or addresses a site’s topographic constraints to minimize impacts due to steep slopes and/or runoff to adjoining properties. If the analysis identifies a conflict with other relevant county policies and provisions, a diversion would not be approved.

Stormwater Outfall Amendment

The amendment to the PFM revises the requirements of stormwater outfall from a development site, including clarification of the required extent of review and the addition of options that require demonstration of no adverse impact with a proportional improvement.

The amendment clarifies the extent of downstream review to the following:

  • To the point that is 150 feet downstream of the point where the receiving pipe or channel is joined by another that has a drainage area that is at least 90% of the size of the first drainage area; or
  • To the point where the drainage area is 100 times greater than the contributing drainage area of the development site; or
  • To the point that is at least 150 feet downstream of a point where the drainage area is 360 acres or greater.

Unless the drainage area is 100 times the contributing site area, the analysis must be to a point where all the cross-sections are adequate in the most downstream reach of 150 feet. A minimum of three cross-sections must be provided in this 150-foot reach. In addition, the proposed amendments retain the Director’s ability to require review farther downstream if known problems exist. The amendment allows for alternative methods to show that there will be no adverse impact to the outfall from the development and that the conditions of the stream will be proportionally improved after the development. The alternative methods include the following: shear stress method; channel capacity method; and detention method. The option to prove that the existing outfall is adequate is retained.

If the outfall is inadequate due to erosive velocity, the amendment allows for the use of the shear stress method to show that the erosive work that the outfall is subjected to after development is proportionally less than the pre-development erosive work. The proportional reduction in erosive work is based on the amount of imperviousness the development site is contributing to the drainage area.

If the outfall is inadequate due to over-bank flooding, the amended provisions allow for the use of the channel capacity method to show that the amount of time that the outfall will be subject to over-bank flooding will be less than the pre-development over-bank flooding. The amended provisions allow the use of the detention method to address adverse impacts due to erosive velocity or over-bank flooding. The detention method requires the following: 1) that detention is provided so that the 1-year storm volume is detained for a minimum of 24 hours; and 2) that the 2-year and 10-year peak flows at the development site are reduced below the relative peak flows of the site in a “good forested” condition. The reduction is based on the ratio of the cumulative forested runoff volume to the proposed cumulative development runoff volume, and provides a proportional improvement to the condition of the outfall. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification includes the option of showing that the 1.5-year peak flow has been reduced to a “good forested” condition. Consequently, the amended provisions allow the option of providing the 1.5-year peak flow calculations. Provision of the expanded detention is sufficient for the presumption of no adverse impact and proportional improvement; however, in the case of a natural watercourse, the design professional will still be required to demonstrate that the outfall discharges into a defined channel (bed and bank).

Notifications Amendments

The amendments include the following provisions:

A Subdivision Ordinance requirement for notification of adjoining property owners with subdivision construction plans for proposed subdivisions that are not required to submit preliminary subdivision plats. Currently, notification is provided with the preliminary subdivision plat or with the final plat when a preliminary subdivision plat is not required. The proposed amendments will change the timing of notification of adjoining property owners for proposed subdivisions subject to a proffered generalized development plan, proffered or approved final development plan, approved special exception plat for a cluster subdivision, or waiver of minimum lot size by requiring that notification of adjoining property owners be provided with the subdivision construction plan instead of the final plat. This change will ensure that notification occurs prior to the start of construction.

An expansion of the extent of notifications for site and subdivision plans to include all property owners within 500 feet of the proposed development and an increase in the minimum number of property owners required to be notified from five to 25.

A new requirement for site and subdivision plans to notify at least one civic association in the immediate vicinity of the proposed development.

Subdivision Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance requirements for additional information to be provided in site and subdivision plan notices including:     

  1. A description of the proposed development;
  2. A description of the location of the proposed development;
  3. Contact information for a representative of the applicant;
  4. A reduction of the plan or plat of the proposed development;
  5. A statement that the proposed construction may alter storm drainage from the site;
  6. A statement that comments on proposed plans may be submitted to DPWES.

Grandfathering of Plans

The drainage divides, stormwater outfall and notification amendments became effective on February 7, 2006, at 12:01 a.m. However, certain plans were grandfathered in the following manner:

Drainage Divides and Stormwater Outfall – Subdivision Plans (excluding Preliminary Plats), Site Plans, Minor Site Plans, Public Improvement Plans and Grading Plans submitted prior to 12:01 a.m. on February 7, 2006, provided that such plan obtains final approval no later than close of business on August 7, 2006.

For Site Plans and Public Improvement Plans, final approval will be considered obtained when the plan has been recommended for final approval and all outstanding items for project approval have been completed for the plan, except for bonding of public improvements and the escrowing of conservation funds. For Subdivision Plans, Minor Site Plans, and Grading Plans, final approval will be considered obtained when the plan has been signed off by the Director as final approved.

Notifications – Site Plans, Preliminary Subdivision Plats, Final Subdivision Plats when a Preliminary Subdivision Plat and a Construction Plan are not required, Subdivision Construction Plans when a Preliminary Subdivision Plat is not required, provided that such plan complies fully with the notification provisions in effect at the time of the mailing, and the postmark date on all white receipts for the certified mailing is prior to 12:01 a.m., February 7, 2006. If the mailing is incomplete (i.e. missing properties, wrong addresses, or in some other way not in compliance with the notification provisions in effect at the time of the mailing), the plan will no longer be grandfathered regarding the new notification requirements.

Please call Judy Cronauer, Code Analysis, at 703-324-1808, TTY 711, if you have general questions regarding the amendments. Questions about the application of the amendments to a site-specific situation should be referred to the assigned review engineer in the Environmental and Facilities Review Division. Review engineers may be reached at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Effective immediately, design professionals should begin sending a copy of any first submission site plan, rough grading plan associated with a site plan, subdivision plan, minor site plan or a preliminary plat which indicates the existence of wetlands or other waters of the Unites States (e.g., streams and natural ponds) within the boundaries of the property and any off-site areas proposed for land disturbing activities by this plan, to the Army Corps of Engineers, Northern Virginia Field Office in Dumfries for their review (address indicated below).  ACOE staff will communicate directly with the design professional who prepared the plan should they have specific comments or questions pertaining to plan or development.  Further definition of "waters of the United States" may be found on the ACOE website or in 33CFR, Part 328 "Definition of Waters of the United States."

This change will insure project proponents are aware of any ACOE concerns earlier in the plan review process.  The ACOE will provide comments within the county's plan review time frames.

Send plan copy to the following (or most current address):

US Army Corps of Engineers
c/o Terri Crockett-Augustine
18139 Triangle Shopping Plaza, Suite 213
Dumfries, VA  22026 

Effective immediately and until such time as the coversheet is revised to include a checkbox to indicate this feature, professionals who prepare plans for submission to the Plan and Document Control Branch of the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Land Development Services by review must begin noting on the coversheet the presence or absence of wetlands or waters of the United States on the property to be developed and any off-site areas proposed for land disturbing activities by this plan and the date when a copy of the plan was sent to the ACOE for their review.  Applicable plans should be sent to the ACOE at first submission but must be sent prior to second submission.

If you have any questions or wish to comment regarding this new policy change, please contact Plan and Document Control Branch, at 703-324-1730, TTY 711.

This is an update to a letter to industry 05-04 that was issued on February 15, 2005.  All subdivision plans, and site plans that are bonded with Fairfax County and that require the Virginia Department of Transportation’s acceptance of a street or additional right-of-way, must submit a signed copy of VDOT’s Initial Street Acceptance Package (PDF, large file, 227K) memorandum with any bond extension request that is submitted to Fairfax County after July 1, 2006.

In an effort to improve Fairfax County’s bond release and VDOT’s street acceptance processes, the county in conjunction with VDOT implemented new street acceptance procedures on June 6, 2005.  The submission and approval of most of the paperwork that is required by the state and is needed to obtain acceptance of the street for maintenance now occurs early in the development process.  Most of the street acceptance paperwork is required to be submitted and approved either as part of VDOT’s Tie-In Permit process for site plans, with the exception of townhouse projects, or prior to the first bond extension for subdivision plans and site plans associated with townhouse projects.  The county has routinely deferred the requirement to submit VDOT’s Initial Street Acceptance Package (PDF, large file, 227K) memorandum as part of the bond extension request for a little over a year.  The deferrals have been made to allow developers a sufficient amount of time to obtain approval of the Initial Street Acceptance Packages from VDOT.

All Initial Street Acceptance Packages should be submitted, by the developer's engineer who designed the project, directly to VDOT's Permit Office.  For planning purposes, review and approval of the Initial Street Acceptance Package may take up to 30 days.  It is important to note that construction of the street does not have to be complete in order to obtain approval of the Initial Street Acceptance Package.

Details on the current street acceptance process and submission requirements can be obtained from the VDOT Fairfax Permits Office at 703-383-2888, TTY 711.

Fairfax County is implementing a number of changes to enhance and streamline the county’s bond and project completion processes.  The changes also are being implemented to ensure that a sufficient amount of security funds are available in the event the county must complete development obligations on a project that were not performed by a developer.  The changes were developed in partnership with the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association and presented to the Fairfax County Development Process Committee on August 5, 2005.  The following policy changes identified below will be implemented on February 6, 2006, unless noted otherwise.  

1) Simplify the computations for the administrative portion of the developer’s security – Effective on February 6, 2006, the administration portion of the bond will be computed as 25% of the value of the first $1 million of bonded improvements and 10% of the amount of bonded improvements that are greater than $1 million.  The new Surety Value Estimate form can be obtained from Plan and Document Control that is located on the fifth floor at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 506 or Bonds and Agreements at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 334.  The new forms must be submitted with any new bond, replacement or reduction package that is submitted to the county for review and approval after February 6, 2006.  Plan and Document Control can be contacted at 703-324-1730, TTY 711 or Bonds and Agreements at 703-324-1950, TTY 711 for additional information on how to acquire the new forms.

Staff will be adjusting the $1 million cutoff amount every five years to account for local construction inflation.  The county will provide a notice to industry of any adjustments that are made to the 25% cutoff amount at least two months prior to any change.

2) Notification to banks and corporate sureties – The county has begun to send the corporate surety or bank that provided the security for a development agreement any letter that is sent to the developer regarding non-performance or the imminent expiration of the development agreement.  Notification letters are sent to the developer approximately 60 days prior to the expiration of the agreement and approximately 30 days after the agreement has expired stating that our records indicate the project has not been completed.  Both letters state that the developer may apply for an extension of the agreement by completing and returning an enclosed form.  Developers are encouraged to contact the Bonds and Agreements Branch at 703-324-1950, TTY 711 if they have not received these letters.

3) New development agreement security policy – Cash or a letter of credit will be required for fourth and greater bond extension requests submitted to the county on or after February 6, 2006 This requirement may be waived with the approval of the Director for circumstances that are beyond the control of the developer.  All requests for a wavier of this requirement should be submitted in a letter to the Chief of Bonds and Agreements Branch and attached to the extension request form.  All requests for a wavier of this requirement will be presented and reviewed by the Fairfax County Bond Committee. 

In order to minimize the number of development agreement extensions that are needed throughout the life of a project, the county is eliminating its policy that limits projects with bonds under $750,000 to having an agreement length of no more than two years and projects with bonds equal to or greater than $750,000 to having an agreement length of no more than three years.  Effective immediately, the county will consider and encourages the establishment of initial development agreement and extension request lengths to more accurately reflect the actual time that is needed to complete the project.  Establishing the length of the agreement or extension based on the realistic time that is needed to complete the project and any outstanding development obligations should minimize the number of extensions that may be required and thus avoid the need for a fourth or greater extension to the development agreement. 

4) Bond reduction policy –  In an effort to provide greater consistency in how bond reductions will be processed, the following bond reduction policy will be in effect for all bond reduction requests submitted on or after February 6, 2006.

Bonded items within the dedicated right-of-way or within public access easements:

Bonded items within the dedicated right-of-way or public access easements will be reduced following a request by the developer, when all of the required geotechnical test results and certifications have been submitted by the developer to the site inspector, utility relocations have been completed and all required easements or vacations are recorded.  After those items have been completed, staff will process reduction requests in accordance with the following guidelines:  An 80% maximum reduction can be processed for items within the right-of-way after public roadways have received a field inspection approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation.  A 90% maximum reduction can be processed when the only remaining item is the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors resolution that the streets be accepted for maintenance by VDOT.

Bonded items within sanitary sewer easements:

Bonded items within sanitary sewer easements will be reduced following a request by the developer, when all of the required geotechnical test results and certifications have been submitted by the developer to the site inspector, utility relocations have been completed and all required easements or vacations are recorded.  No more than a 50% reduction can be processed for items associated within a sanitary sewer easement until the Fairfax County TV inspection punch list has been completed.  A 90% maximum reduction can be processed when the only item that remains is the final sanitary as-built approval and final acceptance.

Bonded items within storm drainage easements:

Bonded items within storm drainage easements will be reduced following a request by the developer, when all of the required geotechnical test results and certifications have been submitted by the developer to the site inspector, utility relocations have been completed and all required easements or vacations are recorded.  No more than an 80% reduction will be processed for items within a storm drainage easement until they have received a field inspection approval by the site inspector.  A 90% maximum reduction can be processed when the only item that remains is the final site as-built approval.

Appeal process:

All appeals of the site inspectors recommended bond reduction amounts should be directed to the site inspector’s Field Supervisor.  All disputes should be resolved at this level.  In rare instances where disputes with proposed bond reduction amounts cannot be resolved at the Field Supervisor level, written justification and the basis for the appeal should be made to the General Superintendent, Environmental and Facilities Inspections Division that is responsible for the area where the project is located.

If you have any questions regarding these new policy changes please contact Craig Carinci, Director, Environmental and Facilities Inspections Division at 703-324-1950, TTY 711.

Issue:  Additional guidance on data to be provided on infill lot grading plans to facilitate review of the adequacy of storm drainage for compliance with Section 2-602 of the Zoning Ordinance and Section 6-0203 of the PFM.

Background:  At the request of the Board of Supervisors, this agency created a committee to develop recommendations for enhancing the County’s erosion and sediment control program and review of adequate storm drainage to further minimize the potential for impacts on adjoining properties.   The committee, comprised of both public and private sector representatives, recommended that additional guidance be provided to submitting professionals regarding the type of data about adjacent properties that must be provided with the submission of infill lot grading plans.  This recommendation was referred to the Engineers and Surveyors Institute’s Fairfax Committee for implementation.  The Fairfax Committee’s membership includes both public and private sector engineers.  The guidance provided in this letter is the result of the efforts of that committee.

Procedures:  Submitting professionals are reminded that infill lot grading plans must include sufficient information in accordance with Section 6-0203 of the PFM to verify the adequate drainage of surface waters as required by Section 2-602 of the Zoning Ordinance and the Minimum Standards and Specifications of the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook.  Many infill plans that are submitted for review do not contain sufficient information about adjoining properties to validate the adequacy of downstream systems.  The information identified below is considered to be the minimum necessary to allow validation of adequate drainage and shall be included on all future submissions of infill lot grading plans.  Information in addition to that identified below may be required during plan review as determined necessary to validate the adequacy of downstream systems both during and after construction.

  • Five Hundred (500) scale topographical map of the site and adjoining properties with drainage divides depicted.
  • Outfall narrative in accordance with the requirements of Section 6-0200 of the PFM that addresses both concentrated and sheet flow discharges from the site (see Letter to Industry 03-10 for additional guidance on the preparation of outfall narratives).
  • Use and zoning district of properties contiguous to the proposed development.
  • Sufficient topography for the proposed development site as well as sufficient topography and information about existing structures (e.g. houses, sheds, and swimming pools) on downstream contiguous lots to show on and off-site surface drainage to the point where an adequate outfall is reached.   (Note: field run or aerial topography is required; however, alternative sources may be accepted as determined by the Director if it is shown that access to adjoining properties has been denied.)
  • Inverts of all existing and proposed culverts on the subject lot and contiguous lots.
  • Flow arrows showing the direction of flow.
  • Appropriate runoff “c” factor for the design of erosion and sediment controls (e.g. use of a 0.6 factor pursuant to Section 6-0202.14 of the Public Facilities Manual).

If you have any questions or need additional information, please call 703-324-1780, TTY 711.

Issue: Enforcement of Section 11-0109.5 of the Public Facilities Manual (PFM) with respect to the provision of temporary/permanent detention during construction.

Background:  At the request of the Board of Supervisors, this agency created a committee to develop recommendations for enhancing the county’s erosion and sediment control program and review of adequate storm drainage to try to further minimize the potential for impacts on adjoining properties. The committee was comprised of both public and private sector representatives.  Among other things, the committee recommended that enforcement of Section 11-0109.5 of the Public Facilities Manual be reviewed to determine the necessity for clarification about enforcement requirements. This recommendation was referred to the Adequate Outfall Committee for implementation. The Adequate Outfall Committee is a sub-committee of the Fairfax committee and is developing recommendations for amendments to the PFM provisions regarding adequate drainage. The guidance provided in this letter is the result of the efforts of the Adequate Outfall Committee.

Procedures:  Effective December 5, 2005, first submission construction plans proposing land disturbing activity, as defined in Chapter 104 of the Code of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, will be required to address the adequacy of drainage based on the drainage patterns and outfalls created by the installation of the Phase I erosion and sediment controls and after the site has been cleared.  The assessment is to be incorporated in the erosion and sediment control narrative and shall be provided in addition to the outfall narrative and supporting analysis that are required by the provisions of Section 6-0200 of the PFM.  The assessment shall include a description of each outfall, including concentrated and sheet flow situations, and an analysis/assessment of the downstream system's ability to accommodate the increased runoff caused by the changed soil and surface conditions of the cleared site.  The analysis shall take into account increases in volume and peak flows, as well as the creation of concentrated discharges.  The storm frequency to be used in the analysis shall be based on the type of outfall facility (natural channel, pipe system, man-made channel) in conformance with Section 6-0200.  If an outfall at the Phase I stage is at the same location as an outfall in the permanent storm drainage system, a comparison of the runoff quantities during and post construction to show that the quantities during construction are lower than those post development and a reference to the outfall narrative will suffice as the analysis.  Temporary/permanent detention shall be proposed with the installation of Phase I controls as necessary to ensure the adequacy of downstream systems during construction.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please call 703-324-1780, TTY 711.

Contractors and property owners are responsible for arranging disposal of debris generated during tree removal, land clearing, repairs, remodeling, reconstruction, and/or renovations. Day-to-day curbside trash service generally cannot accommodate the large amount of debris generated by these types of projects. Contractors can arrange for debris removal as part of the overall job cost or residents can contact a collection company to provide a container to collect and dispose of the debris. A list of collection companies can be found here.

Land Clearing/Tree Removal

Debris from land clearing and tree removal can be recycled. Residents or contractors can haul debris from land clearing or tree removal projects to either the I-66 (4618 West Ox Road, Fairfax) or I-95 (9850 Furnace Road, Lorton) solid waste complexes to be ground into mulch. The mulch is available free of charge to county residents and businesses.

Appliances/Scrap Metal

Small and large appliances (refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, air conditioners), and other scrap metal (lawn chairs, grills, metal framing) can be recycled at the I-95 and I-66 solid waste complexes. There is a $1 fee for appliances with Freon. Other scrap metals can also be recycled at a scrap metal recycling facility.

Recycle Your Building Supplies

Surplus or gently used building supplies can also be donated to Habitat for Humanity's Restore, located at 7770-A Richmond Highway in Alexandria. Call the Restore at 703-360-6700, TTY 711 for details.

In an effort to improve the Fairfax County bond release and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) street acceptance processes; the county in conjunction with VDOT will be implementing new street acceptance procedures. The submission and approval of most of the paperwork that is required by the state and is needed to obtain acceptance of the street for maintenance will occur earlier in the development process. Effective June 6, 2005, most of the paperwork will be required to be submitted and approved either as part of the VDOT Tie-In Permit process for site plans, with the exception of townhouse projects, or prior to the first bond extension for subdivision plans and site plans associated with townhouse projects. Obtaining approval of the paperwork earlier in the process should reduce the overall time it takes to complete all of the development obligations and achieve bond release. The following street acceptance procedures will be in effect as noted in the paragraphs below.

  1. All new site plans and public improvement plans that have not received a VDOT Tie-In Permit prior to June 6, 2005, will be required to submit and obtain VDOT approval of the new Initial Street Acceptance Package prior to receiving a tie-in permit. See attachment 1 for a flow chart of the new street acceptance process for site plans.
     
  2. All subdivision plans, site plans for the construction of townhouse dwelling units and site plans that have received a Tie-In Permit prior to June 6, 2005, that are bonded with Fairfax County and that require VDOT acceptance of a street or additional right-of-way that submit a bond extension request after June 6, 2005, should submit a signed copy of the VDOT Initial Street Acceptance Package memorandum with the bond extension request. See Attachment 3 (below) for a flow chart of the street acceptance process for subdivision plans and site plans associated with townhouse projects.

With the exception:

Projects where the developer has submitted a complete and accurate initial or final street acceptance package to Fairfax County's site inspector prior to June 6, 2005, will be processed in accordance with current procedures.

All projects that have not received Fairfax County Board resolution or are scheduled to be presented for Fairfax County Board resolution on or after June 6, 2005, must provide a completed Street Acceptance Form to the Fairfax County Site Inspector as part of the Final Street Acceptance Package. Please coordinate with the project site inspector for information on the scheduled date streets will be presented to the Board for resolution.

The county and VDOT will begin processing new street acceptance packages in accordance with the revised procedures described in this letter to industry and the attached flow charts on May 2, 2005.

New Initial Street Acceptance Packages

All new Initial Street Acceptance Packages should be submitted by the Developer's engineer who designed the project directly to VDOT's Permit Section in accordance with these instructions and the attached flow charts. The following items must be included in the Initial Street Acceptance Package:

  1. A completed Street Acceptance Form.
     
  2. A copy of the recorded deeds. One (1) paper copy and one (1) pdf file.
     
  3. Red-lined recorded plats. One (1) paper copy and one (1) scanned pdf file copy. Note: A composite drawing is required if the plat exceeds three sheets.
     
  4. One (1) tif file of a copy of the full set of approved plans with Engineer's stamp and signature.
     
  5. One (1) copy and one (1) electronic file of the Completed Road Data Information Sheet(s).
     
  6. Street Sketch: The base sketch can be obtained by contacting Fairfax County Geographic Information Systems Diivision. The Street Sketch must be completed and certified by a Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
     
  7. Memorandum from Geographic Information Systems Division to the Virginia Department of Transportation, Attachment 5 (PDF).

An electronic version of the Street Acceptance Form in MS Word can be obtained at no charge by contacting the Environmental and Facilities Inspections Division at 703-324-1950, TTY 711. The form must be completed using Arial font. VDOT will formally notify the county when the street acceptance package has been approved. For planning purposes, review and approval of the Initial Street Acceptance Package may take up to 30 days. The new street acceptance package should be approved by VDOT before the county will consider approval of the development agreement extension requests submitted after June 5, 2005. It is important to note that construction of the street does not have to be complete in order to obtain approval of the street acceptance package or approval of a development agreement extension request.

CE-7 Package

Following completion of the physical improvements, the next step that must be performed as part of the process to obtain acceptance of a street into the state's system for maintenance, is the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) approval of the CE-7/Utility Package (CE-7 package). Fairfax County will provide the developer with a letter addressed to VDOT when the all of the physical improvements that are depicted on the approved site or subdivision plan within the dedicated right-of-way (ROW) are complete.

The CE-7 packages will only be accepted for review by VDOT if a copy of this letter is included with the package. The developer must include a sealable envelope or container in which the entire package will be placed following VDOT's approval. VDOT will stamp or initial the sealed CE-7 package to indicate that it has been approved. The original copy of the Utility Checklist Form that is signed by VDOT should not be placed in the sealed package. A copy of the approved Utility Checklist Form must be provided to the county site inspector with the submittal of the post construction Street Acceptance Package CE-7 packages.

Post-Construction Street Acceptance Package

A complete package of all geotechnical and compaction data for work performed within the dedicated ROW along with an electronic version of any approved plan revisions and pavement designs, and an electronic version and hard copy of the new Street Acceptance Form must be submitted to the county Site Inspector as part of the post-construction street acceptance package. All tests results and certifications should be included for work performed within the ROW. Tests and certifications for items outside the ROW must not be included. Due to the amount of time it takes to evaluate the geotechnical reports, submittal packages that contain test or inspection results for work outside the ROW will be returned to the developer. The compaction data should be submitted in the order in which the streets were constructed. For example, the report should be prepared such that the fill and/or subbase soil and compaction data appear first, and then proceed all the way through the certification and compaction results on the final asphalt layer. All geotechnical packages submitted to the county must also include a signed and sealed copy of the attached Site Construction Testing and Sampling Final Report of Inspections form. [Attachment 6 (PDF)].

An electronic copy of all approved revised plan sheets that contain improvements within revised pavement design and any sheets in the approved hat have the depicted ROW and copies of the approved revised pavement design must be included in the post construction street acceptance package. The county will include a certification letter in the final street acceptance package that is forwarded to VDOT.

Final Street Acceptance Package

The maintenance check must be submitted to the county site inspector following the VDOT/county inspection and approval of the roadway and/or additional right-of-way. The county will forward the Final Street Acceptance Package to VDOT for approval.

Training

VDOT and Fairfax County will be conducting training on the submission requirements and the new street acceptance process for developers and submitting engineers on February 28, 2005, and March 14, 2005, from 8:30 to 12 p.m. in rooms 106 and 107 of the Herrity Building located at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035. To attend the training you must register in advance by contacting Lillian Jones at 730-324-1950, TTY-711. There is no charge to attend these training sessions.

List of Attachments, PDF format

  1. Street Acceptance Process for Site Plans (June 2005)
  2. Initial Street Acceptance package Memorandum
  3. Street Acceptance Process for Subdivision Plans (June 2005)
  4. VDOT Request for Inclusion of Certain Streets into State Secondary Road System
  5. Fairfax County Right of Way Memorandum Example
  6. Fairfax County Final Report of Roadway Construction Inspections

ISSUES

  1. Effective February 21, 2005, Land Development Services (LDS) will be the lead agency for the coordination of the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services' (DPWES) review of stormwater management issues on rezoning, special permit, special exception and development plan applications.
  2. Effective February 21, 2005, a checklist/sheet index form will be used to evaluate whether the required stormwater information has been incorporated on development plans and plats submitted in association with rezoning and special permit and special exception applications.
  3. Guidance for meeting the outfall submission requirements on rezoning, special permit, special exception and development plan applications.

BACKGROUND

Effective July 1, 2004, the submission requirements for rezoning, special permit, special exception and development plan applications were amended to require greater detail that addresses the design of stormwater management facilities and stormwater conveyance systems; and compliance with outfall requirements. Since that date, the Stormwater Planning Division (SWPD) of DPWES has taken the lead on coordinating DPWES' review of this information. To improve the consistency of comments and communication between the zoning and site plan processes, coordination of the DPWES review is being transferred to staff of the Environmental and Site Review Division (ESRD) of LDS. SWPD will continue to review the applications on a routine basis and will forward comments to ESRD. The Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division will review applications and supply comments to ESRD as warranted based on the specifics of the design. ESRD will compile the comments received into a single response to the Zoning Evaluation Division of the Department of Planning and Zoning, and will represent DPWES at meetings and public hearings as needed.

To facilitate both the timely acceptance of rezoning, special permit, special exception and development plan applications and DPWES' review of the stormwater information, applicants are requested to incorporate (i.e. "sticky back") the checklist entitled "Minimum Stormwater Information for Rezoning, Special Exception, Special Permit and Development Plan Applications" onto development plans and plats submitted with rezoning, special permit and special exception applications. The checklist, which includes the plan sheet numbers where the required information is located, will facilitate the acceptance of zoning applications and the review of the stormwater information by DPWES by ensuring that all required information is included and readily located on the submission.

As noted above, the recently adopted submission requirements for rezoning, special permit, special exception and development plan applications include the requirement for additional detail with respect to stormwater outfalls. Information is required with respect to the adequacy of downstream drainage, including the sufficiency of capacity; a narrative description of the existing outfall conditions through a specified distance downstream; and a narrative description of how the outfall requirements of the Public Facilities Manual (PFM) will be satisfied. In describing the existing outfall conditions, applicants must note the types of conveyance structure(s) existing/proposed throughout the required distance, and the existing condition of the conveyance structures, as well as noting if there will be a change in drainage area to the outfall as a result of the proposed development. For example, when the conveyance system is a natural channel, any erosion along the channel must be identified. With respect to the description of compliance with the PFM's outfall requirements, applicants must describe any improvements (e.g. channel stabilization, pipe replacement, etc.) that are necessary to achieve compliance.

If you have any questions or comments concerning the information above, please contact at 703 324-1780, TTY 711.

Background

The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) incorporates by reference the International Mechanical Code (IMC), 2000 edition, which in turn prescribes the minimum amount of outdoor air required for the ventilation of various indoor spaces - based on the occupancy of each such space and its estimated maximum occupant load or other parameters as prescribed by the IMC. The IMC’s tabular values for Required Outdoor Ventilation Air are derived from ASHRAE 62-1989, although ASHRAE 62-1989 itself is not incorporated within the VUSBC. In occupancies where the primary sources of air contamination are the occupants themselves, the prescribed ventilation rates (mathematically) limit the rise of carbon dioxide within such spaces to about 700 parts per million (ppm) above ambient outdoor air levels. Thus, if the outdoor air has a carbon dioxide level of 300 ppm (as presumed in ASHRAE 62-1989), a steady state condition of about 1,000 ppm carbon dioxide will be reached within a space with an occupant loading and outdoor ventilation rate prescribed for that space by the IMC. ASHRAE 62-1989 states: “Comfort (odor) criteria are likely to be satisfied if the ventilation rate is set so that 1,000 ppm carbon dioxide is not exceeded.” ASHRAE 62-1989 also implies that short-term exposure to contaminant levels as high as 1.25 times the steady-state value (e.g., 1.25 times 1,000 ppm carbon dioxide) should be safe, provided the required air quality (e.g. 1,000 ppm carbon dioxide, maximum) is provided over the entire occupancy period. In cases of “intermittent or variable occupancy,” it is sometimes possible to provide ventilation rates lower than those prescribed by the IMC and still maintain indoor air quality comparable to that described above.

Policy

In cases of “intermittent or variable occupancy” where the primary sources of air contamination are the occupants themselves, and outdoor ventilation air is the principal means of maintaining indoor air quality, equivalence to the IMC prescribed ventilation rates may be demonstrated through mathematical modeling of carbon dioxide concentrations within the space. Carbon dioxide concentrations so modeled must be shown to be no higher than 750 ppm above outdoor ambient conditions (which may be assumed at 400 ppm for this locality), with exceedance of this threshold being limited to 15 minutes and 1,000 ppm above outdoor ambient conditions during a single occupied period. “Average occupancy” calculations, such as described in ASHRAE 62-1989 Section 6.1.3.4, may not be used as an alternative for demonstrating equivalence.

A computer program has been developed for modeling indoor air quality in "intermittent and variable occupancy" situations that will be used to verify design and supporting calculations. Should you request a “code modification” for reduced ventilation capacities in qualifying situations, we will use this program to check your design and supporting calculations during the permit application process. Copies of the computer program are available from Land Development Services, by sending a request to:


Commercial Inspections Division
12055 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia 22035-5504
Phone: 703-324-1910
TTY: 711
Fax: 703-324-1846

The purpose of this letter is to provide guidance with respect to submission requirements for Resource Protection Area Exceptions (RPAE) and waivers to permit underground detention in residential areas to be considered by the Board of Supervisors concurrently with rezoning and special exception applications pursuant to Section 118-6-1 of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance and Section 6-0303.8 of the Public Facilities Manual respectively.

Requests for RPAEs are to be submitted to the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) at the Plan and Document Control counter, located on the 5th floor of the Herrity Building. The information identified below must be submitted in addition to the requisite review fee.

(a) Four copies of an application form provided by the Director and completed and signed by the applicant. Application forms are available at the Plan and Document Control counter and will be available on the County's website in the near future.

(b) Four copies of a Water Quality Impact Assessment that contains the components of Section 118-4-3 (a) through (g) of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance. To facilitate reproduction, at least one copy must be unbound.

(c) Fourteen copies of a plat that meets the submission requirements of Paragraph 2 of Section 9-011 of the Zoning Ordinance, and one unbound 8.5 inch x 11 inch reduction of the plat that is suitable for reproduction. These copies are in addition to the copies submitted to the Department of Planning and Zoning for the related rezoning or special exception application.

(d) Photographs of the property showing existing structures, terrain and vegetation.

(e) Four copies of a map identifying classification of soil types, at a scale of one inch equals 500 feet, covering an area at least 500 feet beyond the perimeter of the proposed development.

(f) A statement of justification which addresses how the proposed development complies with the factors set forth in Sections 118-6-6(a) through (f) of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance and the applicable criteria for the specific RPAE request category pursuant to Sections 118-6-7, 118-6-8 and 118-6-9.

Requests for waivers to permit underground detention in residential areas are also to be submitted to the Plan and Document Control counter. The information identified below must be submitted in addition to the requisite review fee.

(a) A statement of justification that describes the type, materials, size and location of underground facility proposed, and addresses safety, environment, and maintenance burden to the individual members of the homeowners or condominium owners association as expressed in dollars per year per residential unit (the parameters used in the calculation of this figure must be provided including details of yearly costs and the number of units).

(b) A cost estimate for the construction of the facility.

(c) A cost estimate and schedule of the required routine maintenance associated with the proposed facility.

(d) A schematic or exhibit that depicts the proposed facility.

(e) Two copies of the development plan and/or special exception plat.

(f) A copy of the draft proffer statements proposed by the applicant.

In order to avoid delays in the processing of the associated rezoning and/or special exception application, it is imperative that the need for an RPAE and/or waiver to permit underground detention in residential areas be determined and submission of a complete application to DPWES occur concurrently with the submission of the zoning application to the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ). Failure to submit such requests concurrently will likely result in a delay in the processing of the zoning application, as the staff recommendation on the zoning application is typically affected by the DPWES evaluation of these requests. In addition, the staff report on the zoning application that goes to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors needs to contain the DPWES analysis of the requests.

Staff is available to meet with applicants prior to submission to discuss questions and concerns about a potential RPAE or waiver of underground detention. Requests for pre-submission meetings should be coordinated through the Zoning Evaluation Division, DPZ or through the applicable Chief Stormwater Engineer in the Environmental and Site Review Division, DPWES. It is also imperative that any revised plans be submitted to DPWES if changes to the development plan and/or special exception plat occur during the processing of the zoning application, as changes may affect the RPAE/underground detention request. Such changes must be received a minimum of six weeks prior to the scheduled public hearing before the Planning Commission, so that the materials, staff findings, and staff recommendations may be included in the staff report for the zoning application.

If you have any questions or need additional information about submission requirements, please call Plan and Document Control at 703-324-1730, TTY 711.

With the adoption of the 2000 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, the method and requirements for electrical energy compliance have changed. Designers now have the option to use either the IES/ASHRAE 90.1-1993 or the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code. To facilitate compliance, a new form is now available. The Electrical Energy Compliance Form for new and existing buildings must be completed and attached to plans submitted to Building Plan Review during the permit approval process.

If you have any questions regarding the above forms please contact Jerome Orimilikwe at 703-222-0114, TTY 711 or via e-mail.

On Monday, June 7, 2004, the Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to the Zoning Ordinance (ZO-04-365), Subdivision Ordinance (17-04-101) and Public Facilities Manual (86-04-PFM) related to cluster subdivisions which become effective at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2004. These amendments were prompted, in part, by a 2002 amendment, to Sect. 15.2-2286(A)(12) of the Code of Virginia, which requires localities to amend their land use ordinances to comply with the amended statute no later than July 1, 2004. The Code of Virginia provides that localities may adopt standards to allow cluster subdivisions through an administrative approval process without a public hearing. The Code of Virginia also provides that localities may opt to allow cluster subdivisions through the rezoning or special exception process but in doing so, bonus density provisions must be provided. Finally, the 2002 amendment provides that localities may decide to eliminate cluster subdivisions as a development option in some or all of its zoning districts.

Zoning Ordinance Amendments

Under the adopted cluster subdivision provisions of the Zoning Ordinance effective July 1, 2004, cluster subdivisions are distinguished from conventional subdivisions by minimum open space requirements, minimum district size requirements, reduced lot size requirements in certain circumstances and reduced yard requirements. In addition, the cluster subdivision development option is available in the R-C, R-E, R-1, R-2, R-3 and R-4 Districts. However, the approval process for new cluster subdivisions varies by zoning district. Cluster subdivisions are allowed subject to special exception approval by the Board of Supervisors in the R-C, R-E, and R-1 Districts with a maximum potential density of 0.22 dwelling unit per acre, 0.55 dwelling unit per acre and 1.1 dwelling units per acre, respectively. These maximum potential densities for cluster subdivisions in the R-C, R-E and R-1 Districts reflect a 10% density bonus above the maximum permitted density for a conventional subdivision within the applicable zoning district. Additionally, cluster subdivisions in the R-3 and R-4 Districts that contain at least 2 acres but less than 3.5 acres of land area are allowed subject to special exception approval by the Board of Supervisors with a potential density bonus equivalent to one additional dwelling unit above the maximum density applicable to a conventional subdivision in those respective districts.

Cluster subdivisions within the R-2 District or cluster subdivisions with at least 3.5 acres or more of land area in the R-3 and R-4 Districts are subject to an administrative (by-right) subdivision review process with approval by the Director of the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. In order to improve the integration of the proposed cluster development into an existing residential neighborhood, the Zoning Ordinance, as amended, provides increased lot size requirements for certain lots within a by-right cluster subdivision that are located on the peripheral boundary of the cluster subdivision.

The adopted Zoning Ordinance amendments also address modifications to cluster subdivisions approved prior to July 1, 2004, and the approval of cluster subdivisions through the rezoning process after July 1, 2004.

Subdivision Ordinance Amendments

Under the adopted amendments to the Subdivision Ordinance effective July 1, 2004, all by-right cluster subdivisions are subject to cluster subdivision development standards, including the provision of open space, tree preservation, and the protection of environmentally sensitive areas. These standards can not be waived. The Subdivision Ordinance cluster subdivision standards also require the submission of an existing vegetation map as defined in the Public Facilities Manual (PFM). In addition, the cluster subdivision standards require that a tree preservation plan be submitted by the applicant that includes the location, crown spread, species, size, and condition rating of individual trees and groups of trees proposed to be preserved.

The Subdivision Ordinance, as amended, requires the submission of a preliminary subdivision plat for by-right cluster subdivisions that includes the designation of the existing use and zoning classification for all parcels located outside of and contiguous to the proposed cluster subdivision boundary. Further, the written notice requirement for by-right cluster subdivisions has been modified to include a project description containing the preliminary subdivision plat name, number of units, number of acres, density, amount of open space provided, and a project location description, to include the name of the nearest road, the side of the road on which the project is located, and the estimated distance from the nearest existing road intersection and the name, address, and telephone number of a representative of the applicant.

Public Facilities Manual Amendments

The adopted amendments to the PFM achieve consistency with the cluster subdivision provisions of the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances by limiting encroachment into the Resource Protection Area and the floodplain and its adjacent slopes of 15% or greater.

A copy of the adopted Zoning Ordinance amendment with links to the Subdivision Ordinance and PFM amendments is available on the Department of Planning and Zoning website. Questions concerning this amendment and a copy of the amendment may be obtained by calling 703-324-1314, TTY 711.

On March 29, 2004, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Stormwater Management Facility Submission Requirement Zoning Ordinance Amendment which expands the submission requirements for all special permit, special exception, rezoning and development plan applications. This amendment became effective on July 1, 2004 at 12:01 a.m. All special permit, special exception, rezoning and development plan applications accepted prior to the effective date are not subject to the new submission requirements.

Under the adopted amendment, all plats or development plans submitted with special permit, special exception, rezoning or development plan applications would be required to include the location, estimated size of facility footprint in area and type of all stormwater management facilities, including the full extent of side slopes, embankments, spillways, dams and water surface elevations of design storms, if applicable. In addition, all applications are required to submit a preliminary stormwater management plan that includes information about the adequacy of downstream drainage, including the sufficiency of capacity of any storm drainage pipes and other conveyances into which stormwater runoff from the site will be conveyed.

In addition to the above, those applications proposing land disturbing activity of 2500 square feet or more are required to submit additional graphic and narrative information. The graphic information requires the depiction of: 1) the facility footprint and, where applicable, the height of any dam embankment and location of the emergency spillway outlet; 2) the on-site and off-site areas to be served by the facility and the acreage draining to each facility; 3) a preliminary layout of all on-site drainage channels, outfalls, and pipes within the facility; 4) the location of any access roads or other means of access to the facility with a description of the type of road surface; 5) proposed landscaping and tree preservation areas in or near the facility; and 6) the approximate limits of clearing and grading on-site and off-site for the facility, storm drainage pipes, spillways, access roads and outfalls, including energy dissipation, storm drain outlet protection and/or stream bank stabilization measures. The narrative information requires: 1) a description of how the detention and best management practice (BMP) requirements will be met; 2) the estimated area and volume of storage of the stormwater management facility to meet the detention and BMP requirements; 3) the existing outfall conditions for each watercourse receiving drainage from the site; and 4) a description of how adequate outfall requirements of the Public Facilities Manual will be satisfied.

In addition to the more detailed stormwater management submission requirements, this amendment increases the required number of special exception and special permit plats submitted from 22 to 23. This amendment also reduces the maximum contour interval depicted on the required existing topography map from 5 to 2 for special exception and special permit plats.

The amendment also adds a minor modification provision that allows the Zoning Administrator to approve modifications to an approved special permit, special exception, rezoning or development plan that result in an increase in the amount of clearing and/or grading for a stormwater management facility, provided that such additional clearing and/or grading does not reduce non-stormwater management open space, tree save and/or landscaping on the lot.

A copy of the adopted Zoning Ordinance amendment is available at the Department of Planning and Zoning home page under "Current Projects". Questions concerning this amendment and a hard copy of the amendment may be obtained by calling 703-324-1314, TTY 711 .

On January 1, 2004, the wood preservative industry began the phase out of a variety of pressure-treated wood that contains arsenic (CCA). The new alternative wood preservative methods (ACQ, CA and CA-B) will affect all residential uses of pressure treated lumber including sill plates, fences, and especially decks. Learn more information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As tested and as reported in numerous publications, including one from the National Association of Home Builders, chemicals in the new methods will prematurely corrode standard fasteners, hardware, and flashing that were previously acceptable with CCA pressure-treated lumber. Industry, wood preservers, and the building code community have responded with requirements to ensure that metals in contact with pressure-treated lumber will not deteriorate. The table below outlines the specific requirements for components associated with pressure-treated lumber. These products are available at most home center stores and lumber supply yards. Please note in all cases, electroplated galvanizing is NOT acceptable.

Component
Requirement

Nails, screws, lag screws, and bolts (steel bolts 1/2" diameter or greater are exempt)

Hot-dipped zinc galvanized, stainless steel, or approved for use with ACQ, CA or CA-B

Hardware  (joist hangers, anchors, clips, and angles)

Hot-dipped galvanized with a 1.85 oz/sf of zinc (G-185 coating), or stainless steel (type 304 or better). Look for products such as "Zmax" from Simpson Strong-Tie or "Triple Zinc" from USP.
Flashing Copper, stainless steel, silicon bronze, UV-resistant plastic

The Fairfax County Typical Deck Details have been revised to include the requirements listed above. Fairfax County residential inspectors will be requiring verification of the approved products' installation in the field. It is important that data related to the metal components not readily identifiable by observation be retained on the project site. If plastic is used as flashing, the UV resistance of the plastic must be verified as well.

For more information, please contact Brian Foley, Chief Structural Engineer, at 703-222-0114, TTY 711 or via e-mail.


*Treatment Methods:

CCA: Chromated copper arsenate

ACQ: Ammoniacal copper quat

CB-A, CA: Copper azole

The Code of the County of Fairfax (§61-3), Home Improvement Contractors' (HIC) License requirements, changed effective December 1, 2003. Contractors holding a Virginia Class B license are no longer required to have a Fairfax County HIC license and they are no longer required to file a bond with the Fairfax County License Branch.

Some of the other contractor HIC license requirement changes effective on December 1, 2003, include the elimination of the Fairfax County testing requirements and increasing the required Class C licensed contractor bond amount to $10,000. The annual HIC renewal date will change. Renewal letters will be mailed to the applicable current HIC license holders in the next few weeks.

Please do not hesitate to call the Code Enforcement office at 703-324-1937, TTY 711 with any questions you may have.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has released Erosion and Sediment Control Technical Bulletin #2, Application of Anionic Polyacrylamide for Soil Stabilization and Stormwater Management. This bulletin indicates that Anionic polyacrylamide (Anionic PAM), a non-toxic chemical material, is being marketed nationwide for controlling soil erosion and sedimentation (E&S) on construction sites. Current independent research by state and federal institutions confirms that application of Anionic PAM, in conjunction with conventional erosion and sediment controls (seed, mulch, perimeter controls, sediment basins, etc.), can be a safe, effective, and economical technique for addressing erosion in problem soils on construction sites when compared to conventional E&S measures alone.

In an effort to promote the use of innovative products aimed at protecting waterways within the Commonwealth of Virginia and natural resources of Fairfax County, Anionic PAM may be used, effective immediately, for controlling E&S on land-disturbing activities as defined in Chapter 104 of The Code of The County of Fairfax, Virginia subject to the regulations and policies referred to or described in this Letter to Industry. The storage, handling, use, discharge, and disposal of Anionic PAM on land-disturbing activities shall also be performed in strict accordance with all federal, state and county laws and regulations, and the supplemental Fairfax County policies noted below.

Supplemental Fairfax County Policies

  1. Anionic PAM shall not be used in lieu of, but in addition to, required E&S controls.
     
  2. The developer or the person responsible for carrying out the E&S control plan shall contact the appropriate County, regional, and/or State authority to confirm and certify that the use of Anionic PAM will not conflict with any site-specific Virginia Discharge Elimination System Permits (VPDES), Virginia Water Protection Permits, or other discharge or wetlands permits.
     
  3. Site-specific soil and water testing is needed prior to the approval and application of Anionic PAM and shall be conducted in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations by a qualified professional or firm registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Use of Anionic PAM on any land-disturbing activity in Fairfax County will require the inclusion of a site specific soil and water test report as part of the E&S control plan. The report shall be provided for information only as part of the E&S control plan that is submitted to the Environmental and Site Review Division (ESRD) for approval. The E&S control plan shall also contain the manufacturer's material data sheet, and the manufacturer's storage, mixing, application and disposal instructions and recommendations for information only.
     
  4. The maximum extent of all applications of Anionic PAM shall be depicted on the E&S control plan.
     
  5. Anionic PAM may only be applied in accordance with the site-specific specifications that are depicted on the approved E&S control plan.
     
  6. Anionic PAM shall not be applied in a dry form.
     
  7. A certification prepared by a soil scientist or professional engineer registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia shall be included on the E&S control plan. The certification shall state that the proposed use of chemical erosion and sediment controls, as depicted on the plan, is in compliance with the following:
     
    • Erosion & Sediment Control Technical Bulletin #2.
       
    • Site-specific Virginia Pollution Discharge Elimination System (VPDES), Virginia Water Protection, or other discharge or wetlands permits.
       
    • The manufacturer's specifications and recommendations.

A typical certification should read as follows:

I hereby certify that the proposed chemical use for Erosion and Sediment control for (project name)_______________________, (plan #)____________________ is in compliance with the DCR Erosion & Sediment Control Technical Bulletin #2, VPDES, Virginia Water Protection, or other discharge or wetlands permits, and the manufacture's specifications and recommendations.

 

(Signature) (Date) (Seal)

 

 

If you have any questions or comments regarding the use, implementation or plan submission requirements associated with use of Anionic PAM for E&S control, please contact ESRD at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Background:

The Fairfax County Public Facilities Manual (PFM), Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance (Chapter 104 of the Code of the County of Fairfax, Virginia [County Code]) and Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook (VESCH) set forth guidelines and requirements for implementation of the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law (VESCL) that governs all land development activities in the County. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) periodically reviews all local erosion and sediment control (ESC) programs to assess their effectiveness.

In a recent review of Fairfax County's ESC program, DCR acknowledged the exemplary nature of the County's ESC program and its many positive and innovative aspects; however, in their review of a sample of approved site construction plans, DCR identified deficiencies.

ESC Checklist:

The current ESC program has been evolved and established in collaboration with the land development industry, and strict adherence to its provisions will meet the requirements of the VESCL. Based on the requirements of the PFM, VESCH, County Code and the Minimum Standards, staff has developed a comprehensive checklist for ESC to assist designers and reviewers in ensuring that plans are in accordance with applicable requirements.

Implementation:

Effective June 2, 2003, submitting engineers and surveyors will be required to include a completed, certified checklist with every first submission subdivision, site, public improvement, infill and bonded grading, and rough grading plan submittal and the plan reviewers will verify that the items on the checklist are addressed. A single copy of the checklist as an attachment to the plans is all that is required. The checklist need not be incorporated in every plan set. A copy of this checklist will be made a part of project records.

It is expected that the completed checklist will result in more effective designs and faster approval of qualifying plans.

If you have any questions concerning the checklist or need additional information, please contact Qayyum Khan, Chief Stormwater Engineer, Environmental Facilities and Review Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Issue:

To improve compliance with existing regulations relating to adequate outfall and stormwater detention by enhancing consistency and clarity in the subject narratives.

Outfall Analysis:

Fairfax County Public Facilities Manual (PFM) Section 6-0203 (you may also view the full version of Section 6-0203) and the State's Minimum Standard 19 require a detailed outfall analysis for all development plans. While most plans submitted for review include language from the submitting engineer or surveyor stating an opinion on the adequacy of the receiving channel, often no supporting calculations are provided.

All future plan submissions must contain supporting computations as justification for the conclusions contained in the outfall narrative. For consistency, the following items are to be included:

  1. Site-specific narrative with a description of the elements of the storm drainage system and adjoining properties. A sample outfall narrative can be found in Appendix 3 of the Northern Virginia Adequate Outfall Reference Manual (1998) published by the Engineers and Surveyors Institute.

  2. Outfall location(s) map with the contributing drainage areas and detailed hydrologic and hydraulic calculations.

  3. Three to five cross-sections, at a minimum, at each critical location to verify the outfall adequacy. Cross-sections shall be based on a 2-foot field run contour interval and additional spot elevations in the vicinity. The cross-sections shall have the same vertical and horizontal scales.
     
  4. Extent of outfall analysis in accordance with Section 6-0203.6 of the PFM.
     
  5. Description of the outfall channel and permissible velocity. Manning's roughness coefficient shall be supported by soil classification, cover material and/or channel lining.
     
  6. Design velocities be compared with the permissible velocities of the existing channel. To reduce peak flow rates in the channels an extended detention for the 1-year storm event (in addition to 10-year storm detention) could be useful. If protection measures are provided necessary design details shall be shown and supported by calculations.
     
  7. Drainage easement when channel improvements are proposed.
     
  8. Engineer's statement regarding the adequacy of outfall.

Pre-development Site Conditions Narrative:

Often it is problematic to establish the true predevelopment site conditions, particularly in the review of redevelopment projects. Most plans submitted for approval lack pre-development site information. There is a need for a comprehensive narrative to substantiate the pre-development conditions on which a stormwater detention or water quality control waiver request is based.

All future plans and associated waiver requests must provide a factual pre development land-use narrative. In addition, computations of weighted runoff coefficients and derivation of the time of concentration shall be provided. As stipulated in Sections 6-0803.1 through 6-0804.5 D and 6-0805 (you may also view the full version of Section 6-0800) of the PFM, these details are essential for fair evaluations of the waiver requests and adequacy of outfalls.

Your compliance with the above will assist the county in ensuring that its erosion and sediment control program remains consistent with the State's requirements and its own goals.

If you have any questions concerning the information above or need additional information, please contact Qayyum Khan, Chief Stormwater Engineer, Environmental and Site Review Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

The use of lumber species not native to North America and not listed in the National Design Standard (NDS) has recently become more prevalent in residential construction. Fairfax County does not wish to restrict the use of these species (i.e., ipe, spanish cedar, meranti). However, with the many species on the market today, Land Development Services must regulate their acceptance with the specific requirements listed below.

  • The use of lumber species not native to North America shall be limited to decking surface installations only. Their use as structural elements, such as guardrails, joists, beams or rafters, is prohibited.
     
  • Upon submission to Building Plan Review, the building plans shall include a report from a testing laboratory recognized in the United States or Canada for the decking surface material. The report shall include the following minimum data for the species proposed in the construction:
    • Allowable bending stress
    • Allowable shear stress
    • Modulus of elasticity
  • The submitted building plans shall also include verification of decay and termite resistance of the proposed species from an organization recognized by a federal agency of the United States or Canada.
     
  • Labeling and field identification per IBC, Chapter 17, shall also be provided. This is to ensure the specified species is the actual species installed in the field.

If you have any questions regarding the policy outlined here, contact 703-222-0114, TTY 711.

Issue:

New submission requirements associated with recommendation SW-10 of the Infill and Residential Development Study will be effective for all first submission site plans, subdivision plans, rough grading plans, bonded grading plans where the limits of disturbance have not been included in the subdivision plans, public improvement plans, infill plans, and minor site plans that are submitted on or after May 12, 2003. The details of the new requirements which were developed by a committee of private and public professionals are provided in the document entitled "Policy and Procedures for the Evaluation of Downstream Impoundments." The document contains the new submission requirements as well as the role of the design professionals and review staff in implementation.

Background:

Developers and downstream property owners share a common desire to have minimal impact caused by upstream land development activities. Impacts in the form of siltation to downstream properties, especially natural resources, may result in significant liabilities to a developer involving litigation with the affected parties that may take a substantial amount of time and expense to resolve. Certainly the downstream property owner would like to avoid damages resulting in costly resolution as well. The County can provide assistance to both parties by requesting information that identifies and quantifies existing conditions prior to land disturbance. Without definitive measurements of pre-existing conditions, it has been difficult for all parties to reach agreement on downstream damages caused by the land disturbing activities of a developer's project. Neither party is served well in these situations, which have become more frequent as infill development continues in the County. The existence of siltation that occurred prior to development can make the determination of liability even more difficult. Downstream property owners are sometimes left with no remedy for siltation on their properties because they are unable to prove that a particular development caused the siltation. Likewise, developers are unable to quantify the extent of their responsibility.

If you have any questions regarding submission requirements, please call Environmental and Facilities Review Division at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

Code Reference: International Mechanical Code, 1996 Edition

Background: The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) incorporates by reference the International Mechanical Code (IMC), 1996 edition. This code in turn prescribes the minimum amount of outdoor air required for the ventilation of various indoor spaces-based on the occupancy of each such space and its estimated maximum occupant load or other parameters. The IMC's tabular values for Required Outdoor Ventilation Air are derived from ASHRAE 62-1989, which itself is not incorporated within the VUSBC. In occupancies where the primary sources of air contamination are the occupants themselves, the prescribed ventilation rates (mathematically) limit the rise of carbon dioxide within such spaces to about 700 parts per million (ppm) above ambient outdoor air levels. Thus, if the outdoor air has a carbon dioxide level of 300 ppm (as presumed in ASHRAE 62-1989), a steady state condition of about 1,000 ppm carbon dioxide will be reached within a space with IMC prescribed occupant loading and outdoor ventilation rates. ASHRAE 62-1989 states: "Comfort (odor) criteria are likely to be satisfied if the ventilation rate is set so that 1,000 ppm carbon dioxide is not exceeded." ASHRAE 62-1989 also implies that short-term exposure to contaminant levels as high as 1.25 times the steady-state value (e.g., 1.25 times 1,000 ppm carbon dioxide) should be safe, provided the required air quality (e.g. 1,000 ppm carbon dioxide, maximum) is maintained on average over the entire occupancy period. In cases of "intermittent or variable occupancy," it is sometimes possible to provide ventilation rates lower than those prescribed by the IMC and still maintain indoor air quality comparable to that described above.

Policy: Effective immediately, in cases of "intermittent or variable occupancy" where the primary sources of air contamination are the occupants themselves, and outdoor ventilation air is the principal means of maintaining indoor air quality, equivalence to the IMC prescribed ventilation rates may be demonstrated through mathematical modeling of carbon dioxide concentrations within the space. Carbon dioxide concentrations so modeled must be shown to be no higher than 750 ppm above outdoor ambient conditions (which may be assumed at 400 ppm for this locality), with exceedance of this threshold being limited to 15 minutes and 1,000 ppm above outdoor ambient conditions during a single occupied period.

"Average occupancy" calculations, such as described in ASHRAE 62-1989 Section 6.1.3.4, may not be used as an alternative for demonstrating equivalence (Ref. IMC 403.2 Exception). Occupant loads utilized for design of ventilation systems shall be as prescribed in Table 403.3 of the IMC. Furniture layout designs utilized for occupant loads shall only be considered for permanently installed furniture (Ref. IMC 403.3).

In order to demonstrate equivalence to the provisions of the IMC, any of the following approaches may be used:

  1. 1. Use of the common ventilation formula as specified in Section 403.3.2 of the IMC.
  2. Rooms provided with exhaust or supply air fan systems may utilize air supplied through adjacent occupiable space(s), where there is excess ventilation air, to compensate for an inadequate supply of required ventilation air into the room.
  3. Use of mathematical modeling to demonstrate that the carbon dioxide concentrations in the space would not exceed the limits outlined above, during the time of occupancy.

A computer program has been developed for modeling indoor air quality in "intermittent and variable occupancy" situations that will be used to verify design and supporting calculations. Copies of the computer program are available from Land Development Services, upon request to:

Commercial Inspections Division
12055 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia 22035-5504
Phone: 703-324-1910, TTY 711
Fax: 703-324-1846, TTY 711

Background: Prior to engaging in land-disturbing activities, submission of an erosion and sediment control plan for review and approval is required in accordance with Chapter 104, Erosion and Sedimentation Control of the Code of the County of Fairfax, Virginia and Chapter 11 of the Fairfax County Public Facilities Manual. It has been determined that incorporation of a more detailed description of proposed development sites into erosion and sediment control plans is necessary to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our efforts to minimize the adverse impacts of land-disturbing activities. Thus, submitting professionals will be asked to provide additional information that will assist in identifying sites with the greatest potential to cause offsite damage from erosion and sedimentation (E&S) during land-disturbing. Identification of critical sites during the design phase will assist site reviewers in their evaluation of the proposed measures to control E&S, and will assist site inspectors in identifying critical areas for erosion and sediment control so that resources can be assigned where they are most needed. In addition, identifying critical sites in the design process and ensuring that adequate controls are incorporated on the approved plan should result in fewer required changes during construction and reduce associated project delays and cost increases.

To facilitate the incorporation of the additional information, County staff developed a worksheet to be completed by the submitting professional and incorporated into the E&S portion of plans proposing land-disturbing activity. The worksheet consists of an evaluation of a series of criteria relating to E&S and their potential to contribute to offsite damage. After evaluating the individual criteria, an overall rating is calculated to determine the environmental priority of the site.

Priority Rating Form for E&S Control: Beginning March 3, 2003, all site plans, subdivision plans, minor site plans, waiver condition plans, rough grading plans, and non-bonded (infill) grading plans, submitted to the County for review and approval must incorporate a completed Fairfax County Priority Rating Form for E&S Control in the erosion and sediment control plan(s). Submittal of the form with bonded grading plans is not required, as the form provided on the subdivision construction plan will provide the necessary information for the site.

The block entitled "Design Engineer" identified at the top of the form should contain the name of the design engineer who completed the form. The design engineer should complete the entire form, with the exception of the area that is reserved for Fairfax County use, determine the total/overall rating and indicate the priority with an "X" on the blank next to the appropriate designation of high, medium or low.

A brief description of each of the categories on the worksheet can be found in a document entitled "Descriptions for Fairfax County Priority Rating Form for E&S Control," and a list of the "K" values for the soils typically found in Fairfax County can be found in the document entitled "Pertinent Information for Fairfax County Soils." A copy of the Fairfax County Priority Rating Form for E&S Control and the associated descriptions are enclosed. Additional copies of the rating form and descriptions, and the table entitled "Pertinent Information for Fairfax County Soils" can be obtained at the Plan and Document Control counter located on the 5th floor at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia. All three documents are scheduled to be incorporated on the County's website in February 2003.

If you have any questions about the procedures described above, please contact Environmental and Facilities Inspections Division at 703-324-1950, TTY 711.

For more information and to view the form please see the E&S Description and Form.