Land Development Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Friday, 9:15 a.m. - 4 p.m. Please note that visitors may not be added to in-person queues past 3:45 p.m.
703-222-0801 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035
Bill Hicks

Sports Illumination Plan (SIP)

Sports fields and athletic courts, including swimming pools, over 10,000 square feet in area or with light poles that are 20 feet high, are required to submit a sports illumination plan (SIP) meeting outdoor lighting standards regulated under Zoning Ordinance subsection 5109.4.B. The intent of an SIP is to reduce the impacts of glare, light trespass, and light pollution; promote safety and security; and encourage energy conservation.

This information is the most common for how to obtain the necessary approval for your project and is not representative of all the conditions you may encounter.



Homeowners or their duly authorized agents may submit a sports illumination plan on their own, however, the plan itself plan must be prepared by a lighting professional that is certified by the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professional.



Before submitting, ensure you are aware of all applicable regulations and conditions that could affect your project to avoid surprises during the review process. Some of those factors include:

  • Zoning Information
  • Design Codes and Standards
  • Do I Need to Hire a Design Professional?
  • Floodplains
  • Resource Protection Areas (RPA)
  • Grading/Site Plans
  • Parking Tabulation
  • Types of Soils and Problem Soils
  • Researching Site Conditions

To get a detailed description about each regulation and condition, visit our Plan Ahead page.



PLUS Application

Apply for your sports illumination plan online in PLUS under the Site tab. If you are a first-time user, you must first register for an account.

application tab


Submission Guidelines

Visit our Site-Related Submission Guidelines page for information on how to submit your plan, including strongly encouraged naming conventions.


Tutorial on Uploading Plans and Documents in PLUS

Helpful Instruction Guide:




A sports illumination plan is required in accordance with one of the following:

  1. As part of the submission of a special exception, special permit, development plan, or rezoning application. A sports illumination plan is subject to approval by either the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) in conjunction with a special permit or the Board of Supervisors (Board) in conjunction with a special exception, development plan, or proffered rezoning. A sports illumination plan approved by the BZA or Board must be submitted as part of a site plan submission for the use. Upon a written request with justification, the Zoning Administrator may modify a submission requirement of (3) below if it is determined that the requirement is not necessary for an adequate review of the sports illumination plan.
  2. For a facility that is permitted by right in the zoning district in which it is located, as part of the site plan submission, or as a separate submission when site plan approval is not required. Upon a written request with justification, the Director of Land Development Services (Director) may modify a submission requirement of (3) below if it is determined that the requirement is not necessary for an adequate review of the sports illumination plan. Such sports illumination plan is subject to review and approval by the Director.


A sports illumination plan must contain the following:

  1. The boundaries, dimensions, and total land area of the property at a designated scale of not less than 1" = 50'. For proposed uses on large tracts of land where the lighted playing field or court occupies a small portion of the site, the boundaries, dimensions and total land area of just the lighted playing field or court with perimeter areas, must be provided, at a designated scale of not less than 1" = 50', with a graphic that depicts the location of the fields and courts in relation to the perimeter lot lines of the entire property.
  2. Location and limits of playing fields and courts, to include a perimeter area which must be located entirely on the same lot. For baseball and softball fields, the perimeter area extends 40 feet in a direction perpendicular to the foul lines and away from the field. The perimeter area for rectangular playing fields, such as soccer, football, lacrosse, and field hockey, extends 20 feet from the side lines and 30 feet from the end lines. The perimeter area for tee boxes on golf courses and golf driving ranges is 30 feet. The perimeter area for all other playing fields and courts extends ten feet beyond the playing field or court boundary.
  3. Location, height, and illustration of each style of all pole, building, and ground-mounted lighting fixtures for the playing field or court.
  4. A photometric diagram showing predicted maintained lighting levels for the proposed playing field or court and associated perimeter area lighting.



Helpful Videos:

red arrow in gray box Reviewing Issues, Conditions, & Notes in PLUS - YouTube

Helpful Instruction Guides:


What's Next?

To get a step-by-step guide on PLUS statuses and what they mean, see our What is My PLUS Status? Site Plans Infographic.


Review Process

Staff from the Site Application Center and Site Development and Inspections Division will review your package for completeness and compliance with applicable codes and county ordinances. You will be notified of any deficiencies. Plan corrections, resubmission fees and additional supporting documents may be required.

For a detailed summary of application progress, to include the name(s) of assigned review staff, click on “Reports” in the top-right corner of the PLUS screen, when you are in a specific record, and select “Workflow Routing Slip Report.”

workflow routing slip


Plan Issuance

Once all reviews are approved, fees have been paid and all associated post-approval conditions have been satisfied, your land disturbance permit and approved plans will be available to download from PLUS.

Visit the  Meeting Approval Condition web page to learn more about your plans specific approval conditions, including where to locate them in PLUS and to get the appropriate form for each condition. Once completed, submit all required documents using this form.


Helpful Video:

red arrow in gray box Access Approved Plans in PLUS - YouTube Video


Site Inspections

Before beginning any land disturbing activities associated with your approved site/grading plan and land disturbance permit, you are required to request a pre-construction meeting. Before requesting your pre-construction meeting, certain items must be completed such as an approved Virginia 811 ticket. To review all required items, visit the Site Inspection web page.


Conservation/Bond Release

The release of the associated conservation deposit is coordinated with your site inspector upon project completion. For any process-related questions, please contact the Bonds and Agreements Center via email or phone at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.


Additional Resources


Need More Assistance?

For questions or additional information, please visit the Site Application Center website or via telephone at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.


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