New User-Friendly Zoning Ordinance Now Accessible Online Through enCodePlus

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Fairfax County’s modernized Zoning Ordinance is accessible through the new online platform enCodePlus. The website offers people a more user-friendly way to navigate the new zoning regulations that went into effect on July 1, 2021.

The new platform can be accessed on multiple devices including cell phones, tablets and computers. The website uses tables, graphics, hoverbox definitions and hyperlinks to help customers understand zoning regulations in the county.

enCode Plus platform

What Changes Are in the New Zoning Ordinance?

The new Zoning Ordinance modernizes land uses, including updating regulations around certain residential uses, such as accessory structures, accessory living units, home-based businesses and flags. The Board of Supervisors approved the modernization project in March, replacing the previous 1978 Zoning Ordinance.

In addition to making the Zoning Ordinance more user friendly, staff worked to simplify the use standards and use language so that it is easy to understand. By reformatting the ordinance, reducing redundancies and using more tables, the size of the Zoning Ordinance was cut in half.

Notable Changes Include:

  • Allowing accessory structures, such as sheds, children’s play equipment and gazebos up to 12 feet in height to be located five feet from the side and rear lot lines.
  • Removing the age and disability requirements for accessory living units (previously known as accessory dwelling units) and changing the process from requiring special permit approval to an administrative permit for interior units.
  • Modernizing the home-based business use and permitting customers with special permit approval.
  • Adding a maximum flagpole height of 25 feet for lots with single-family dwellings or manufactured homes and 60 feet for lots with all other uses, with the ability to request a special permit for an increased height. The limit of three flags per lot was carried forward from the previous Ordinance. No limit on the size of flags was added.

More background on the modernized Zoning Ordinance and how it was developed is available at the Department of Planning and Development’s zMOD webpage.

In addition, educational meetings are scheduled for this summer and fall. Sign up for the Zoning Ordinance Information and Amendments listserv to stay engaged and receive updates as outreach events are scheduled and materials are posted.

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