We see it happening all around the county: Smaller houses get torn down and bigger ones go up in their place. In development terminology, this is called infill development. The county oversees this kind of construction and takes this role very seriously.
Every infill project must submit a series of plans for review by the county before a land disturbance permit is issued. The plans are reviewed by multiple county agencies, as well as the Virginia Department of Transportation and other outside agencies. After the plan has been approved, construction cannot start until a meeting is held between county inspectors, the owner and contractor. Once construction begins, a series of on-site inspections take place to make sure construction is moving ahead correctly.
Among the issues county engineers, inspectors and other professionals review are:
- Erosion and sedimentation controls.
- Stormwater drainage.
- Driveways, sewer and water connections, fire protection, site grading and landscaping.
One of the biggest concerns about infill development is the protection of existing trees on the property. The important benefits of trees in a neighborhood include:
- Cool our houses in the summer.
- Help control stormwater runoff.
- Remove pollutants from the air.
- Create a sense of well-being and community in our neighborhoods.
- Increase the value of the homes they surround.
One of the most important regulations that protects trees is the Tree Conservation Ordinance. The ordinance requires some trees to be preserved during development and for new trees to be planted to grow our tree canopy into the future. There is a staff of 12 urban foresters dedicated to ensuring that tree preservation and planting requirements are met during all development in the county, including infill.
If you see any construction happening in your area that concerns you, call our construction hotline at 703-324-7470, TTY 711. We have inspectors on call who can investigate.
Watch: New Houses, Old Neighborhoods: Overseeing Infill Development
If you are considering embarking on an infill project, be sure to hire a high-quality engineering firm. If you have any questions about the approval process, these resources will help you along the way.
Engineer of the Day
Herrity Building, 1st Floor
12055 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
703-324-2268, TTY 711
Urban Forester of the Day
Call 703-324-1770, TTY 711