Planning, Permitting and Construction

CONTACT INFORMATION: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Permitting Business 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 Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
Multiple Development Agency Directors

What Wetlands Permits are Required?


Tidal wetlands are lands contiguous to a tidal body of water and lying between mean low water and mean high water subject to flooding by normal tides and wind tides. Projects that are within the Waters of the United States, including tidal wetlands may be subject to approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Projects that are below mean low water, within the tidal wetland, sand dunes or beaches, may require review by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Land disturbances and related construction activities within the tidal wetland often require a wetlands permit in accordance with the Wetlands Zoning Ordinance or the Coastal Primary Sand Dune Zoning Ordinance. To facilitate the review by federal, state and local agencies that have overlapping regulatory jurisdiction, a single “Joint Permit Application” may be prepared and submitted for review.

The following types of land disturbing activities and construction projects will require a Joint Permit Application:

  • Any construction project on, over or adjacent to a body of water.
  • Any project in which fill material is placed in or near wetlands such as riprap.
  • Projects designed to protect property at the water's edge.

Apply for a Joint Permit Application from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The floodplain, as defined by Fairfax County, is the land area in and adjacent to streams that have a drainage area greater than 70 acres, and would be inundated by a flood event with a one percent chance of occurrence in any given year (commonly called the 100-year flood). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has delineated Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). To view mapped floodplain boundaries and other related information use the interactive map.  Please note, however, that the County Floodplain Regulations are more stringent than the federal minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program.

RPAs are sensitive land areas that include the tidal shore, tidal wetland, perennial streams, and non-tidal wetlands.  The RPA buffer also includes the major floodplains. To view the maps online, visit Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Maps online.


Projects that include the construction of structures (i.e., decks, docks) may require building permits and possibly other construction permits such as electrical and plumbing, in accordance with the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.

Projects that disturb more than 2,500 square feet of land, such as during construction or removing or invasive plants, will require approval of a Grading or Conservation Plan, prepared by a Professional Engineer and submitted to LDS, and issuance of a Land Disturbance Permit, in accordance with the Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance, Chapter 104 of the County Code. More information on site-related plans and site development are available online.

The Stormwater Management Ordinance (SWMO), Chapter 124 of the County Code, effective July 1, 2014, was enacted to implement requirements of the Virginia Stormwater Management Act and Regulations

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