Planning Division

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday - Friday. Check the DPD Operating Status webpage for more information.

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 730
Fairfax, VA 22035

Leanna O'Donnell,

Site-Specific Plan Amendment Process - Nomination Review

Nominations determined by Planning Commission staff to have satisfied all applicable submission requirements during the Nomination Submission Period will be forwarded to the community task forces and Planning Division staff for screening.  

Planning Commission Screening

The screening process includes a review of the land uses proposed by each nomination and the development of recommendations by staff and the task forces to either add the nomination to the Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program, or end consideration. These recommendations will be forwarded to the Planning Commission for final decision at a public hearing.

In addition to recommending whether a specific nomination should be added to the Work Program, the Planning Commission will also evaluate whether those nominations that are added should be reviewed on an Expedited Track or a Standard Track. The Expedited Track has a duration of approximately 4-6 months and is designed for nominations that, for example, do no propose significant land use changes. The Standard Track has a duration of approximately 6-9 months.

If a nomination or group of nominations involves a large land area and/or is highly complex, the Planning Commission may combine them to be considered for a special study. The Planning Commission staff will notify nominators of the outcome of the Planning Commission screening.

Work Program Implementation

Once a nomination is screened and formally accepted for review as a part of the Comprehensive Plan Work Program, DPD staff will prepare a staff report containing impact analyses and recommendations for each nomination. Community task forces appointed by members of the Board of Supervisors will also review the nominations and formulate recommendations. Both task force and staff recommendations will be published and transmitted to the Planning Commission.

Public Hearings and Decision

The Planning Commission will hold public hearings to receive testimony on each nomination. The Planning Commission may support the nomination as submitted, support an alternative of lesser intensity, or retain the adopted Plan recommendation. A nomination may be deferred if the Planning Commission determines that additional information or time will be needed to fully evaluate the proposal or resolve community issues. Only those nominations or alternatives that the Planning Commission votes to support will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for additional public hearings and final decision. The Comprehensive Plan will be amended if the Board of Supervisors votes to adopt a proposed change. If the Planning Commission does not support a nomination, nominators may resubmit their nomination during the next North County SSPA cycle, or choose to pursue a different Plan amendment process.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Review

In 2006, the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation (Chapter 527 of the 2006 Acts of Assembly) to enhance the coordination of land use and transportation planning. §15.2-2222.1 was added to state law to expand the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT’s) role in the land planning and development review process. 24 VAC 30-155, creating Traffic Impact Analysis Regulations, was adopted. Chapter 870 of the 2011 Acts of Assembly was later approved and included necessary revisions to these regulations, but did not affect the comprehensive plan amendment review process. The legislation does not affect local government authority to adopt plans and make decisions on proposed land uses, but rather provides VDOT with the authority to analyze and provide comments to local governments on comprehensive plans and rezoning proposals that may have a significant impact. VDOT’s findings are considered advisory in nature.

24 VAC 30-155 establishes a requirement for a detailed traffic impact analysis (i.e., a VDOT Chapter 870 TIA) for any proposal that is deemed to cause substantial change to the state-controlled highways (part of the interstate, primary, or secondary systems of state highways that is maintained by the state under the direction and supervision of the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner), or substantial impact, defined as a land use proposal that would add 5,000 or more daily vehicular trips to the state-controlled highways, as compared to the what would be generated by the adopted Comprehensive Plan recommendations.

VDOT shall provide written comments within 90 days of submission receipt or by such later deadline as may be agreed to by the parties involved, and may require a response and/or resubmittal (or multiple responses/resubmittals). More information about the process can be found:

  • the VDOT Traffic Impact Analysis Regulations and the Guidelines for Fee Structure and Review Schedules
  • the latest TIA Administrative Guidelines (December 2018)

The determination of need for preparation of a VDOT Chapter 870 TIA and subsequent VDOT review will be made during the Work Program Implementation process. The schedule will allow the nominator to learn the preliminary recommendations of task force and staff before deciding to engage in the VDOT review. When the preliminary recommendations are available, the nominator will be given the option to withdraw the nomination or proceed. The Planning Commission will consider the item when the VDOT review is complete. Nominations failing to submit the required Chapter 870 analysis to VDOT six months after the requirement is determined will be administratively expired, and no further review will be conducted. Nominators have the option to send a written request to the Planning Commission office to extend the timeline by an additional six months no later than one week prior to the six-month deadline. As detailed elsewhere, only nominations that receive a recommendation for approval are forwarded to the Board of Supervisors. Nominations that are not supported by the Planning Commission will no longer be considered part of the SSPA process and will not be subject to further review.

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