Zoning Permits Section

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.

703-222-1082
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 250
Fairfax, VA 22035

Leslie Johnson,
Zoning Administrator

Portable Storage Container (Administrative Permit)

A portable storage container is defined as a purpose-built, fully enclosed, box-like container that is designed for temporary storage of household goods and equipment and which has signage on one or more of its outer surfaces. These containers are uniquely designed for ease of loading to and from a transport vehicle.

Administrative Permits (AP) for portable storage containers (POD) may be issued when a dwelling has been damaged by casualty for a period not to exceed six months or for the period of an active building permit, whichever is shorter in duration.  This limit commences at the time the applicant places the container(s) on the subject property.  There is no fee assessed for an AP to locate a portable storage container(s).  

Note that an administrative permit can only be issued in instances where a dwelling has been destroyed or damaged by casualty and only when such dwelling is to be rebuilt or repaired. 

An administrative permit is not needed when it is a temporary use and will only be located for the following time periods:

  • On a lot containing 36,000 square feet or less and developed with a single-family detached dwelling, for a period not to exceed 30 consecutive days within a six-month period. 
  • On a lot containing more than 36,000 square feet and developed with a single-family detached dwelling, for a period not to exceed 60 consecutive days in a six-month period. 
  • On lots developed with a single-family attached, stacked townhouse, or multifamily dwellings for a period not to exceed seven consecutive days within a six-month period. 

Additional Information

  • A complete application should be submitted at least 30 calendar days in advance to ensure timely review and processing.  Unless the Zoning Administrator approves a lesser time period, an application that is received less than 30 days prior to the start date or that is incomplete as described in the submission requirements will not be accepted for review and will be returned to the applicant with no further action.
  • There is no application fee.
  • An application may take approximately 14 calendar days to process if no additional information is requested or required. 
  • If you want to locate the portable storage container within the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) right-of-way, contact VDOT at 703-259-2787 or 800-367-7623. 

Applicable Standards

As part of the application process, you must agree to abide by the standards found in subsection 4102.1.I and 4102.8.H of the Zoning Ordinance, as described below.

4102.1.I - Standards for Administrative Permit Approvals

(1) The County may inspect the property during reasonable hours and in accordance with subsection 8106.2.D.

(2) The Zoning Administrator may revoke an administrative permit at any time if the owner or operator of the use fails to comply with all requirements of the law with respect to maintenance and conduct of the use and all conditions imposed by the Zoning Administrator in connection with the permit.

(3) The Zoning Administrator will issue a notice of revocation to the owner or operator, hand-delivered or mailed, return receipt requested, setting forth the grounds upon which the permit was revoked, the date and time the revocation took effect, and describing the appeals procedure. Upon receipt of the notice, operation of the activity must cease.

(4) These provisions do not preclude the use of any other remedy prescribed by law or by this Ordinance with respect to violations of this Ordinance.

4102.8.H - Portable Storage Containers

Standards when permitted as an accessory use:

(1) Portable storage containers are allowed as a temporary use only on lots containing a dwelling and may be located in any yard.

(2) Portable storage containers are permitted for the following time periods:

(a) On a lot containing 36,000 square feet or less and developed with a single-family detached dwelling, for a period not to exceed 30 consecutive days within a six-month period.

(b) On a lot containing more than 36,000 square feet and developed with a single-family detached dwelling, for a period not to exceed 60 consecutive days within a six-month period.

(c) On lots developed with single-family attached, stacked townhouse, or multiple family dwellings, for a period not to exceed seven consecutive days within a six-month period.

(d) Where a dwelling has been damaged by casualty, a period of time established in accordance with subsection (7) below.

(3) Portable storage containers must not exceed eight and one-half feet in height.

(4) Portable storage containers must not exceed a cumulative gross floor area of 130 square feet for each dwelling unit.

(5) Portable storage containers must not be located in any required open space, landscaped area, on any street, sidewalk or trail, or in any location that blocks or interferes with any vehicular or pedestrian circulation, and must be located in accordance with all applicable building and fire code regulations for the purpose of ensuring safe ingress and egress to dwellings, access to utility shut-off valves, and for fire protection.

(6) Portable storage containers are also subject to the sight distance provisions of subsection 5100.2.D(4)(c).

Standards when permitted by administrative permit:

(7) An administrative permit may be issued for a period longer than set forth in subsection (2) above, but only in accordance with all of the following:

(a) Only in instances where a dwelling has been destroyed or damaged by casualty and only when such dwelling is to be rebuilt or repaired.

(b) An administrative permit may be issued for a period not to exceed six months or for the period of an active building permit, whichever is shorter. This permit may be extended by the Zoning Administrator if construction of the dwelling is being diligently pursued.

ADDITIONAL PERMITS MAY BE REQUIRED

In addition to an administrative permit from Zoning, your temporary activity or use may require a permit from other agencies. Contact information for other agencies is listed below:

If your temporary use includes: Department to contact: Contact information:
Serving Food Health Department 703-246-2444 or hdehd@fairfaxcounty.gov
Exterior Sanitation Facilities (portable toilets) Health Department 703-246-2201 or hdehd@fairfaxcounty.gov
Rides or Amusement Devices Permit Application Center 703-222-0801 (option 2) or LDSbuildingpermits@fairfaxcounty.gov
Tents over 6000 sq. ft. Permit Application Center 703-222-0801 (option 2) or LDSbuildingpermits@fairfaxcounty.gov
Tents between 900 and 6000 sq. ft. Fire Marshal 703-246-4803 or fire.revenuepermits@fairfaxcounty.gov
Propane Tanks Fire Marshal 703-246-4803 or fire.revenuepermits@fairfaxcounty.gov
Road Closures VDOT (Arlington/Fairfax Permits Section) 703-259-1773 or NOVAFairfaxPermits@VDOT.Virginia.gov
Display or Exhibition of Animals Animal Protection Police 703-691-2131 or fcpdanimalprotection@fairfaxcounty.gov

 

CONTACT US

For additional assistance, please contact the Zoning Permits Section by phone at 703-222-1082 or by email.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant