Zoning Evaluation Division

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our offices are open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
703-324-1290 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Pkwy., Suite 801
Fairfax, VA 22035
Suzanne Wright

Special Permit Process

The Zoning Ordinance states that there are certain uses which by their nature or design can have an undue impact upon or be incompatible with other uses of land. These uses, described as special permit uses, may be allowed to locate within designated zoning districts under the controls, limitations, and regulations of a special permit approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).

The BZA may approve a special permit that complies with all applicable standards, that will be compatible with existing and planned development in the general area, and that, as conditioned, will be compatible with the neighborhood where it is proposed to be located. If it determines that the use is not in accordance with all applicable standards of this Ordinance, the BZA must deny the special permit.

In order to request consideration of a special permit by the BZA, an application must be filed with the County. A special permit must comply with specific submission requirements, including the provision of a fee and an affidavit, as set forth in the Zoning Ordinance. Fairfax County's special permit process takes approximately 90 days from the time an application is accepted to the time of the Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing. Please note that a special permit application for a special event must be filed at least 120 days before the proposed date of the event.

Process Overview

  1. Application is filed electronically through the PLUS application portal by the applicant.
  2. Application submissions are reviewed. When all Zoning Ordinance submission requirements are met, applications are accepted (start of the 90-day process).
  3. Application is scheduled for Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing, is assigned to a staff coordinator, and distributed to various county agencies.
  4. Pre-staffing of application. Applicant contacted by staff about initial staff comments.
  5. Revisions relating to pre-staffing comments are submitted.
  6. Staffing of application. The applicant will be contacted by staff about final staff comments.
  7. Revisions relating to the staffing comments are submitted.
  8. Notification to adjacent property owners (sent to applicant 40 days prior to hearing, notices mailed by Applicant postmarked at least 15 days prior to hearing). Instructions for Preparing Legal Notices for Board of Zoning Appeals Public Hearings.
  9. Staff report published (one week prior to public hearing).
  10. Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing.

Zoning Application and Development Review Process

The development review process applies to all those seeking approval of a rezoning, a special exception, a special permit or a variance in Fairfax County.


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