A Variance is a request to vary certain requirements of the Zoning Ordinance where, due to special conditions of the property, strict enforcement of the Ordinance would, among other standards, effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict all reasonable use of the property. Examples include, but are not limited to, requests to permit construction of a structure closer to a lot line than allowed by the Zoning Ordinance (variance to minimum yard requirement), requests to permit a subdivision of a lot which would result in new lots that do not meet minimum lot width requirements (variance to minimum lot width), or requests to increase the height of a fence (variance to fence height).
All variance requests require the submission of the Variance application package. Fairfax County's Variance Process takes approximately 90 days, from the time an application is filed, to the time of the Board of Supervisors Public Hearing.
- Application is filed by the Applicant.
- Application submissions are reviewed. when all zoning ordinance submission requirements are met, applications are accepted (start of the 90 day process)
- Application is scheduled for public hearing, is assigned to a staff coordinator, and distributed to various county agencies.
- Prestaffing of application. Applicant contacted by staff about initial staff comments.
- Revisions relating to prestaffing comments are submitted.
- Staffing of application/Applicant will be contacted by staff about final staff comments.
- Revisions relating to the staffing comments are submitted.
- 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.
- Staff report published (1 week prior to hearing).
- Board of Zoning Appeals Public Hearing.
Variance Application Package (Updated July 2019)