Department of Planning and Zoning

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, VA 22035

Leslie Johnson,
Zoning Administrator

Zoning Ordinance Amendments

Proposed Amendments Authorized for Public Hearing

Zoning Ordinance AmendmentsThe following proposed amendments to the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance are scheduled to be authorized or have been authorized for advertisement of public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Please note that hearing dates and times may be subject to change.

For the convenience of the public, copies of the Staff Reports for the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments are available for review in portable document format (PDF) below.  Some attachments to the Staff Reports may not be available in electronic format. If you are interested in viewing these documents, please contact the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314.

1.  Rear Yard Coverage

The Zoning Ordinance currently limits the amount of coverage permitted in the required minimum rear yard of any single family detached lot to no more than 30%. The only remedies for exceeding this percentage are Variance or Final Development Plan Amendment applications. In order to allow residents to sufficiently utilize their rear yard with uses and structures, this amendment proposes to create a new Special Permit option for conventional Residential Districts to seek relief from the 30% limitation. In addition, this amendment proposes to raise the permitted percentage of coverage in Planned Districts, as well as to exempt smaller lots from the coverage limitation altogether.

Planning Commission Public Hearing: April 18, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Board of Supervisors Public Hearing: May 15, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

2.  Short-Term Rentals

The proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment is on the 2017 Priority 1 Zoning Ordinance Amendment Work Program (ZOAWP), as part of the review of state code changes. In 2017, the General Assembly enacted Virginia Code § 15.2‑983, affirming a locality’s right to regulate the short-term rental of property through its general land use and zoning authority. As a result of this law, on March 14, 2017, the Board of Supervisors (Board) directed staff to form a workgroup to analyze the short-term rental of property in Fairfax County and recommend possible changes to the County Code and Zoning Ordinance.

Planning Commission Public Hearing: May 3, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Board of Supervisors Public Hearing: June 19, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

Public Hearing Location

All public hearings are held in the Government Center at the following location:

Board Auditorium
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia

Speaker Information

Persons wishing to speak at the public hearings on these topics may call the Office of the Clerk to the Planning Commission: 703-324-2865, TTY 703-324-7951, and the Office of the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors: 703-324-3151, TTY 703-324-3903, to be placed on the respective speakers list or may appear and be heard.

Sign up for the speakers' list online:

Planning Commission   Board of Supervisors 

Recently Adopted Amendments

Click here to view the Zoning Ordinance amendments that have been adopted since the publication of the Zoning Ordinance Reprint dated June, 2017.

Under Consideration

The following topic areas are actively being researched and evaluated by staff to develop a proposal for an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance.  These potential amendments have not been formally authorized by the Board of Supervisors for public hearing at this time.  

Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project

The following topics are being considered as part of the Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project:

1.  Planned Development Housing (PDH) Districts


2.  Signs

On June 18, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which drew a very distinct line concerning the use of content-based sign regulations.  The facts concerned an ordinance in Gilbert, Arizona that had differing restrictions on political, ideological and directional signs.  The Supreme Court decided that the Gilbert ordinance was "content-based" and could not survive the strict scrutiny required by the First Amendment to protect freedom of speech.  As such, the Court found that the Gilbert regulations applied to particular speech because of the topics discussed and/or expressed on the sign itself - thereby regulating some kinds of speech differently from others.  Fairfax County's sign ordinance needs to be amended to respond to the Gilbert decisions.

2017 Zoning Ordinance Amendment Work Program

Additionally, the following topics are being considered as part of the 2017 Zoning Ordinance Amendment Work Program:

1.  Agricultural Uses and Districts

The Zoning Ordinance currently defines agriculture and permits such use in various low intensity residential districts.  Today's market has indicated a desire for more "agritourism" related uses (such as wineries, farm markets, seasonal farm festivals, etc.), which are currently not specifically set forth in the provisions.  Additionally, new forms of agricultural activity, such as urban community gardens and container farms, need specific designations in the Zoning Ordinance to accommodate them in appropriate zoning districts other than low density residential districts.

2.  Continuing Care Communities

The Zoning Ordinance accommodates independent living facilities (dwellings) and a variety of assisted living/nursing care/memory care facilities (medical care) as separate uses. Today's market is increasingly seeing these uses in combination, which presents some challenges given the zoning regulations applicable to each use.

3.  Reston Planned Residential Community (PRC) District

Based on recommendations from a 40-member community task force, the Comprehensive Plan for Reston was updated in 2014 and 2015. The plan calls for future growth to be focused in the Town Center, the Village Centers, and the areas around the three Metro Stations. An update to the Zoning Ordinance is needed to implement the new plan, because some of its current provisions limit the growth of Reston by capping its population to 13 persons per acre.  Additional information on the proposed amendment can be found on the main Reston PRC ZOA page.