The zoning and land development process in Fairfax County involves comprehensive reviews by numerous county and non-county agencies and may involve many steps before a project can be approved. Every project is unique and subject to its own set of requirements depending on the location and complexities of the project.
Before Developing Your Project
Before developing your project you need to know relevant zoning requirements, legal restrictions and physical characteristics of your site, such as:
- Zoning information - Determine the zoning district, setback requirements and proffers (if any) associated with your parcel or call the Zoning Permit Review Branch (ZPRB) for assistance at 703-222-1082, TTY 711.
- Site-specific information - Any information relative to the proposed development of the property to include plats, legal description, easements and other property encumbrances, previous zoning actions, survey, utilities, transportation access, stormwater information, etc.
- Physical site characteristics - Such as plats, topography, soils, Resource Protection Areas, utilities, transportation access, stormwater information, etc.
Land Development Process
1. Determine the feasibility of your project. Is the use (e.g., residential, nonresidential, etc.) I propose allowed by the Zoning Ordinance regulations for the zoning district of my property?
- If YES, as a:
- Permitted use (by-right use) - You don't need to make further application in the planning and zoning phase of the development process. However, if you cannot meet all the regulations because of the conditions relating to the land itself, you can apply for a variance to request that certain zoning requirements be modified for your project because of conditions beyond your control (i.e., fence height, location of structures in relation to property lines, increase in building height, lot width).
- Special exception use - You must obtain approval of a special exception from the Board of Supervisors.
- Special permit use - You must obtain approval of a special permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals.
- If NO:
2. If Zoning Regulations Are Met: