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Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 9AM-5PM M-F

703-324-7329
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035

Contact Name,
Chairman

Opiates

In Fairfax County, more people die from overdoses than car accidents.

According to the latest statistics from the Virginia Department of Health, there were 324 fatal overdoses caused by opioids in January-March of 2019 in the commonwealth. Unfortunately, those are the highest first-quarter numbers ever recorded. Twenty-two occurred in Fairfax County.

Opioids - 2019 Virginia Chart

We have a plan to combat the opioid epidemic here in Fairfax County, but we need your help as well. Below is what you need to know if you or somebody close to you might be impacted by this crisis.

HIPAA: Business Associate Agreements

Fairfax County may require the assistance of various third parties in order to support the provision of health care services to our residents and employees. The HIPAA regulations identify these parties as Business Associates and can include consultants, businesses, contractors, vendors, and individuals who provide services to the Fairfax County, including the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board. This requires our designated business associates to provide assurances in meeting required safeguards for creating, receiving, storing, and transmitting any electronic protected health information.

HIPAA mandates that an agreement be established between a covered entity (Fairfax County and its agencies) and any business associate that provides services on our behalf where individually identifiable health information may be encountered during the course of those services.

A signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA) is required to ensure these parties will maintain the privacy and confidentiality of protected health information as well as provide necessary access to the information in accordance with the law.

  • The business associate agreement is required independent of the monetary value of the contract.
     
  • Business associate agreements may be required for a small purchase order for a one-time shredding of old patient records to a multi-year contract for health information system software maintenance.
     
  • Business associate agreements with Fairfax County are required regardless of the jurisdiction where the original contract was awarded.
     
View the Fairfax County HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (PDF)

 


For more information about the Business Associate process with Fairfax County, please contact the HIPAA Compliance Officer at HIPAAComplianceOfficer@farifaxcounty.gov or by phone at 703-324-2164
 

HIPAA: Filing a Complaint

Health Information Privacy and Security Complaint Process

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) allows individuals to file complaints regarding their health information privacy rights.

The Fairfax County HIPAA Compliance Program investigates and responds to complaints from, or on behalf of, residents who have received any health care services from Fairfax County government agencies, Fairfax County government employees, and retirees participating in the Health Plan administered by the County’s Department of Human Resources' Benefits Division.

Complaints must be submitted within 180 days from the date of the alleged infraction. Complaints are accepted for violations related to the privacy and security of individual’s protected health information (PHI).  PHI is individually identifiable health information in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral.

An investigation will be conducted once the complaint is received to determine if an alleged action or violation fails to comply with the HIPAA Privacy or Security Rules.
 


You may also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights; 1-800-537-7697; ocrmail@hhs.gov.
 

If your complaint is related to health insurance premiums, health-care provider service charges, quality of care issues, or privacy or security concerns not associated with Fairfax County services, please contact the respective organization directly.

Fairfax County HIPAA Officers

HIPAA Compliance Officer

The HIPAA Compliance Officer (HCO) ensures the county's compliance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as other state and federal health data protections and information privacy regulations and laws by overseeing the county-wide HIPAA security and privacy programs. 

The HCO’s responsibilities include:

  • Working with the HIPAA Privacy Officers within county agencies to standardize the implementation of HIPAA regulations.
     
  • Conducting HIPAA compliance evaluations and Security Risk Assessments of county agencies with covered functions.
     
  • Reviewing, revising, and establishing, as necessary, county-wide HIPAA policies, procedures and guidelines.
     
  • Developing, implementing and documenting HIPAA Security Awareness and Privacy training for all affected county employees.
     
  • Working with the County Attorney and Department of Information Technology (DIT) Information Security Office (ISO) to ensure that the county's policies/procedures and information system security conform with HIPAA, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) and other privacy regulations for best practices, procedures and technical implications.
     
  • Receiving complaints into violations of HIPAA policy and conducting required follow up/investigations.
     
Contact the HIPAA Compliance Officer at HIPAAComplianceOfficer@farifaxcounty.gov or by phone at 703-324-2164, TTY 711.

HIPAA Privacy Officers

Covered entities must also designate a "contact person or office" to be responsible for providing information, receiving complaints and handling the administration of requests for records access, amendment, disclosure accountings, supplemental protections, confidential communications, etc.

Fairfax County's Health Plan and covered agencies have designated HIPAA contacts for the handling of administrative requests for information:

Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board Privacy Officer
703-324-7020, TTY 711

Fire and Rescue Department Privacy Officer
703-246-3558, TTY 711

Health Department Privacy Officer
703-246-8776, TTY 711

Fairfax County Health Plan Privacy Officer
703-324-3307, TTY 711

HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act

Fairfax County's HIPAA Compliance Program 

Fairfax County understands your health privacy is important. We are committed to implementing the provisions under HIPAA and have a HIPAA Compliance Program in place.  
The Program ensures the County complies with HIPAA, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009.  This includes all applicable requirements of the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rules and all amendments to such rules contained in the HITECH Act and any accompanying regulations, and any other subsequently adopted amendments or regulations.

HIPAA Complaints and HIPAA Officers

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) allows individuals to file complaints regarding their health information privacy rights.

HIPAA officers include the HIPAA Compliance Officer and HIPAA Privacy Officers for each covered entity.

HIPAA Business Associate Agreements

Fairfax County may require the assistance of various third parties in order to support the provision of health care services to our residents and employees.

Your Rights Under HIPAA

Regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), protect the privacy and security of individuals’ identifiable health information and establish an array of individual rights with respect to health information.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides individuals with a legal, enforceable right to see and receive copies upon request of the information in their medical and other health records maintained by their health care providers and health plans.

Fairfax County complies with all applicable HIPAA regulations and also maintains its own county policies to ensure an individual’s rights.

Notice of Privacy Practices

Under HIPAA, every patient must receive a notice of privacy practices that includes specifications of the individual's legal rights, and the covered entity's legal duties, with respect to protected health information (PHI). A covered entity must also make its notice of privacy practices available upon request to any person.

Fairfax County Notices of Privacy Practices:

English  |  Large Print

Arabic  |  Chinese  |  Farsi  |  Korean  |  Spanish  |  Urdu  |  Vietnamese

  • Fairfax/Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) Notice of Privacy Practices
     
  • Fairfax County Government's Health Plan Notice of Privacy Practices:
     
    • HIPAA Contact
      Department of Human Resources Benefits Division
      12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 258
      Fairfax, Virginia 22035

      (703) 324-4917

      Note: employees may access the Health Plan's Notice of Privacy Practices through the Department of Human Resources intranet site.

More About Fairfax County and HIPAA

The County classifies itself as a "hybrid entity’” a term that is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 164.103. The County is a covered entity whose business activities include both covered and non-covered functions.

Those components of the County performing covered functions or activities and those components performing functions or activities that would make them a business associate of a component that performs covered functions if the two components were separate legal entities shall be designated health care components and are required to implement the provisions of this procedural memorandum.

The assignment of agencies and programs within the Fairfax County HIPAA Hybrid Entity is subject to change based upon changes to regulation or to internal business processes.

HIPAA regulations directly cover 3 basic groups of individual or entities:

  1. Health Plans

    Fairfax County Government's Health Plan is a separate legal entity and a covered entity under HIPAA. Many of the implementation provisions of HIPAA do not apply to Fairfax County's fully insured components of the Health Plan; however, all provisions of HIPAA apply to the self-insured component of the Health Plan. 

    Fairfax County Government employees may participate in the many benefit plans offered by the County, such as health insurance, long term care insurance, the employee assistance program, and flexible spending programs. Fairfax County Government retirees are eligible to continue their health, dental, life, and long-term care insurance. HIPAA applies to these benefit plans; therefore the County benefit plans will be HIPAA compliant.

    Employees who request assistance from the Department of Human Resources with respect to benefit claims or issues may be asked to sign a waiver, authorizing County benefit staff to discuss their benefit issues with a plan provider. Waivers are available from each individual health plan. 

  2. Health Care Providers

    Fairfax County Government provides care and services related to the physical or mental health of our residents. Fairfax County also provides numerous non-health care related services to our residents. Fairfax County has chosen to restrict the application of the HIPAA Privacy Rule to those parts of the County enterprise that are performing covered health care transactions. A covered health care transaction is an electronic billing function related to payment or authorization for health care services. The application of the HIPAA Privacy Rule to certain components of the County is permissible within the definition of a hybrid entity. 

    Fairfax County's hybrid entity currently consists of the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD), the Health Department (HD) and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB). Agencies providing human services support to clients of the HD and the CSB will be designated within the hybrid entity as appropriate policies and procedures are adopted. In addition, as agencies seek to automate business processes related to health care billing and electronic transactions, then they will be designated within the Fairfax County Government's HIPAA hybrid entity. 

    Agencies providing other health care services to employees, students, inmates or residents will continue to apply the appropriate confidentiality provisions mandated by licensure standards, ethical codes, county personnel policies, and other federal and state laws. 

  3. Health Care Clearinghouses 

    Fairfax County Government does not consist of any health care clearinghouse functions. 

Fairfax County's Virtual Assistant

Our virtual assistant is new and still learning!

Check it out and provide us your feedback. Your feedback will help us provide the best experience as we continue to grow and add topics to our virtual assistant. Topics are currently limited to the ones listed below. 

Virtual Assistant screenshotUsing the Virtual Assistant is Easy

Virtual Assistant iconTo speak with our Virtual Assistant, simply click on the icon in the lower-right corner of our website. The Virtual Assistant window will expand, greet you and present a list of topics to choose from; or you may try typing a question of your own.

When the Virtual Assistant answers your question it may also provide additional related information or options for you to choose from in order to better determine what you want.

The Virtual Assistant is available 24/7 on fairfaxcounty.gov and works with your computer, tablet and mobile phone.

What Can the Virtual Assistant Do?

The Virtual Assistant will direct you to information available on the website, either by displaying it for you within the window or by providing a link for more information. You may ask questions by typing in your own words and ask follow-up questions.

Our Virtual Assistant is always learning thanks to its artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, our customer service staff feed it a steady diet of topics and refinements based on the questions you ask the most. To start, covered topics are:

  • Board of Supervisors
  • Dog Licenses
  • Taxes
  • Trash and Recycling
  • Voting and Elections

What Can't the Virtual Assistant Do?

Though it recognizes patterns of behavior and is able to update and make connections to information accordingly, our Virtual Assistant isn't all-knowing.

Our Virtual Assistant cannot: 

  • tell you a joke.
  • play your favorite song.
  • provide information on any topic of your choosing.

...though our search engine will gladly help you with that last one.

Search the Website

More About the Fairfax Virtual Assistant

Our developers and customer service agents are continuously improving the knowledge base to provide the best experience.
To provide your feedback take our online survey.

Community Gardening

Fairfax County’s new zoning rules dramatically expand the locations where community gardens, farmers markets and home gardens are allowed.

  • Farmers Markets Allowed in More Places Year-Round
    The new zoning law broadens when and where farmers markets may operate and what they can sell. They can be open all year and can now be located anywhere, as long as there is adequate parking and access to the site; for example, a farmers market can locate in an apartment building parking lot, an industrial or office complex or a community pool.

  • Edible Gardens Allowed in Front Yards
    For homeowners, the zoning law ends the prohibition of edible gardens in front yards for lots less than 36,000 square feet. These fruit, vegetable, herb or flower gardens must be set back 15 feet from the front lot line, and they are limited to 100 square feet. Compost areas are not permitted in front yards.

Planning Your Community Garden

When establishing a community garden, you may contact the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District Office (NVSWCD) at 703-324-1460, TTY 711. This agency can also assist with preparing a district-approved Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plan for the garden.

The Fairfax Food Council, a county-sponsored coalition, offers community gardening workshops to teach residents how to grow their own food.

Location

Community Gardens Allowed on Ground and Rooftops

Community gardens now are allowed without restriction in open spaces as long as:

  • they are under two acres.
  • they aren’t the principal use on a property.

However, community gardens aren’t allowed on single-family home sites.

Because of the previous zoning rules, there are only about six private community gardens in the county as of 2019. The Park Authority also oversees nine community garden plots.

Site planning is critical to developing a successful community garden. Here are examples of good and bad locations for a community garden.

Good locations:

  • Relatively flat lands exposed to plenty of sunlight
  • Water accessible
  • Deep high-quality soil without large debris
  • Close to residents who want to take part in the garden

Bad Locations:

  • Steep sloping land
  • Wetlands
  • Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Areas (RPAs)
  • Outside Fairfax County Zoning setback limits

Permits

Your garden may require a zoning permit which may also include a Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plan, depending on location and size. Larger gardens, such as those greater than 10,000 square feet, may be subject to additional erosion and sediment controls or other county ordinances.

You may contact the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314, TTY 711, for further assistance.

Storage Structures

Storage structures are allowed in the community garden: 

  • total square footage of all structures cannot exceed 250 square feet.
  • building permits are not required for these structures (e.g. sheds or greenhouses) under 256 square feet.
  • retaining walls may require a building permit.

You may contact the Permit Application Center at 703-222-0801, TTY 711, with questions.

Contacts

Zoning Setbacks and Permits
Zoning Administration | Department of Planning and Development
703-324-1314

Soil and Water Quality Conservation Plans
Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District
703-324-1460

Nonprofit Assistance 
Nonprofits/Places of Worship Coordinator | Department of Land Development Services
703-324-1780

Fairfax Food Council
703-246-8404
 

Managing Your Community Garden

Once established, it is important that you know the rules and best practices for maintaining your community garden while being a good neighbor.

Hours of Operation & Noise

Gardening hours are limited to between 7 a.m. and dusk.

For time limitations on the use of gasoline powered or mechanized equipment please refer to the Fairfax County noise ordinance.

Gardening & Equipment

Traditional gardening equipment should be used to maintain your plot, such as: trowels, hand fork, claw or cultivator, hoe, hand pruner, watering can, shovel or spade, wheelbarrow and gloves. For time limitations on the use of gasoline powered or mechanized equipment please refer to the Fairfax County noise ordinance.

Healthy Garden Maintenance Basics:

  • You may need to strip compacted soils. You can use a tiller but should only do so in the spring and fall.
  • Apply a layer of organic material (e.g. mulch or compost) after tilling to help prepare soil.
  • Use mulch and compost to assist with weed control, soil enrichment, soil moisture and temperature retention.
  • Use boxed planting beds and mulched borders to assist with erosion control and maintain soil nutrient quality.
  • Prevent erosion along paths between planting beds by using wood chips or heavy geotextile fabric as ground cover.
  • Apply commercial fertilizer based on soil test recommendations.
  • Apply pesticides according to the label instructions – be sure to use the appropriate product for the specific pest.
  • Plant warm/cool season cover crop at the end of a growing season to suppress weeds, add nutrients to soil, reduce erosion and protect water quality.

Additional Gardening Resources:

Signage

Check with the Department of Planning and Development, Zoning Permits Branch, Sign Permits Section for the guidelines in your zoning district. 

The Zoning Administration Division enforces, maintains and administers the provisions of the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance and Noise Ordinance

 

Benefits of Community Gardens

Community gardens address the hunger for locally grown food while also increasing access to healthy food options

Community garden programs offer many benefits, especially for citizens, in both urban and suburban areas. 

  • Beautification
    Community gardening turns urban eyesores into vibrant green space, which can improve the quality of life for everyone in the neighborhood – not just the people that actually tend the garden.
     
  • Fresh Produce
    Community gardens can provide fresh, nutritious produce for many families that couldn’t otherwise afford it, improving their diet and overall health. Some gardeners donate what they have grown to local food pantries, shelters and hospitals.
     
  • A Cleaner Environment
    Plants in community gardens add oxygen to the air and help reduce air pollution. They also absorb rainwater, reducing the amount of runoff that runs through neighboring land and streets. This decreases the amount of pollutants that enter rivers and lakes in the community.
     
  • Stronger Families & Communities
    Tending of community gardens gives residents a chance to connect with their neighbors and feel more personally invested in the places they live, building a sense of ownership and
    belonging.
     
  • Educational Opportunities
    Working in a community garden is educational for kids and adults for basic gardening skills and nutrition and provides an opportunity to learn about other cultural food differences within their community.

Choosing a Consultant or Contractor

When to Use a Consultant or Contractor

While starting a business, going through a zoning or construction process, it may be advisable – or required by Code – that licensed designers/consultants and contractors be involved. This can include engineers, architects, landscape architects, land planners, attorneys, contractors and others. While the County cannot recommend specific individuals or firms, there are some resources which can help you make an informed choice.

Some plans and permits are required by Code to be prepared by a registered design professional (RDP) licensed in Virginia. For Zoning applications and permits, submission requirements and will identify those instances in which a licensed professional must prepare the submission. If you have questions about a specific application, permit or plan, please ask your staff contact. 

 

Selecting a Consultant or Contractor

This is not an exclusive list of resources and is not intended to direct business to any specific professional or firm, nor is it an endorsement of their services.

The following should be kept in mind when hiring a professional:  

  • Before you enter into a contract, be sure that you are choosing a professional with the skills that match your needed service. Just as healthcare professionals have specialties, so do land development professionals.
     
  • The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) is a state agency which licenses and regulates certain professional occupations including, but not limited to, architects, tradesmen, landscape architects, contractors, land surveyors, engineers, and real estate professionals. At the DPOR website you can search professionals by name to ensure that they are licensed by DPOR and see any disciplinary action taken against a professional since 2002.
     
  • Check for complaints filed against companies/individuals in the County’s consumer complaints database.
     
  • See the hiring a contractor page if you need to hire a contractor.
     
  • The Fairfax Bar Association has a Lawyer Referral Service on their webpage which will identify attorneys by specialty.
     
  • As you research other similar applications, take note of the names of professionals who prepare the application materials. For zoning applications, this can be found at the County Land Use Data Website (see the affidavits in the Staff Reports section).
     
  • Ask for recommendations from the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
     
  • Ask for recommendations from the consultants you already trust.
     
  • Using a Fairfax County-based professional or one who has extensive experience in the County can result in a smoother process, particularly if they have familiarity with the property in question.

Property Information

  • For residential projects, you may find this information on your house location plat which you received in closing documents.
     
  • For commercial projects, you might find useful information in the County’s site-specific historic files. You can search by address for plan and permit information on the web at the County Land Use Data Website.
    • You may also obtain copies of approved plans from the County’s Records and Information Management on the fifth floor of the Herrity Building. See this information about Public Records.

Expediting the Review Process

The County has established programs with certain disciplines including architects, engineers and fire protection engineers. In most cases, this means that there is a partnership in place by which some design professionals have completed additional training and are subsequently entitled to participate in a modified, typically expedited, review process. Some examples include:

  • Designated Plans Examiner: Fairfax County Land Development Services, in partnership with the Engineers & Surveyors Institute has a program by which professionals can be certified as “Designated Plans Examiners” (“DPE”) and through this partnership, are entitled to participate in an expedited review process for qualifying site-related plans. As you contact engineers and surveyors you may wish to ask whether they are DPE certified.
     
  • Fire Protection Engineering Consultant: The Fire Marshal’s office strongly recommends that a certified fire protection engineer be included on architectural design teams for all building projects.
     
  • Expedited Building Plan Review Program: Building plans reviewed and recommended for submission by county‐designated “peer reviewers” qualify for expedited processing.

 

Home-Based Businesses: Home Occupations and Home Professional Offices

zMOD - Zoning Modernization

Fairfax County is currently working on the zMOD project to modernize the zoning ordinance. These provisions may change in 2020. Read "More about zMOD" for timeline and information on the proposed revisions.

Allowable Home Occupations, Application Form and Process

Many businesses can be established with the administrative approval of a Home Occupation Permit. See the Department of Planning & Development’s webpage for Home Occupation Permits for a list of permitted home occupations, limitations, the application form and processing information.

Home Occupation Permits are granted by the Zoning Administration Division, Zoning Permit Review Branch located at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 250, Fairfax, VA  22035. 

Permits can be filed by mail or in person. If you apply in person, in most cases, a Home Occupation Permit will be granted while you wait. If you apply by mail, please allow two weeks for processing time.

Home Professional Offices

Certain businesses, called Home Professional Offices, require a Special Permit application, public hearing and decision by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Home Professional Offices are defined in the Zoning Ordinance as:

The offices, studios or occupational rooms which are located within the single family detached residence of a duly licensed or certified physician practicing human medicine, chiropractor, osteopath, physical therapist or massage therapist, duly licensed practitioner of behavioral sciences, attorney, civil or professional engineer, accountant, architect, real estate appraiser or broker, insurance agent, or similar professional person.

In general, it helps to think of a home professional office as a business which depends on customers/clients coming to the office of a registered professional, when the office is located in the home of that professional. Because these offices may have more of an impact on the neighborhood, Home Professional Offices are a special class of application called a Special Permit. 

 

If your proposed business does not qualify for a Home Occupation Permit contact the Department of Planning & Development at 703-324-1290 to determine if a Home Professional Office is an appropriate path to establish your business.

If you are unsure whether your proposed business meets the definition of either a Home Occupation Permit or a Home Professional Office contact the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314.

  • Sometimes the uniqueness of a business concept may not fit clearly within an existing use definition, and you will be asked to submit a Use Determination Request to the Zoning Administrator.
  • Based on the description of your use, the Zoning Administrator will determine what zoning designation matches your use and whether it can be permitted as a home-based business.

Some Businesses are Not Permissible as Home Occupations or Home Professional Offices

Some businesses are not permitted to operate from a home. They include:

  1. Antique shops
  2. Barbershops or beauty parlors*
  3. Restaurants
  4. Gift shops
  5. Repair service or personal service establishments, except those which are identified as permissible on the as may be permitted by Sect. 302. of Article 10 of the Zoning Ordinance
  6. Kennels
  7. Veterinary hospitals
* use may be permitted in certain locations, under certain circumstances. If you are interested in one of these uses, contact the Zoning Permit Review Branch for information.

FAQs About Home Occupation Permits and Home Professional Offices

There are two types of home-based businesses, Home Occupation Permits and Home Professional Offices. Many businesses can be established in a home with the administrative approval of a Home Occupation Permit. See the Home Occupation Permits webpage for a list of permitted home occupations, limitations, the application form and processing information.

How do I get a Home Occupation Permit?

Home Occupation Permits are granted by the Zoning Administration Division, Zoning Permit Review Branch located at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 250, Fairfax, VA  22035.  Permits can be filed by mail or in person. If you apply in person, in most cases, a Home Occupation Permit will be granted while you wait. If you apply by mail, please allow two weeks for processing time.

What is the difference between a Home Occupation Permit and a Home Professional Office?

Some home-based businesses are classified as Home Professional Offices, which is defined in the Zoning Ordinance as:

The offices, studios or occupational rooms which are located within the single family detached residence of a duly licensed or certified physician practicing human medicine, chiropractor, osteopath, physical therapist or massage therapist, duly licensed practitioner of behavioral sciences, attorney, civil or professional engineer, accountant, architect, real estate appraiser or broker, insurance agent, or similar professional person.

In general, it helps to think of a home professional office as a business which depends of customers/clients coming to the office of a registered professional, when the office is located in the home of that professional. Because these offices may have more of an impact on the neighborhood, Home Professional Offices are a special class of application called a Special Permit.

I work from home. Do I need a Home Occupation Permit?

If you have a business that operates out of your home, you need a Home Occupation Permit or a Home Professional Office Special Permit. If you have a commercial business location, or if your business is registered to a different location and you telework, a Home Occupation Permit is not required.

I don’t have any customers/clients coming to my home, do I need a Home Occupation Permit?

Yes. In fact, for most business types which are allowable by Home Occupation Permits, clients and customers are not permitted to come to your home.

I have a virtual office location. Do I also need a Home Occupation Permit?

If your business is registered in the Circuit Court records or the State Corporation Commission, to a virtual office address, you are not required to have a Home Occupation Permit, but you do need a Non-Residential Use/Occupancy Permit for your virtual space.

Do I need to provide demonstrated support from my Homeowner’s Association or Condominium Association to file for a Home Occupation Permit or Home Professional Office?

Before starting a business in your home, you should check with your Homeowner’s Association or Condominium Owner’s Association to determine if they have regulations governing home-based businesses.

The County does not regulate or enforce private covenants such as Homeowners’ Association or Condominium Association regulations, so you do not need to demonstrate that your community has approved a business in your home to apply. However, if you file a Special Permit for a Home Professional Office, you will be sending public notice of your application to your association and to your surrounding neighbors.

I am renting my home. Does my landlord need to sign my application?

No. It is not necessary to have your landlord’s consent to file an application for a Home Occupation Pemit. If you are filing a Special Permit application for a Home Professional Office, applicants who are not the owner of a property will need to demonstrate the right to use the property as proposed.

I am moving from my home, how do I cancel my Home Occupation Permit?

If you move out of your home, the permit will automatically become void.  You will need to obtain a new Home Occupation Permit if you establish the use at another location.

Does my Home Occupation Permit need to be renewed?

No. A home occupation permit is valid for as long as you live in your home and operate the business in accordance with the approval.

Commercial Business Locations: Occupying Commercial Space

zMOD - Zoning Modernization

Fairfax County is currently working on the zMOD project to modernize the zoning ordinance. These provisions may change in 2020. Read "More about zMOD" for timeline and information on the proposed revisions.

Development Process Cycle infographic

Before you sign a lease, be sure that you understand what you will need to do to be able to utilize your proposed space for your business. Some things to consider when finding a location for your business are zoning, building use classification and parking.

If you are looking for commercial or industrial space, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (EDA) may be able to help.

Before you sign a lease or purchase property, make sure you understand what will be required.

It is possible to change the zoning of a piece of property, to modify the building to meet the requirements for your proposed use, and to permit shared parking between uses, but those steps require applications, permits, time and money.

Zoning

Think of zoning as the uses that the County allows to happen on each piece of property because it allows for orderly development and results in the type of community that we want to have. For example, grouping retail uses together in commercial areas, and residential uses in residential districts is part of zoning.

Every property in Fairfax County has a zoning designation, and the Zoning Ordinance includes lists of uses which are allowed in each zoning district, as well as limitations regarding building size, height and location on the property, among other things.

Before you sign a lease or purchase property, please be sure that your proposed use is allowable in that space under the Zoning Ordinance. 

Some uses are permitted by-right, while others will require approval of a Special Exception or a Special Permit.

 

If you are unsure whether your use is permitted in a certain location, contact the Zoning Administration Division (703-324-1314).

  • Sometimes the uniqueness of a business concept may not fit clearly within an existing use definition, and you will be asked to submit a Use Determination Request to the Zoning Administrator.
  • Based on the description of your use, the Zoning Administrator will determine what zoning designation matches your use, where your use can be established, and by which process.

Building Code

The Building Code includes the standards for construction for every building or use. The Building Code provides standards for things like how many points of egress are necessary, how many restrooms are required and what type of ventilation is required. As an example, a warehouse and a childcare center may be allowable in the same zoning district, but it makes sense that they would be constructed differently, and the standards for each are contained in the Building Code.

If you intend to make physical changes to your space, or you are planning to occupy space that was previously occupied by a different type of business (for example, the previous tenant was an office user, but you are proposing retail use) building plans, permits and inspections may be required.

Review Step 4 of the Development Cycle: Permits and Review.

If you are filing only for an interior alteration, be sure to use the standardized coversheet and take advantage of the minimum submission checklist on the Tenant Layout publication.

Parking

The Zoning Ordinance includes minimum required parking rates for every type of use, which are reflected on the parking rate table. If your proposed use has a parking requirement which exceeds the parking requirement for the prior use of the tenant space, you may be required to submit a parking tabulation.

This tabulation must show that adequate parking exists for each tenant in the building, or on the parcel of land (if multiple buildings were established on a single plan), assuming maximum occupancy of all uses. Parking tabulations (except those in the Tysons Urban Center) are processed by the Site Application Center, Land Development Services.  

Non-Residential Use/Occupancy Permit aka “Non-RUP”

Each commercial tenant needs a Non-Residential Use/Occupancy Permit before you can occupy space. This permit, issued by the Zoning Permit Review Branch, is issued only after staff has verified the zoning, building classification and adequacy of parking for each tenant. Non-RUPs are not transferrable and terminate when a tenant leaves the space.

You must apply for a Non-RUP in person at the Zoning Permit Review Branch (12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 250). In most cases, a Non-RUP will be issued while you wait.

Sign Permits

A separate sign permit application is required to be submitted and approved for each proposed free-standing and/or building-mounted sign prior to installation. Depending on the sign, building permits and/or electrical review may be required.

Sign applications must be submitted in person to the Zoning Inspections Branch, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 829, Fairfax, VA 22035. It is in your best interest to wait until you have the sign permits approved before you order your signage.

Starting a Business Step 1: Plan & Research

Do your research, write a business plan and determine what resources may be available to you.

Research

Business Plan

Additional Business Resources

Visit these other resources to help you start, open or grow your business:

Economic Development Authority (EDA)

Department of Procurement and Materials Management

Community Business Partnership 

Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity

Virginia Small Business Development Center

Fairfax Virtual Assistant