Zoning Ordinance Update

The County is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Zoning Ordinance (Appendix B of the County Code). This review includes consolidation of similar districts, updating the uses permitted in each district, and modification of the supplemental regulations associated with certain uses, among other revisions. The update will incorporate revisions based on changes to the State Code, Board initiatives as outlined in the Strategic Planning effort, recommendations from the Business Development Focus Group, as well as recommendations identified in the County’s Comprehensive Plan and by staff as part of their daily interactions with the public. The County’s Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission participate in reviewing these revisions and additional input is being sought by other relevant County staff and citizen stakeholders throughout the process. See the Zoning Ordinance Update Gantt Chart  for progress to date.

Process

With the support of the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission, staff began the Zoning Ordinance update in 2017. The update includes review of all permitted uses, definitions, district regulations, and supplemental use regulations, among other components. Input from the entire Department of Planning and Zoning through weekly meetings, the Planning Commission at their regular monthly meetings, and the Board of Supervisors through joint meetings with the Planning Commission is being obtained. Staff presentations to these bodies and draft versions of each completed section are available in the sections below. Prior to finalization of these sections, staff will seek input from a citizen/stakeholder focus group. Please contact us if you are interested in providing input.

The update also includes revisions to the specifications for administrative bodies, administrative procedures, enforcement, and other relevant sections. These reviews will proceed through a similar process as the previous reviews, including Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission review as well as input from County staff and citizen stakeholders.

Prior to adoption of any Zoning Ordinance changes, a public hearing is required to be held by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. The Planning Commission is advisory and makes their recommendation to the Board based on their review and input from the Public Hearing. The Commission can hold multiple Public Hearings on the ordinance if they make substantial changes from what was advertised or to get additional input on any changes. Once the Commission is prepared to forward the revised ordinance to the Board, they will do so at the Public Hearing or a subsequent meeting with a recommendation for approval or denial with proposed additional modifications. The Board of Supervisors will hold a separate Public Hearing and vote to approve the proposed ordinance (with or without modifications) or deny the proposed ordinance with specifications for departmental staff as to the necessary revisions or back to the Planning Commission. Should substantive revisions be determined necessary by the Board, the updated proposed ordinance will proceed through the Public Hearing process before the Planning Commission and Board prior to a second vote to approve or deny the ordinance. Upon approval of the final version, documents to assist the public may be prepared and provided on the Department of Planning and Zoning’s website.

Overview of Changes

The Board’s adopted Strategic Plan included the following Planning Goals:

  • Thriving Economy:
    • Priority 3: In-depth review of County ordinances to eliminate or reduce regulations that inhibit or delay business growth.
  • Housing and Land Use:
    • Priority 2: Enhance mixed use, multifamily and senior living development sites by: reviewing ordinances that would contribute/promote desired development.
    • Priority 3: Continue to offer land use advantages to farmers and timber farmers to preserve the County’s rural atmosphere.
  • Governance:
    • Priority 3: Develop a plan and strategy for periodic review and revision of County ordinances by department to bring recommendations for change to the Board (including those that restrict residential owners).

In addition, the Economic Development Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan (2016) provided the following implementation strategies (among others) for Economic Development:

  • Review ordinances to ensure they support and promote economic opportunities.
  • Regularly evaluate existing processes for improvement.
  • Support industries that are culturally and historically significant, such as agriculture, forestry, and water-based occupations, and revise current ordinances to ensure the continuance of these uses.
  • Work to mitigate conflicts between business development adjacent to residential areas during the review process.

As a result, the changes to the ordinance generally allow more flexibility for property owners in all districts, agricultural, residential and commercial, to use their land. Uses may be allowed “by-right” meaning that the use would be permitted under zoning by administrative review and approval of a zoning permit and/or commercial site plan. Other uses may be subject to a Special Exception (SE) by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) or a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) reviewed by the Planning Commission (PC) and approved by Board of Supervisors (BOS). Special Exceptions and Conditional Use Permits require notification of adjoining property owners and Public Hearings prior to approval and these uses are not necessarily guaranteed to be permitted on a specific property.

We encourage you to know what district your property is zoned and to review the uses proposed as well as the supplemental regulations related to those uses so that you can provide input to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors about the proposed changes. You can use the County’s GIS website or call our office at 804-693-1224 to learn what zone your property lies within.

Presentations and Draft Documents

The tables below contain presentations from the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission Joint Meetings as well as completed draft versions of sections within the Zoning Ordinance. Others will be added as available.

Presentations

July 2018 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionJuly 31, 2018Schedule, Format, Districts, & Uses
February 2019 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionFebruary 12, 2019Districts & Definitions
May 2019 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionMay 14, 2019Districts & Definitions
August 2019 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionAugust 13, 2019Supplemental Regulations for Uses
November 2019 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionNovember 12, 2019Supplemental Regulations for Uses
February 2020 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionFebruary 11, 2020Supplemental Regulations for Uses
August 2020 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionAugust 13, 2020Supplemental Regulations for Uses
November 2020 BOS-PC Joint Work Session
November 9, 2020Supplemental Regulations for Uses


Draft Documents

Ordinance SectionDraft Document
Article 2- DefinitionsDraft Article 2
Article 4- Establishment of DistrictsDraft Article 4
Article 5- Table of Permitted UsesDraft Article 5 (Table)
Article 5- District Regulations (Agriculture)Draft Article 5 (Agriculture)
Article 5- District Regulations (Business)Draft Article 5 (Business)
Article 5- District Regulations (Conservation)Draft Article 5 (Conservation)
Article 5- District Regulations (Industrial)Draft Article 5 (Industrial)
Article 5- District Regulations (Mixed Use)Draft Article 5 (Mixed Use)
Article 5- District Regulations (Residential)Draft Article 5 (Residential)
Article 9- Supplementary Regulations (Agriculture)Draft Article 9 (Agriculture)
Article 9- Supplementary Regulations (Civic & Institutional)
Draft Article 9 (Civic & Institutional)
Article 9- Supplementary Regulations (Residential)
Draft Article 9 (Residential)


Existing Zoning Map

Existing Zoning Map