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 their 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 participated in reviewing these revisions and input was sought from other County staff and citizen stakeholders throughout the process.

Public Engagement

After a four-year in-depth review, staff is excited to present the draft to the public in the form of public open houses and an online engagement platform. If you did not attend a public open house session (held during November 2022), please go to the online engagement platform to learn more about the changes proposed and provide your input prior to public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Staff is always available to speak with anyone about specific zoning districts, uses, and/or regulations that most interest them. If you have any questions regarding the changes, please contact Carol Rizzio or Anne Ducey-Ortiz at 804-693-1224. We appreciate and look forward to your input!

Process Overview

Prior to more recent public engagement efforts (specifically the public open houses and establishment of the online engagement platform), the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, and staff began the Zoning Ordinance update in 2017. The update included review of all permitted uses, definitions, district regulations, and supplemental use regulations, among other components. Input was obtained from these groups through weekly meetings with the entire Department of Planning and Zoning, the Planning Commission’s monthly meetings, and quarterly joint meetings with the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission. Staff presentations to these bodies and draft versions of each completed section are available in the sections below.

Phase 2 of the update 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 or Planning Commission as to the necessary revisions. 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 zoning district 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.


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 SessionNovember 9, 2020Supplemental Regulations for Uses
May 2021 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionMay 11, 2021Open Space Buffers & HCDD
August 2021 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionAugust 10, 2021Zoning Ordinance (Working Draft) & Next Steps
November 2021 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionNovember 9, 2021Zoning Ordinance (Working Draft)
May 2022 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionMay 10, 2022Zoning Ordinance (Working Draft): General Items & Home Occupations
August 2022 BOS-PC Joint Work SessionAugust 9, 2022Zoning Ordinance (Working Draft): General Items & Freight Containers

District Summary Sheet- Normal

Draft Documents

Ordinance SectionDraft Document
Full Draft Zoning OrdinanceFull Draft Zoning Ordinance
District Regulations Summary TableDraft District Regulations Summary Table 
Article 2- DefinitionsDraft Article 2
Article 5- Use TableDraft Article 5
Article 9- Supplemental RegulationDraft Article 9
RC-1 (Rural Countryside) District RegulationsDraft RC-1 District Regulations
RC-2 (Rural Conservation) District RegulationsDraft RC-2 District Regulations
C-1 (Conservation) District RegulationsDraft C-1 District Regulations
C-2 (Bayside Conservation) District RegulationsDraft C-2 District Regulations
SC-1 (Suburban Countryside) District RegulationsDraft SC-1 District Regulations
SF-1 (Single Family) District RegulationsDraft SF-1 District Regulations
MF-1 (Multi Family) District RegulationsDraft MF-1 District Regulations
MH-1 (Manufactured Home Park) District RegulationsDraft MH-1 District Regulations
B-1 (General Business) District RegulationsDraft B-1 District Regulations
B-2 (Village Mixed Use Business) District RegulationsDraft B-2 District Regulations
B-4 (Rural Business) District RegulationsDraft B-4 District Regulations
I-1 (Industrial) District RegulationsDraft I-1 District Regulations

Existing Zoning Map

Existing Zoning Map 11-28-2022