Zoning Permits Section

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday - Friday. Check the DPD Operating Status webpage for more information.

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 250
Fairfax, VA 22035

Leslie Johnson,
Zoning Administrator

Zoning Related Permits

Zoning related permits issued by the Department of Planning and Development are listed below:

Accessory Living Unit (Administrative Permit)

An accessory living unit is a secondary dwelling unit established in conjunction with and clearly subordinate to a single-family detached dwelling unit. These living spaces include areas for eating, sleeping, living, and sanitation. Accessory living units within the principal dwelling (not in a detached structure) and that meet all of the applicable standards, including access and entrances, size, and parking, may apply for approval through an administrative permit.

Agritourism (Tier 4 Administrative Permit)

Tier 4 agritourism activities that exceed 350 total attendees per day may be permitted by administrative permit, subject to the following requirements:

(a) More than 350 attendees are permitted per day for no more than 150 days per year;

(b) An administrative permit is valid for a period of two years and may be renewed on a five-year basis with approval of the Zoning Administrator. Any subsequent expansion or change of permit holder of the Tier 4 agritourism administrative permit may require submission of a new permit application as determined by the Zoning Administrator;

(c) A description of sanitary arrangements and facilities to be used by the public and employees must be submitted with the application; and

(d) A transportation management and parking plan must be submitted with the application. The plan must demonstrate that adequate parking is provided on-site, detail how attendees will enter and exit the property, and include measures that will be taken to prevent traffic stacking on the public right-of-way.

Food Trucks

Food Trucks are any readily movable mobile food service establishment, to include vehicles that are self-propelled, pushed or pulled to a specific location. Food Truck Location Permits and Occupation Permits are issued by the Department of Planning and Development, Zoning Administration Division.

Home-Based Business

A home-based business is an occupation, profession, or trade that is conducted by a resident of the dwelling unit and is clearly incidental and subordinate to the residential purpose of the dwelling unit. Examples of home-based businesses include home offices, music lessons, art studios, home crafts, and home-based food production.

Limited Riding or Boarding Stable

All limited riding and boarding stables are subject to the following use-specific standards per Article 4 of the Zoning Ordinance:

(1) On lots containing two to less than five acres, up to five horses may be boarded, and on lots containing five or more acres, up to eight horses may be boarded. Boarding of horses in excess of these numbers is deemed a riding or boarding stable and requires special exception or special permit approval.

Noise Waiver

The Noise Ordinance (Chapter 108.1 of the County Code) regulates noise sources by prohibiting certain activities at night, by exempting certain activities from the Noise Ordinance altogether, or by subjecting certain noise sources to a maximum decibel level. Per Section 108.1-6-1 – Waivers, any person responsible for any noise source may apply to the Zoning Administrator for a waiver or partial waiver from these provisions. 


In accordance with Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance, occupancy, use of a structure or premises, or a change in use are not permitted until a Nonresidential Use Permit has been approved. A Nonresidential Use Permit is required to approve both the initial and continued occupancy and use of the structure or land to which it applies. 

Short-Term Lodging

Short-term lodging (STL), also known as short-term rental (STR), is any occupancy of a dwelling for a period of less than thirty days.  Prior to the adoption of the Short-Term Lodging Amendment, the Zoning Ordinance did not permit such uses in any dwelling unit.  The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted the Short-Term Lodging Zoning Ordinance Amendment on July 31, 2018. 

Sign Permits

The Zoning Permits Branch, Sign Permits Section (ZPB/SPS), among other duties, accepts and reviews sign permit applications for compliance with the sign regulations of the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance Article 12 and Chapter 10 of the Code of the County of Fairfax and issues sign permits for the installation of signs to be installed on private property located in Fairfax County.

Temporary Outdoor Uses & Activities

Temporary outdoor uses and activities may require an Administrative Permit and a Nonresidential Use Permit. An AP may be required for certain temporary outdoor uses and activities pursuant to Article 4 of the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance. 

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