Richmond VA > Planning and Development Review > Zoning Division

Last Updated: 2010-05-05

The Zoning Administration Division provides a variety of functions related to permitting and planning services. Every parcel within the city has a zoning designation that governs its use. These uses are defined in the official zoning ordinance supported by the official zoning map. Zoning staff review permits to promote the orderly development of every parcel within the city as it relates to the individual use of the property.

Zoning staff is responsible for enforcing the zoning ordinance primarily through the review of building permits, sign permits, and Certificate of Occupancy applications.

Zoning staff reviews and issues Certificate of Zoning Compliance (CZC) applications and researches and responds to Zoning Confirmation Letter requests and any Request for Letter of Zoning Confirmation - Buildable Lot/Lot Split Validation.

When certain conditions of the zoning ordinance are not or cannot be met, such as front or side yards (setbacks), required parking, use of a structure or other features of properties, Zoning staff coordinates the Administrative Variance process or coordinates and prepares necessary documentation for monthly Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) meeting agendas for Variances, Special Exceptions and appeals of a decision of the Zoning Administrator.

Projects that require review and approval by either the Commission of Architectural Review (CAR), City Planning Commission (CPC), or Urban Design Committee (UDC) may also require concurrent zoning approval.

Complaints and concerns from the public, city Administration and City Council related to potential zoning violations are investigated by zoning staff. Code enforcement issues include

  • the illegal use or density of property
  • operation of businesses without required permits
  • fences that are too high
  • auto repair operations
  • unscreened dumpsters
  • illegal or excessive signage
  • parking of commercial vehicles in residentially-zoned areas

The staff takes appropriate actions to obtain voluntary compliance with the zoning regulations or, if necessary, initiates court proceedings to force compliance.

Possible violations of the Zoning Ordinance can be reported to the Zoning Administrator. Learn how to file a zoning violation using the automated Citizens' Request System. Providing a numbered street address of the property and information on the nature of the violation would assist in the review. Personal information does not need to be provided.

Zoning related brochures and documents

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