How do I make a complaint?
Complaints are received by phone, walk-in or email. Please contact the Zoning Department at (540) 658-8668. Please note that all complaints are confidential. Once a violation has been identified and an investigation is being performed Stafford County Zoning Office is the complainant.
What is a Zoning Determination?
A Zoning Determination is provided on an application form requesting a determination from the Zoning Administrator as described in Section 28-295 of the Zoning Ordinance. Zoning Ordinance Section 28-295
My neighbor's yard is a littered and unkept. What can I do?
Contact the Zoning Department at (540) 658-8668 to report the address or location of concern.
When should I make a complaint about tall grass involving a property in my neighborhood?
Grass over 12 inches tall for an occupied residence (up to a 1/2 acre in size, is required to be cut). Grass over 6 inches for un-occupied or vacant property require remediation. Once a violation is identified notice will be sent providing 10 days for cutting. On the 11th day a compliance inspection is performed. If the violation has not been abated, the grass will be scheduled for cutting by the County’s grass remediation contractor and billed to the property owner. Chapter 24-17 - 20
How do I report noisy neighbors?
The Sheriff’s department (540) 658-4400 Non-Emergency Number. County Code Chapter 16 defines noise regulations.
What is a "Setback" and what are mine?
A setback is the line on a lot, parallel or symmetric to a lot line, located a sufficient distance there from to provide the minimum yards required by this chapter. Each Zoning District has defined setbacks for each lot as outlined in the Zoning Ordinance Section 28-35. To identify your zoning district please use the Zoning Map to locate your property and Zoning District or call (540) 658-8668. The link below will provide you access to the interactive maps through GIS. Please provide your parcel address or your tax map identification to locate your property.
What is a commercial vehicle?
Zoning Ordinance Section 28-25.-Definitions of specific terms. Vehicle, commercial; Any truck-tractor, trailer, semi-trailer, garbage truck, dump truck, cement truck, or similar vehicles or equipment with any gross weight; or any vehicle with a gross weight of more than ten thousand five hundred (10,500) pounds which is not owned, leased, or operated by the occupant of the property at which it is parked.
Do I need a permit for a shed or a detached garage? How big can it be?
Yes, a permit would be required for any structure being built within the County. Please fill out a residential change application and submit to the community development service center.
Zoning Ordnance Section 28-38 (c) No accessory building or structure shall be located within ten (10) feet of any property line on any lot greater than one acre; no accessory building or structure shall be located within five (5) ft of any property line on any lot of one acre or less; no accessory building and/or structure, except for walls, fences and signs shall be located in any front yard or street facing side yard. Zoning Ordinance Section 28-38 - Performance Regulations (c).
Zoning Ordinance Section 28-25 Definition of Accessory use, building/structures/ A use, building or structured that is subordinate in area, extent and purpose to a principle use or structure.
What's required to build an addition or deck?
You would be required to complete a residential change application and submit it to the community development service center. An attached addition will be required to meet the house setbacks in accordance with your Zoning District as outlined in Zoning Ordinance Section 28-35 table of uses and standards. Please visit the online GIS Interactive Maps to identify your Zoning District of your property and then utilize the online Zoning Ordinance to access the setback requirements for your Zoning District.
Can I make an apartment for my parents at my home?
Yes, this is considered an accessory dwelling in accordance with Zoning Ordinance Section 28-25 Definitions, Dwelling, accessory; An ancillary dwelling unit limited to such uses as a family member apartment, guest house (for occasional visits by family or friends), or maids quarters and shall conform to the following:
- An accessory dwelling shall not exceed twenty-five (25) percent of the total gross floor area of the principle dwelling unit.
- There shall be no more than one accessory dwelling per lot.
- When an accessory building is located in the principal dwelling, the entry to the unit and its design shall be such that the appearance of the building shall remain as a single family residence.
- An accessory dwelling shall have the same address as the principal dwelling.
- This term shall not include carriage house.
- An approved Accessory Dwelling affidavit and Residential Change Permit are required prior to work being done. After approval and all inspections a certificate of occupancy permit is needed for legal use.
Can I operate a daycare in my home?
Zoning Ordinance Section 28-25 Definitions, defines two types of family daycare uses.
- Family daycare home, group; A residence where child care is proved for more than five (5), but fewer than twelve (12) children under the age of thirteen (13), exclusive of the providers own children and any children that reside in the home as residential occupancy by a single family and which is subject to state licensing on a paid basis. Please Contact Social Service in Richmond for licensing, www.dss.virginia.gov apply to Stafford County using the Home Daycare application located within the Building Department Page, Forms and Checklist .
- Family daycare home, small; an activity carried on by an occupant of a residence as an accessory use, in which childcare is provided for five (5) or fewer children under the age of thirteen (13), exclusive of the providers own children and any who reside in the home as residential occupancy by a single family on a paid basis.
Opening an Auto Sales Business:
Permitted with a Conditional Use Permit in the B2 Urban Commercial, M1 Light Industrial and M2 Heavy Industrial Zoning Districts.
Zoning Ordinance Section 28-35 General District Uses & Standards lists such use as; Motor Vehicle Sales, For additional information please contact the Zoning Department at (540) 658-8668.
What is RPA or CRPA?
RPA is an acronym for Resource Protection Area an CRPA is Critical Resource Protection Area. Both consist of:
- Tidal wetlands;
- Non-tidal wetlands connected by surface flow and contiguous to tidal wetlands or water bodies with perennial flow;
- Tidal Shores;
- A one hundred-foot vegetated buffer area located adjacent to and landward of the components listed in subsection 1-3 of this section, and is along both sides of any water bodies with perennial flow. For further information, please refer to Chapter 27B Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area or call Development Services Environmental Division (540) 658-8830.
What is an easement and how close can I build to it?
An easement is an interest of land that is in the possession of another, which permits a limited use of the land. No building or structure shall be permitted within any public easement of right of way without written consent by the holder of the easement or right of way. For more information call the Planning and Zoning Department at 540-658-8668.
Will Stafford County take down my neighbors dead tree?
Stafford County has no authority to remove trees from private property. This would be a civil matter between the property owners.
Are there permit, height or location requirements for fences?
A fence does not require a permit but does have height restrictions. The fence must be located on your property and out of any type of easement unless the easement holder grants permission of construction in writing. Please see: Stafford County Zoning Ordinance Section 28-39 (a); Fences, walls and hedges.
- A fence affidavit is required for fences. Fence Affidavit
What are the requirements for installing a pool?
Above ground or in ground pools are considered accessory structures and must meet the minimum setback for your property. Please complete the residential change application and refer to the Pool, Spa, Hot Tub Requirements.
Can I put up a Yard Sale Sign?
Yes, however, no sign shall be located within the VDOT Right of Way, on utility poles, traffic signs, attached to vegetation. Please reference Zoning Ordinance Section 28-121 through 131 for sign regulations. Please remove the signs immediately following the event.
How can I find the zoning of my property?
Click on GIS Interactive Mapping and enter your address. Be sure to have Zoning selected under the table of contents on the layers tab. Click here for a list of zoning definitions.
What are the regulations for keeping chickens at my house?
Chickens are permitted in our Agricultural Zoning Districts as a permitted agricultural use. If you live in another zoning district please contact the Planning and Zoning Department at 540-658-8668.
Can I keep bee hives at my house?
Bee hives are permitted in our Agricultural Zoning Districts as a permitted agricultural use. In R-1 Suburban Residential District bee hives are permitted in accordance with Apiary Regulations and a completed application.
Where can I find a plat of my property?
Please contact Land Records at 540.658.8752.
What are the regulations for home-based businesses?
Stafford County has four categories of Home Based Businesses. Please refer to the zoning permit application page for more information.
Where can I find commercial sign requirements?
Please see Stafford County's Sign Ordinance.
What type of approval is needed to host events?
Please call the Zoning office for specific information. 540-658-8668.
How many inoperable or junk vehicles are allowed on a poperty?
Please contact Zoning Enforcement at 540-658-8668.
I'd like to subdivide my land. What are the requirements?
Please contact the Planning Department and ask to speak to the Planner on Duty. 540-658-8668.
I'm interested in opening a Kennel/Doggy Day Care. What are the requirements?
When do I need a zoning permit?
Zoning permits are required for all uses, primary and accessory structures. Refer to the main Zoning Page for zoning applications. Zoning Ordinance Section 28-182 for more information concerning zoning permits.