Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Zoning Permits

Zoning Permit FAQ’s

What is a Zoning Permit for?

A zoning permit is required for the erection, construction, reconstruction, moving, adding to, enlargement or alteration of any structure, or the establishment of any land use permitted by right under the provisions of the Isle of Wight County Zoning Ordinance.

What is the difference between a Zoning Permit and Building Permit?

A zoning permit is considered the first step in the construction process.  Staff reviews plans to ensure compliance with things such as setbacks, zoning, land use, and environmental regulations. Zoning permit approval is required prior to applying for a building permit. The building permit is handled through Central Permitting. Review is coordinated with the Building Inspections Department Staff who is responsible for the enforcement of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. The primary goal of the Building Code is to ensure the safety and welfare of the citizens of the County.

What is required to obtain a Zoning Permit?

In order to obtain a Zoning Permit you must submit a completed Zoning Permit Application and a site plan showing the following:

  1. Property owners name and address.
  2. Tax Map number.
  3. Boundaries of the parcel.
  4. Setbacks from property lines and street right of way.
  5. Placement and dimensions of all existing and proposed structures, and other impervious surfaces, which means a surface composed of any material that significantly impedes or prevents natural infiltration of water into the soil.  Examples include, roofs, buildings, streets, parking areas, and any concrete, asphalt, or compacted gravel surface.
  6. Location of septic tank, drain field, and well(if applicable).
  7. Size and Location of proposed structure.
  8. Total percentage of impervious coverage.
  • Where can I find the Zoning of my property?

The Zoning of your property can be identified using the County’s Online GIS Property Map.

  • Where can I learn what the permitted uses are for my property?

Permitted uses are determined by the zoning of your property.  Article IV of the Zoning Ordinance lists the permitted uses as well as conditional uses for each Zoning District.

  • Where can I find out what the setbacks are for my property?

Once you have determined your property’s zoning you can review the setbacks in Article IV of the Zoning Ordinance, or by calling Central Permitting Staff at (757)365-6211 with the address for the property in question.  If there is no assigned address, provide the Tax Map Number and staff can look up the property.

  • Where can I find a plat of my property?

Official survey plats are required to obtain most zoning permits.  The Planning and Zoning Department does not keep a recorded plat on file.  If you are unable to obtain a plat from the current property owner (normally produced with the property deed or land title) here are several options:

1) In some cases, financial institutions require the recordation of a property survey along with the deed upon closing.  Individual plats may be available in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court at (757) 365-6233.

2) If any zoning permits have been obtained for additions, decks, pools, and/or accessory structures in the past three years, our office can assist you in find the permit number.

  • Can I run a business from my home?

Running a business from your home is considered a home occupation.  There is a Type I and a Type II home occupation and they are based on your zoning classification. Section 5-5002.H states the permitted uses for each home occupation as well as general standards.  A citizen must complete a home occupation application and receive a zoning permit prior to applying for a business license.

*If you do not own the property you must have permission in writing from the property owner prior to issuance of a zoning permit.

Home Occupation Application

  • Does a fence require a zoning permit?

Yes. Fences require a permit unless they are erected for agricultural purposes. A site plan showing the location, size and type of fence should be submitted along with a Zoning Permit Application . If your property is located in a homeowners association written approval from the association is required prior to issuance of a zoning permit. Information on fence requirements can be found in Section  5-2000(G)

  • Is a zoning permit required for a shed, carports etc.?

Yes. All accessory structures require a zoning permit.

  • Is a zoning permit required to erect an agricultural structure?

Yes, agricultural structures are required to meet the minimum zoning setbacks for the district in which they will be constructed. Therefore, a zoning permit application and site plan is required.

  • When is a Health Department Site Improvement Form Needed?

A Health Department Site Improvement Form is needed when an addition is being added to a structure which changes its occupancy such as a bedroom addition to a house. It can also be needed if the use of a structure is changing in order to verify that the users of the structure have adequate facilities.

  • When is a Health Department Chesapeake Bay Form Needed?

A Health Department Chesapeake Bay Form is needed in order to determine if a reserve drainfield is required for the septic system on the property. Lots which are created after the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Ordinance went into effect are required to have a second drainfield identified a s a reserve in case the primary drainfield has issues functioning properly in the future.

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