County Codes Enforcement

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County Code and Zoning Ordinance compliance activities are conducted by the County’s Code Enforcement Officer. To view and search the Isle of Wight County Code, please visit Municode.

If you would like to file a complaint for investigation, please include the specific location to be investigated (including street address and directions if possible) and your name, address, and phone number(s). All complaints are maintained as anonymous information within the Department and are protected from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. However,  we may be unable to follow up on the complaint if we have questions or can not find the location and you have not submitted your name and contact information with your complaint.

For questions, comments, or to submit a concern for investigation, please contact:

Bob Watkins, Code Enforcement Officer
(office) (757) 365-6306
(cell) (757) 650-8378


IOW County Code Complaint Form
IOW County Code Complaint Form
Complaint Form (July 2011).pdf
Version: July 2011 (PDF)
124.5 KiB


Commonly Asked Code Enforcement Questions

  •  When is a zoning permit required?

Per Zoning Ordinance Section 1-1013, 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…”

A zoning permit is required before a building permit or business license can be obtained.

For more specific information, please visit our Permits page, or call (757) 365-6211 to speak to a Planning and Zoning Technician.

  • What is the difference between a zoning permit and a building permit?

For more specific information, please visit our Permits page, or call (757) 365-6211 to speak to a Planning and Zoning Technician.

  • Do I need a permit for a fence/sign/shed/horse barn?

Yes, you need a zoning permit for all of the above.  Bonafide agricultural fences do not require permits, but one must obtain a waiver to ensure setback and height requirements are met. Fences for horses or barns are not considered bonafide agricultural uses.

  • My neighbor’s grass is really tall. Don’t they have to cut it?

Yes  they do. Chapter 8, Article II,  Section 8-3.B and C of the County Code requires the landowner to maintain the property and ensure grass, weeds, or other growth does not exceed twelve (12) inches high.

  • My neighbor still hasn’t cut their grass/cleaned their junk/moved their car. How long does the enforcement process take?

There is no set time frame.  Each case is different as it depends on factors such as severity of violations, amount of violations, and progress in rectifying each violation.

  • My neighbor has junk vehicles sitting in their yard. Don’t they have to move them?

Yes, Chapter 11,  Article I, Section 11-2.A of the County Code states that vehicles that are inoperable or vehicles which are not economically practical to operate must be in a fully enclosed structure.

  • My neighbor has trash/litter/scrap metal/junk in their yard. Don’t they have to clean it up?

Yes, Chapter 8, Article II, Section 8-3.A of the County Code states that the owner, agent, or lessee of the property is responsible for removing trash garbage, and other refuse from the property. Bona fide agricultural uses are exempt.

  • My neighbor built their shed/barn/garage right on the property line. Are they allowed to do that?

No, your neighbor must obtain a zoning permit through our office prior to the erection of any shed, barn, or garage.  The permit issued will state the approved setbacks for the structure.






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