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Building an Accessory Apartment

An accessory apartment is a Residential Use Type allowed on the same lot as a single-family detached dwelling or in a commercial use that is incidental/subordinate to the primary use. An accessory apartment is allowed as a permitted or conditional use in specific zoning districts, and the following shall apply:

  • An accessory apartment shall not be permitted on any lot which does not have one hundred percent (100%) of the minimum lot size requirement for the zoning district in which the use is located.
  • Only one accessory apartment may be located either in a primary dwelling unit or in an accessory structure on the same lot or parcel as the primary dwelling.
  • Only one accessory apartment is permitted per commercial use.
  • No more than two (2) bedroom are permitted in an accessory apartment.
  • Approval of water and sewage disposal shall be obtained form the Isle of Wight Count Health Department or the Department of Public Utilities.
  • The owner of the residential dwelling unit shall occupy at least one (1) of the dwelling units on the premises.
    • If an accessory apartment is in the primary dwelling, the apartment entry shall be located on the side or rear of the unit, and its design shall be such that the appearance of the dwelling will remain as a single-family residential structure. No accessory apartment shall be attached to a primary dwelling by open walkways, breezeways, patios, decks, etc.
    • The maximum floor area of an accessory apartment in a primary dwelling shall not exceed one thousand (1,000) square feet or thirty-five percent (35%) of the living area of the primary dwelling, excluding garages, breezeways, etc., whichever is less. The maximum floor area of an accessory apartment in an accessory building shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the floor area of the accessory building.
    • One (1) parking space shall be required in addition to the required parking for the primary dwelling.
  • A commercial accessory apartment may be located either above or attached to the rear of a commercial unit. In no case shall an accessory apartment be allowed in an accessory structure.
    • The maximum floor area of an accessory apartment located to the rear of a commercial unit shall not exceed thirty-five percent (35%) of the entire unit and shall not exceed fifty (50) percent of the entire unit if it is located above a commercial unit.
    • Parking for the apartment must be located to the rear or side of the commercial unit. Each apartment must be provided one and one-half (1.5) parking spaces in addition to what is required for the commercial use.
    • The entry to the apartment shall be located on the side or rear of the commercial unit, and the building design shall maintain its commercial character and appearance.
    • No accessory apartment shall be attached to a commercial unit by open walkways, breezeways, patios or decks.

Items needed for review:

  • Central Permitting application (which upon approval will allow you to clear and prep for construction)
    • First floor framing plan w/deck or porches included
    • Surveyed site plan (with all the information listed on the cover sheet of attached packet)
    • Address application
    • Responsible land disturber form
    • Site improvement form (if on private water/sewer)
    • Storm water plan review fee of $109.73
      • if area disturbed is 2,500 square feet or greater in the Chesapeake Bay Preservation area, 10,000 square feet or more if outside the preservation area
  • Residential construction application
    • 2 complete sets of construction drawings to include any engineered lumber spec sheets
      • or 1 complete PDF file, if emailing
    • Owner’s affidavit signed and notarized if a licensed contractor is not applying to do the work
    • Plan review fee of $150.00
    • All trades are permitted separately

**Please note, more information may be requested due to the type of project or location**

**Please contact your Homeowners Association (if applicable) prior to applying for a zoning permit. We do not enforce private covenants and restrictions**

Once all items are submitted we will place you into a 10 business day review. We will contact you once approved and verify what the following steps are.

If you have questions, please email planreview@iwus.net

Accessory Apartment Application Packet
You can submit applications and plans via email to planreview@iwus.net (Plans must be in one complete PDF file to submit digitally) or they can be submitted in our office between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm.

Our address is 17140 Monument Circle, Suite 100, Isle of Wight VA 23397. We are in Building B which is the 2-story brick building across from the Historic Boykins Tavern. Our office is on the right, through the double glass doors.

**Please take a moment to complete the short survey at the following link. This will assist us in making sure we provide the best service possible.

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