City of Alexandria, VA
There are two (2) types of applications that are subject to the Development Review Process: Development Site Plans (DSP) and Development Special Use Permits (DSUP). Generally, proposed developments with three (3) or more dwelling units and/or larger than 3,000 square feet must obtain approval of a site plan before a building permit can be issued (see Section 11-400 for complete list of development requiring site plan approval). DSPs are approved or denied by the Planning Commission at a regularly scheduled meeting.
Often development proposals include uses or additional height and/or floor area that require special consideration and additional review. In these cases, the development must obtain a Development Special Use Permit in addition to the site plan. The Planning Commission hears requests for DSUPs at a public hearing and forwards a recommendation to the City Council. The City Council also hears the request at a public hearing and approves or denies the DSUP.
The development review process is comprised of five key phases which begin after some intial contact and discussion with Development staff.
Phase 1 – Concept Site Plan Review: The development review process begins with a conceptual site plan or design scheme proposed by the applicant. The City works with the applicant to ensure the project meets basic land use requirements and major issues are generally identified and discussed. During this time, the City and applicant may also present the proposal to local civic associations in the vicinity of the proposed development.
Phase 2 – Preliminary Site Plan Review: Once the City has reviewed the applicant’s proposal presented in Phase 1, the applicant submits an official application that is more detailed for staff review. After staff determines that the application is complete, the development proposal then goes before the Planning Commission and City Council (DSUP only) for approval or denial.
Phase 3 – Final Site Plan Review: After the Planning Commission and/or City Council have approved the development proposal, the Final Site Plan Review phase begins. In this phase, the applicant submits a more detailed site plan that is consistent with the conditions of approval that were approved at the public hearing. This phase continues until the City is satisfied the Final Site Plan has met all conditions. Once approved and released, this site plan will act as the official site plan to be submitted with all building permits and used for site construction.
Phase 4 – Building Permit and Certificate of Occupancy: When the Final Site Plan has been approved, the applicant can then apply for building permits and begin construction. At various points during this phase, the applicant will be required to submit surveys to verify compliance with the approved site plan. Once completed and approved by the City, a Certificate of Occupancy is issued and the applicant may occupy the structure.
Phase 5 – As-Built Site Plan Review: When the project has been completed, the applicant will submit an as-built site plan to the City. The City will review the physical conditions of the site against the as-built plans and the approved Final Site Plan to ensure that the applicant has conducted the sitework as approved. After construction has been completed and the Certificate of Occupancy has been issued, the applicant may request the Performance Bond issued prior to construction be reduced or released. Once the Performance Bond is released, a Maintenance Bond is required for a minimum of one year.