Land Use and Zoning
Zoning for Housing/Housing for All
Small Business Zoning
Accessory Dwelling Units
Small Cell Wireless Facilities
Retail Wayfinding for King Street
Information for Small Businesses
Do you need a plat of your property? The City does not keep individual property plats on record. A plat is usually included with your deed at settlement when you purchase the property. You can contact your settlement company or have the property re-surveyed.
Zoning Inspections and Violations
Want to report a zoning violation? Please use Alex 311 to report a compliant and schedule an inspection. An Affadavit Statement of Zoning Violation form can be found on our applications page.
Board of Zoning Appeals
The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) hears requests for variances, special exceptions and appeals. The BZA holds monthly public hearings in the City Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd floor of City Hall.
Special Use Permits
What is a Special Use Permit and do I need one?
Uses listed in the Zoning Ordinance as Special Uses require either an administrative or public hearing Special Use Permit (SUP) before they can be established.
Typically, an SUP is required for businesses such as restaurants, beauty salons, fitness studios, auto repair, child care centers, dry cleaners, or other businesses that need special review because they have the potential to create noise, odors, fumes, pollution or significant parking impacts. The process is designed to ensure that potentially affected neighbors are informed of and provided an opportunity to comment on the proposed business. The zoning of the subject property determines uses that are permitted with an SUP. To view the zoning, go to the GIS Parcel Viewer. To view the permitted uses (with or without an SUP) go to the Zoning Ordinance. You may also call Planning and Zoning staff for assistance in determining if an SUP is required.
If your business does require an SUP, an application checklist with the application must be completed detailing how the business will operate. Applicants must also provide written notice to nearby property owners. Instructions can be found under Applications on this page. Applications are heard at two public hearings: one before the Planning Commission, which makes a recommendation of denial or approval to the City Council, followed by one before the City Council. The City Council makes the final decision. Generally, it takes up to two or three months to review and process an SUP application to the public hearings.
Before any construction or utility work can be done at your new business location, you must obtain the necessary permits for the work. A variety of permits exist for the different types of work including construction, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and sign permits. In addition, if there is a sprinkler system in the building, a fire protection system permit may be required. Contact the Permit Center to determine the permits you will need.
Find a Special Use Permit
The GIS Document Imaging Viewer is an interactive map that allows users to browse land related documents stored in the City of Alexandria's Document Imaging System by location. Use this took to find a Special Use Permit (SUP) by SUP#, address, parcel number, intersection or general location.
Searches are currently limited to SUP documents that have been incorporated into the system and subdivision plats on file with ITS. These documents include the vast majority of SUPs issued since first required in 1950, and plats for subdivisions since1955. Current SUPs and plats are incorporated into the system on an ongoing basis. Note that subdivision plats on file are generally those that have been required by the City during a subdivision process. The City does not keep individual property plats on record. A plat is usually included with your deed at settlement when you purchase the property. You can contact your settlement company or have the property re-surveyed.
Locate By SUP Number
SUP numbers are in one of the following formats:
|1950 - 1993||SUPnnnn||SUP2122|
|1994 - 1999||SUPyy-nnnnn||SUP95-00124|
|2000 - Present||SUPyyyy-nnnnn||SUP2002-00054|
|Enter the SUP number:|
Frequently Asked Questions
Property Development / Home Improvement / Fences / Sheds
- I want to redevelop my property. Can I do it?
A property may be developed (or redeveloped) according to zoning ordinance regulations, which govern issues such as land use, property area, height, square footage, building setbacks, and parking, and other regulations. Each development proposed must comply with zoning ordinance regulations for the zone in which the property is located. A property may be redeveloped “by-right” (in compliance with zoning ordinance regulations), or a property may be developed with modifications or variances requesting relief from zoning ordinance requirements. Check the Zoning Ordinance.
- What is my property zoned?
In order to get zoning and map information for your parcel (in addition to numerous other categories of information), you can access the GIS Parcel Viewer and enter your address. You can view the Zoning Ordinance for specific zoning regulations.
- Where can I get a plat of my property?
The Department of Planning and Zoning does not keep individual property plats on record. A plat is usually included with your deed at settlement when you purchase the property. You can contact your settlement company or have the property re-surveyed..
- What are the regulations for:
- Building a new addition to my house? You may want to begin by calling the Permit Center to discuss your proposed addition and the applicable zoning classification of the property and the required setbacks, height, open space and floor area ratio. To determine the zoning of your property online, go to our GIS Parcel Viewer. You need to complete and submit the Floor Area and Open Space Computations Form along with a copy of your Plat to P&Z. You will also need to contact the Code Enforcement Bureau to fulfill their permit requirements.
- Building a shed? Please consult Section 7-202(B)(4) of the Zoning Ordinance as well as the Department of Code Administration. In general, a building permit is not required for a shed less than 250 square feet. Sheds that are 65 square feet (for semi-detached homes and townhouses) and 100 square feet (for single-family homes) may be built up to the side and rear property lines. Larger sheds must comply with the applicable setback and open space requirements as delineated in the Zoning Ordinance. BAR approval is required for sheds built in the Historic Districts. Please call 703-746-4333 for additional guidance.
- Putting up a new fence? Please consult the following sections of the Zoning Ordinance or call the Permit Center for additional assistance at 703.746.4333. Board of Architectural Review approval is required for fences built in the Historic Districts. Please call 703.746.3833 for additional guidance.
- Finishing my basement? In general, yes. However, there are some restrictions you’ll need to consider. Please contact the Permit Center (703.746.4333) and the Department of Code Administration (703.746.4200) to discuss.
- Do I need zoning approval for my new business?
Yes. Depending on the type of business you are establishing and your location, there are different types of approvals needed. These may include zoning review, a special use permit, Board of Architectural Review approval or a sign permit. The Department of Planning and Zoning handles all of these reviews and approvals.
- How do I file a complaint or request a zoning inspection?
Please use Alex 311 to report a compliant and schedule an inspection.
- How do I know if my type of business if permitted in a particular location?
A planner at the Permit Center in City Hall will assist you in determining if your type of business is appropriate under the zoning code for the area in which you want to locate. Staff can also review with you any zoning conditions, parking requirements, or other types of approvals that may be required.
- Do I need a variance?
A resident must request a variance if a proposed alteration does not comply with the zoning regulations. In order to secure a variance, the resident must prove that compliance with the zoning regulation presents a legal hardship. Please discuss your situation with the Permit Center staff by calling 703.746.4333. You will need to fill out an application for a variance, pay a fee, provide written notice to adjoining and facing property owners, and attend a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing.
Additional Resources and Information
- Alexandria Economic Development Partnership
- City of Alexandria Business Tax Branch - business licenses and taxation
- Confederate Street Renaming Pilot Program Policy and Procedures
- Criteria for Rezoning without a Master Plan Study (Adopted by City Council 12/18/10)
- Glossary of Planning Terms
- Planning and Zoning Applications
- Street Naming and Renaming Policy - June 2020
Contact the Land Use Services Division of the Department of Planning and Zoning, 703.746.4333.