Last Updated: 2018-07-31

Richmond VA > Planning and Development Review > Zoning Division

Last Updated: 2020-03-20

City Of Richmond
** COVID-19 UPDATE - Please Read **

Corona Virus Update Regarding Permitting and Inspection Services
for the City of Richmond - March 20, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak the following changes to our Permitting and Inspections services will take effect on Monday, March 23rd. City Hall Room(s) 108 and 110 are closed to the public until further notice. We are attempting to make as many services available to you as possible while keeping the public and City staff safe from potential exposure.

Permitting and Plan Review:
Priority permit processing will be given to emergency permit applications pertaining to life safety and/or habitability concerns (e.g. water, sewer, power and gas) as well essential facilities applications. Plan review services will continue by staff at remote telework locations. Communications with customers will be handled via e-mail or telephone. Plans will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.

    Mail and Fax Services:

  • Drop off and fax related services are not available at this time. Mail-in services are limited to what can be sent via the United States Postal Service (USPS). We are not able to receive mail from UPS, FEDEx or Amazon until further notice. Any documents received by mail will be processed as staffing resources allow.

    Permits Requiring Plan Review:

    Permits Requiring Plan Review:

  • We will be utilizing Microsoft OneDrive to receive commercial applications and plans electronically. Other services accepted through OneDrive are permit extensions, cancellations, modifications, contractor changes, amendments to the scope of work, responses to plan review comments and post permit revisions. For information on how to register and use Microsoft OneDrive, click here.

Inspection:
Field inspections will resume for all unoccupied new commercial and residential construction projects. Inspections pertaining to life safety and/or habitability concerns (e.g. water, sewer, power and gas) as well as essential facilities will be given priority status. Inspections within occupied dwelling units are suspended until further notice. Please limit the number of contractors or site representatives meeting an inspector on a jobsite to one.

    Third Party Inspections:

  • Limited: Customers may use our limited 48-hour third party inspection services for individual inspections when the building official is unable to perform a scheduled inspection within two working days of a request or an agreed upon date or if authorized for other circumstances in the building official’s written policy. Third party inspections shall be requested, and the inspection reports submitted, in accordance with the City’s official policy. For more information contact david.alley@richmondgov.com for thirdpartyinspections@richmondgov.com
     
  • Full: Customers may use our third party program in part or in full to obtain third party inspection and plan review services. This option may be a good option for new projects should the COVID-19 outbreak continue long term. Please see: http://www.richmondgov.com/PlanningAndDevelopmentReview/ThirdPartyProgram.aspx

Property Maintenance/Code Enforcement (PMCE):
Citizens can continue to report code enforcement issue within their community by using RVA311 and inspections will be scheduled once the City of Richmond is operational.We will continue to monitor and respond to the ongoing status of the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers are asked to please follow the guidelines and precautions recommended by the CDC as outlined in this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

Our staff will be taking common sense precautions to follow the CDC guidelines while delivering permitting and inspection services. This will include refusal to inspect buildings occupied by individuals that have either tested positive, been exposed to, or are symptomatic of the COVID-19 virus.


The City of Richmond Online Permit Portal (OPP)

  • Customers can register, apply for plans, and search permits using the Online Permit Portal link.
     
  • More information on registering and utilizing the Online Portal can be found on the OPP web page.


The Zoning Administration Division provides a variety of functions related to permitting and planning services. Every parcel within the city has a zoning designation that governs its use. These uses are defined in the official zoning ordinance supported by the official zoning map. Zoning staff review permits to promote the orderly development of every parcel within the city as it relates to the individual use of the property.

Zoning staff is responsible for enforcing the zoning ordinance primarily through the review of building permits, sign permits, and Certificate of Occupancy applications.

When certain conditions of the zoning ordinance are not or cannot be met, such as front or side yards (setbacks), required parking, use of a structure or other features of properties, Zoning staff coordinates the Administrative Variance process or coordinates and prepares necessary documentation for monthly Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) meeting agendas for Variances, Special Exceptions and appeals of a decision of the Zoning Administrator.

Projects that require review and approval by either the Commission of Architectural Review (CAR), City Planning Commission (CPC), or Urban Design Committee (UDC) may also require concurrent zoning approval.

Complaints and concerns from the public, city Administration and City Council related to potential zoning violations are investigated by zoning staff. Code enforcement issues include:

  • the illegal use or density of property
  • operation of businesses without required permits
  • fences that are too high
  • auto repair operations
  • unscreened dumpsters
  • illegal or excessive signage
  • parking of commercial vehicles in residentially-zoned areas

The staff takes appropriate actions to obtain voluntary compliance with the zoning regulations or, if necessary, initiates court proceedings to force compliance.

Possible violations of the Zoning Ordinance can be reported to the Zoning Administrator. File a zoning violation using the automated request process. Providing a numbered street address of the property and information on the nature of the violation would assist in the review. Personal information does not need to be provided.

Zoning related brochures and documents

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