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It is best to contact the Planning & Zoning Services office directly to discuss the subdivision process. This is too in-depth for an FAQ.
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The best method for checking the zoning information for a piece of property is to use the County's Geographic Information System (GIS). A link, labeled "GIS Map", can also be found on the County's website (orangecountyva.gov). The GIS office has put together a guide on utilizing the GIS. The zoning layer can be found under the "Orange County GIS" layer group in the "Overlays" subgroup. The different colors denote zoning districts. If the zoning on the property is striped and labeled "conditional", it means it is subject to special conditions called proffers. Contact the Planning & Zoning Services office with questions regarding zoning.
There are 2 important notes regarding zoning and the GIS: 1. The GIS should only be used for general information and is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.2. The zoning layer is the "official" zoning map. The zoning listed under parcel details for a property IS NOT the official record of zoning.
Yes. Depending on the size of the property and the zoning district in which your property/house is located, you may be eligible for either a home enterprise or a home occupation. Home enterprises are more intensive, so they are only allowed on properties zoned Agricultural (A) and that are at least 2 acres in size. Home occupations are less intensive and permitted for residentially-zoned properties and those that are zoned Agricultural but are under 2 acres in size. Home enterprises may be conducted in the home and/or in an accessory structure (e.g. a garage or shed), and may utilize the land around these structures for the business. Home occupations must be conducted within the home only. It is advised that business owners review the home occupation and home enterprise forms, which can be found under the Planning & Zoning Services "Permit Applications, Forms, & Guides" page on the County's website. If there are additional questions, the owner should contact the department directly. Orange County does not have a business license program. Additional permits may be needed for signs, new construction, or other types of new development.
A Zoning Permit, an Agreement in Lieu of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (or a Land Disturbance Permit in certain cases), and a Building Permit must be obtained prior to building a house in Orange County. The posting of an erosion control bond is also required for most projects. If the home will utilize a private well and septic drainfield, an application must be made to the local Virginia Department of Health office. If the home will utilize public water and sewer, the provider of those utilities should be contacted to arrange the connection(s). Obtaining the Zoning Permit, Erosion Control Permit, and posting the erosion control bond are always the first steps in the process.
The vast majority of single-family dwelling construction projects will require an Agreement in Lieu of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan.
- The application for the Agreement must be completed, signed, and submitted.- The fee for the Agreement must be submitted.- The Erosion & Sediment Control Bond packet should be read, and the appropriate bond form must be completed and submitted. The appropriate bond form will depend on how the bond is being posted (cash/check, letter of credit, or performance bond). Issuers of letters of credit and performance bonds are required to submit documentation that they are licensed by the State Corporation Commission to conduct business in the Commonwealth of Virginia.- The actual bond must be submitted with the application. This will either be cash/check, or a physical document from the issuer. Documents must be originals; photocopies will not be accepted.
Engineered Erosion & Sediment Control plans and the issuance of a Land Disturbance Permit are always required for commercial/nonresidential projects which involve 10,000 square feet or more of land disturbance. All projects involving land disturbance of 1 acre or greater are also required to obtain permit coverage under the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP).
* Any project which results in total land disturbance under 10,000 square feet, or under 2,500 square feet in the Town of Orange, Town of Gordonsville, and/or on any residentially-zoned property.* Structures utilizing pier or post foundations (e.g. a deck or pole barn)* Home gardens and/or landscaping.* Individual utility connections (i.e. power, water, sewer, communications, etc. connections). This does not include the installation of new wells and septic fields during home construction.* Septic tank and drainfield repair work.* Tilling, planting, and harvesting of agricultural crops and timber crops. The exemption for timber harvesting ONLY applies if the area will be reforested in accordance with state law, or converted to cropland and/or for livestock. The general clearing of trees is NOT exempt.* Agricultural engineering operations (e.g. terraces, ponds, check dams, ditches, strip cropping, contour cultivating, irrigation, etc.)
Generally speaking, only one home (i.e. one principal structure) is permitted per parcel (an "over-and-under" style duplex is considered one principal structure). For a parcel with an existing single-family dwelling, one additional home known as an accessory apartment may be permitted. An accessory apartment must be smaller than the existing home as measured in gross square footage. Gross square footage is measured from the exterior walls and includes all area within. For any bona fide farm, up to seven additional homes may be permitted for farm tenants, managers, and similar employees. The property owner must certify, via an affidavit supplied by the county, that a tenant house is not being built to circumvent county law.
Generally, yes, zoning and building permits are required for sheds and other accessory buildings. The exception is for buildings which do not exceed 150 square feet; such structures are not required to obtain permits for construction. They must however meet the building setback requirements for the zoning district.