Welcome to the Department of Planning and Development Review! What we do, and how we do it, is summed up in our Vision and Mission Statements shown below:
Department Vision Statement
The City of Richmond is a beautiful, well-functioning, and safe city that is a desirable place to live, work, and play, and is affordable and accessible to all.
Department Mission Statement
The Department of Planning & Development Review plans for and protects Richmond’s unique physical, social, and natural environment in order to enhance the quality of life for our citizens, businesses, and visitors.
Planning and Development Review guides building and development in the City of Richmond. The Department oversees building and trades Permitting and Inspections, compliance with the Property Maintenance Code, current and long-range Planning, enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance, and Historic Preservation.
In the facilitation of these duties, the Department supports a number of boards and commissions:
The Planning Commission is responsible for the conduct of planning relating to the orderly growth development of the City, including adequate and appropriate resources for the housing, business, industry, transportation, distribution, recreation, culture, comfort, convenience, health and welfare of its population.
The Richmond Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) was established by City Council in 1957. The CAR is the City's official historic preservation body and is charged with reviewing all exterior changes to structures within the City's Old and Historic Districts and issuing Certificates of Appropriateness for those projects that it deems to be appropriate
The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) provides a means through which a property owner may seek relief from provisions of the zoning ordinance. The BZA hears and makes decisions regarding requests for variances and special exceptions, such as waivers involving setbacks, height, parking, etc. The BZA also makes decisions regarding appeals to any decision made by the City Zoning Administrator. The BZA is not empowered to change the use of a property.
In 1991, the Planning Commission, on the recommendation of City Council, appointed a Public Art Commission (PAC) to administer a Public Art Program. In January of 1997, City Council passed an ordinance formalizing the Percent-for-Art program and mandating its funding through the Capital Improvements Budget.
The Urban Design Committee (UDC) is an advisory board to the Planning Commission that reviews development on public property or in the public right-of-way. In their work, the UDC encourages high standards of urban design and an improved community appearance. Additionally, the UDC evaluates and recommends design overlay districts proposed by neighborhood groups.
The Department of Planning and Development Review consists of six Divisions:
The Administrative Division is responsible for managing the Department’s payroll, budget, and IT needs. Division staff manages special projects including the Department’s Capital Improvement Projects and the Parklet and Façade Improvement programs. Additionally, staff maintains the City’s Central Address System.
The Land Use Administration Division processes required applications for by-right development. Land Use Administration staff is the point of contact for these applications and coordinates their review with other City agencies that may be impacted by the development proposals. Additionally, the Land Use Administration Division provides advice and analysis for proposed developments that may not be permitted by current underlying zoning regulations.
The Bureau of Permits and Inspections reviews applications and construction documents for the construction, alterations and improvements to all new and existing structures in the City of Richmond. After permits are issued, the Bureau inspects the work at specific stages through the completion of the job. This process is to ensure the life safety and code compliance of buildings. The process provides safe buildings for citizens, whether they live in, work or are visiting the City of Richmond.
The Planning and Preservation Division (P & P) is responsible for a multitude of long range planning initiatives, including developing and updating the city-wide Master Plan. P & P staff provides staff for the Commission of Architectural Review and the Urban Design Committee. P & P staff also administers the City's Section 106 responsibilities.
The Property Maintenance and Code Enforcement Division's goal is to protect all citizens and visitor's health and safety and to enrich and assist in the support of vibrant, economically strong neighborhoods and communities through education and enforcement of property maintenance Regulations. The Division maintains a Vacant Building Registry.
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.
The City of Richmond reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in response to complaints filed against the City by mobile home park residents. The agreement addresses assertions that Richmond unfairly targeted Latino-occupied mobile home communities for maintenance code enforcement and that the City did not offer sufficient interpretation or translation services.
You may view a copy of the agreement through the links below:
Click here to view the agreement in English.
Haga clic aquí para ver el acuerdo en español.
City of Richmond's Fair Housing Policy:
Click here to view the City's Fair Housing Policy in English.
Haga clic aquí para ver la Política sobre Vivienda Justa de la Ciudad en español.