Zoning Administration

COVID-19 UPDATE

The Zoning Administration Office will remain closed to the public except for customers who have made a prescheduled in-office appointment. Appointments are intended to be used on a limited basis for processes that require in person interaction that cannot be duplicated by electronic means. Appointments will not be made for application processing or payment services.  To schedule an appointment, please email PDRZoningAdministration@Richmondgov.com or call 804-646-6340

Please create an account through the Online Permit Portal (OPP) in order to make online payments for all zoning applications.

The Online Permit Portal (OPP) shall be used for submitting applications for all Certificates of Zoning Compliances (CZCs).  Assembly uses, which include restaurants, day nurseries and other uses that have gatherings of individuals, do not require a Certificate of Zoning Compliance.  A Certificate of Occupancy (H-CO) is required for these uses and must be submitted through One Drive.  Click here to learn more about what is required for starting a business and please contact the Zoning Administration Office for questions regarding these application types.

Instructions for submitting Certificate of Zoning Compliance applications through the Online Permit Portal:

Residential - Including Home Occupation business licensing requests.  Click here for detailed step-by-step instructions on applying for a Home Occupation (Certificate of Zoning Compliance - Residential) through the Online Permit Portal.

Commercial - Including business licensing requests in tenant spaces.
 

Zoning Confirmation Letter (ZCL) requests must be sent to PDRZoningAdministration@Richmondgov.com.  An invoice will be sent after submittal of a complete ZCL application and the creation of an account through the Online Permit Portal.


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.  You can access zoning information for any property in the City through the Zoning Map.  Zoning regulates private property, it cannot regulate City streets, alleys or sidewalks; the Department of Public Works and the Police Department regulate use of these public spaces.

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

Zoning staff reviews and issues Certificate of Zoning Compliance (CZC) applications and researches and responds to Zoning Confirmation Letter requests and any Request for Letter of Zoning Confirmation - Buildable Lot/Lot Split Validation.

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 at RVA 311.

Zoning related documents (Note: these documents are under review and revision)