AGENDA TITLE:  ZTA 2009-005 Zoning Ordinance Amendments relating to Enforcement and Administration


SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:  In order to better administer and enforce the Zoning Ordinance:  a) clarify and revise problematic provisions such as definitions; b) include new provisions for enforcement, such as for temporary uses; c) reformat and renumber sections and d) make changes for consistency with the Virginia Code



STAFF:  Ms. McCulley, Messrs. Heide and Newberry








ORIGIN:  Staff recommendations that were incorporated into a resolution of intent adopted by the Commission on April 14, 2009 (attached).


BACKGROUND:  These amendments relate to the administration and enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance.    Many of the amendments involve:  reformatting and renumbering sections and language within sections, adding definitions where they did not previously exist, correcting titles based on the current organizational structure, stating the current process and practice such as for building permits and notices of violation and incorporating several Virginia Code provisions.  A complete table of the existing and proposed ordinance text with explanatory comments, is provided as Attachment B.  In addition to these more “housekeeping” types of changes, several new provisions are included.  The new provisions will be discussed in more detail within this report.  


DISCUSSION:  The proposed changes that involve new provisions establish tools and procedures for the more effective and efficient administration and enforcement of the zoning regulations.  These amendments include:


  1. Establishing a new term, “zoning permit,” for those permits which are subject to zoning approval but are not subject to the building code.  For example, zoning permits include construction of farm buildings and small (less than 150 square feet) storage (residential) sheds.  Even though they are exempt from the building code, they are still reviewed by Zoning as to use, setback and the like.  (New Section 31.3)
  2. Clarifying the zoning approval (as the final zoning inspection approval) for those cases in which a certificate of occupancy is not required under the building code.  Examples of this include certain interior renovations for residential use.  (New Section 31.4)
  3. Allowing administrative approval of a site plan bond extension beyond the one year deadline rather than requiring it to go to the Board of Supervisors.  The language clarifies the limited but practical provision for bond extension.  (New Section 31.4)
  4. Establishing a similar provision for issuance of a zoning clearance that currently exists for issuance of a certificate of occupancy.  It provides for the requirement of additional improvements that are necessary to protect the public health or safety, regardless of whether the improvements are shown on the site plan.  This has been used to require handrails, retaining walls and similar safety improvements that were not shown on the site plan but were necessary for as-built site conditions.  (New Section 31.5)
  1. Providing for a shorter appeal period (as allowed in Virginia Code) for cases which are temporary or seasonal.  Examples of this include sign or event-related violations.  (Section 34.3)
  2. Listing investigation tools that are provided for in the Virginia Code, such as inspection warrants, search warrants and subpoenas duces tecum.  (Section 36.2)
  3. Providing for the use of a violation ticket and establishing several options for delivery of a violation notice.  The amendment also lists the content necessary for an adequate violation notice.  (Section 36.2)



PUBLIC PURPOSE TO BE SERVED:  A)  Improve the clarity of Ordinance requirements and procedures for applicants.  B)  Provide for improved effectiveness and efficiency for the administration of the Zoning Ordinance.



ADMINISTRATION/ REVIEW PROCESS:   These amendments will improve the Ordinance administration and will further clarify certain review processes such as zoning review of building permits.



HOUSING AFFORDABILITY:  Staff has not identified any impact these amendments have on housing affordability.




Staff recommends approval of the draft ordinance.  (Attachment C) 



ATTACHMENT A:        Resolution of intent

ATTACHMENT B:       Table of Ordinance Changes

ATTACHMENT C:       Ordinance amendments (Section 3, 31, 34, 36 and 37) dated May 22, 2009

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