The Planning Department assists the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, and other designated committees in establishing and implementing community development policies for the County. It reviews proposals for changes in plans, ordinances, land use, and the division of land, ensuring consistency with Federal, State, and local regulations and policies. The staff also shares policy information with the Board, Planning Commission, other boards, committees, and the public. The primary source of revenue for the department comes from zoning permits and various fees.
The Planning and Zoning departments of the County and Town are separate entities, each responsible for planning, community development, and code enforcement within their respective jurisdictions. However, through a mutual agreement, the County provides building inspection services to both localities. The County Planning Department and Building Inspections are located in Suite 400 of the Warren County Government Center, while the Town Planning Department is housed on the lower level of the Front Royal Town Hall. For questions regarding the County, you can reach out to the Planning Staff at (540) 636-3354 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning Related Questions:
- Where can I view a copy of the Comprehensive Plan? You can view a copy of the Comprehensive Plan on the Warren County Planning Department page. Select the Comprehensive Plan from the menu located on the left side of the page. The chapters can be downloaded as PDF files. A hardcopy of the Plan is also available for viewing in the Planning Department during office hours.
- Can I subdivide my property? The subdivision of property in Warren County varies across zoning districts and is influenced by many factors, including road frontage, size and shape of new parcels, and the existing number of subdivided parcels from the parent parcel. The Planning Department staff can answer most questions regarding subdivision of land, but some deed research may be required to verify the number of parcels and dates of prior subdivisions.
- Where can I get a plat of my property? The Warren County Circuit Court Clerk’s office in the County Courthouse maintains land records, deeds, and plats for properties in the County. They can be contacted at (540) 635-2435 and are located at 1 East Main Street, Front Royal.
The County Planning and Zoning Department is located in Suite 400 of the Warren County Government Center. You can reach them at (540) 636-3354. If you need to conduct research for your answer, it's recommended that you contact them to schedule a meeting with the Planning Staff.
Zoning Related Questions:
- Where can I find the Warren County Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances online? You can access the Warren County Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances on the Warren County website. From the main toolbar, select 'Residents' and scroll down to “Warren County Code”. The Subdivision Ordinance is Chapter 155, and the Zoning Ordinance is in Chapter 180.
- Where can I find out what my property is zoned? You can determine your property's zoning by visiting Warren County’s GIS or by contacting our office at (540) 636-3354.
- What are the zoning requirements to construct a single-family dwelling on my vacant property? The construction of a single-family dwelling must adhere to the property line setback requirements for the underlying zoning district. It must also comply with the well and septic requirements as defined by the Virginia Department of Health rules and regulations and Warren County Code Chapter 179.
- How many dwellings can I have on my property? The Warren County Code permits one principle structure on a single lot in the Agricultural and Residential zoning districts.
- What are the setbacks for structures on my property? Zoning setbacks are determined by the underlying zoning district. In the Agricultural (A), Rural Residential (RR), Residential One (R1), and Two (R2) districts, a principle dwelling must be 50’ from the front from the edge of the right-of-way (R-O-W), 15’ from each side property line, and 35’ from the rear property line. For Village Residential (VR), the setbacks are 25’ from the front from the edge of the R-O-W, 15’ from side and rear property lines. For Suburban Residential (SR), the setbacks are 20’ from the front from the edge of the R-O-W, 20’ in the rear, and 15’ from the side property lines
- Can I put a shed or garage on my property? Accessory structures must be located in the side or rear yard only and should meet the side and rear setbacks for the underlying zoning district. The Agricultural district may have an accessory structure in the front yard meeting the setback of 50’ and used for maintenance equipment only. The number of these structures is based on lot acreage. Additional requirements relating to size, number of structures, height, and setbacks vary between zoning districts, so it's recommended to contact Planning and Zoning staff for additional information prior to your building permit application submission
- How do I find out if my property perks for a septic field? You can find out by contacting the Warren County Environmental Health Department at (540) 635-3159.
- What are the setbacks for a well and drain field on my property? Warren County requires a setback of 100’ feet between well to well and well to drain field. You can find this information by contacting the Warren County Health Department or in Warren County Code Chapter 179.
- What are the zoning requirements and fee for getting a business license for a home business? Before the Commissioner of the Revenue can issue a business license, a certificate of zoning must be issued by the Planning Department. This is to determine if the use qualifies as a home occupation as found in Warren County Code Section 180-17. The current fee for this is $15.00, payable in check or cash only.
- How do I report a violation for trash and debris or inoperable vehicles in my neighborhood? You can report such violations to the Planning Department, which will then speak with the Zoning Administrator. If the Zoning Administrator is unavailable, staff will fill out a Zoning Violation Complaint form with pertinent information. The Zoning Administrator will follow up with a site visit to the property and a letter of inspection or violation. Your report is confidential, and no names will be released regarding the complaint.
- How many dogs and cats are legally allowed in my household? Four (4) dogs six months of age or older per household are allowed by-right in all zoning districts. Kennels are allowed by Conditional Use Permit in the Agricultural (A) and Rural Residential (RR) Zoning Districts for five (5) or more dogs. The County does not have an ordinance for cats.
- Can I have horses or chickens on my property? This depends on the zoning district of your property. If zoned Agricultural (A), it is an allowed use by-right. If zoned Rural-Residential (RR), it is an accessory use permitted by-right but with some limitations. If the property is zoned Village Residential (VR), it is a conditionally permitted use subject to limitations and conditions approved by the Warren County Board of Supervisors.
- Can I park a Recreational Vehicle or travel trailer (camper) on my property and live in it? Major recreational vehicles shall not be used for living, sleeping, or occupancy on residential lots not approved for such use. These vehicles, when not parked in a garage, carport, or other building, shall be located at least 3 feet from the dwelling or accessory structures and not be located in the front yard except in a driveway perpendicular to the street and a minimum of 10 feet from the right-of-way on the part of the property determined to be the front yard; as per Warren County Code Section 180-40.1: Major recreational vehicles and equipment.
Floodplain Related Questions:
- How do I determine if my property is located in the floodplain? You can determine if your property is located in a floodplain by visiting Warren County’s GIS website. Once there, click on the File Folder Icon on the toolbar and select the “Flood Zones” layer in the layer control panel. Alternatively, you can request a floodplain determination from the County Floodplain Manager or use the FEMA website to create a FIRMette for your property. The flood map for Warren County is 510166 and the Town of Front Royal is 510167.
- How do I obtain a floodplain determination? To obtain a floodplain determination, you can contact the Planning and Zoning department with the address or tax map and parcel number for the property and speak to the County Floodplain Manager.
- Can I construct a single-family dwelling if my property is in the floodplain? Yes, you can construct a single-family dwelling if your property is in the floodplain. However, you must adhere to the zoning criteria and requirements outlined in the Warren County Code Section 180-16 for approval to construct in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). It's advisable to schedule a meeting with the County Floodplain Manager prior to initiating any construction plans or the building permit process.
- What are the zoning requirements for using a Recreational Vehicle (RV) in the floodplain? All recreational vehicles must be on-site for fewer than 180 consecutive days and must be fully licensed and ready for highway use if parked in the floodplain in any zoning district. Furthermore, they should be roadworthy. In the Residential One (R1) and Residential Two (R2) zoning districts, a conditional use permit for private use camping is required to establish a recreational use
E-911 and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Related Questions:
- How do I get an address for new construction of a single-family dwelling or commercial-industrial structures? Once you have applied for a building permit to the Building Inspections Department, they will send a new address request to the Zoning Administrator after your foundation has been constructed and inspected.
- How long does it take to receive an address on my dwelling? Typically, addresses are assigned within 1 or 2 weeks of receiving the request. You should receive notification of your new address within a few days of the address being assigned.
- Does the County address accessory structures? No, the County does not assign addresses to accessory structures.
- How do roads get named in the County? If you're looking to name a platted private or other right-of-way access road that serves three or more residences, you can submit a list of three potential names to the Zoning Administrator. This list can be submitted by the subdivision developer, property owners association, or property owners adjacent to the new road. The road names will then be reviewed and approved by the WC Board of Supervisors.
- How do I access the County’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) website? You can access the County’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) website by visiting http://www.warrengis.org/.