CODE OF ORDINANCES

Article I - In General

Sec. 70-1. - Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning. All terms used in this chapter that are defined in § 15.2-2201, VA Code Ann. shall be construed as having the meanings set forth in that section.

Accessory Apartment means an accessory residential use of less than 600 square feet or 25% of the floor area of the principal residential structure, whichever is less, contained within a private garage, an accessory structure (such as a cottage or carriage house), or within the principal residential structure.  The accessory apartment shall be served by a water supply and sewage disposal system approved by the Virginia Department of Health.  There shall be no more than one such apartment per lot of record.

Accessory use or structure means a secondary and subordinate use or structure customarily incidental to, and located upon the same lot occupied by, the main use or structure.

Administrator, zoning, means the official designated by the board of supervisors to have the powers and duties of interpreting and enforcing this chapter.

Adult-oriented business means any business where a substantial proportion of the compensation is derived from display or sale of merchandise, viewing of photographs or motion pictures, performance of dances or dramas, or participation in activities, characterized by exposure of human genitals or real or simulated sex acts.

Agriculture means the tilling of soil, the raising of crops, horticulture, forestry and husbandry, including the keeping of animals customarily raised on farms. The term includes dairies, orchards, wholesale nurseries, wineries and similar uses, but shall not include packing plants, retail nurseries, wayside stands or keeping of animals not customarily raised on farms. Industrial processing of agricultural products, including a sawmill, may be an accessory use to a farm but shall not be considered agriculture if it is the principal use of the property.

Automobile graveyard means any lot or place which is exposed to the weather and upon which more than five inoperable and unlicensed motor vehicles are stored for an indefinite period of time.

Bed and breakfast inn means a building, or portion of a building, where, for compensation, lodging is provided for 30 or fewer days in 12 or fewer guest rooms or suites.

Building means any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls, for the housing or enclosure of persons, animals or property.

Camp means an area containing not less than ten acres where instruction in outdoor activities, crafts, sports and similar pursuits is furnished.

Campground means an area containing five acres or more of land designed or used to accommodate paying guests in tents designed for single families or travel trailers owned by the guests.

Canopy means a structure, consisting only of a roof supported by columns or posts, erected over gasoline pump islands or similar fixtures, for the purpose of protecting such fixtures or their users from inclement weather. This definition does not include any building with walls, or any structure that would impede the vision of motorists or pedestrians, or any structure that blocks important scenic vistas or views.

Cemetery means a place for burial of the dead where lots are sold and perpetual care of the graves is furnished.

Civic organization means a community oriented service organization which includes, but is not limited to, non-profit organizations, churches, clubs and other groups or associations that benefit local residents by promoting projects, services and volunteer activities and fellowship.

Cluster means the grouping of single-family dwellings in order to preserve open space.

Cluster development means the entire development, including both the cluster of single-family dwellings and the reserved area of open space.

Commercial kitchen or smokehouse means an operation, utilizing 10,000 square feet or less, which prepares or stores food, including smokehouses, for off-site sales, consumption, and distribution to persons of the same business operation or of a related off-site business operation for service to the public. An example includes operations preparing or storing food for catering services.

Commission, the, means the planning commission of the county.

Country club means any operation that provides facilities for golf, tennis or swimming to its private membership.

Dwelling, multifamily, means a building consisting of three or more dwelling units separated by floors or party walls with no openings.

Dwelling, single-family, means a building consisting of one dwelling unit. The term includes site-built, precut, panelized, modular and prefabricated houses but does not include mobile or manufactured homes. Pursuant to Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2291, a single-family dwelling shall include group homes.

Dwelling, two-family, means a building consisting of two dwelling units separated by floors or party walls with no openings.

Dwelling unit means one or more rooms in a building designed or used as a place of residence for one household.

Existing dwelling, means, for the purpose of article VIII of this chapter, a dwelling that is occupied, or for which a building and zoning permit has been issued, or that has been occupied for a three-year period within the preceding five years at the time a completed application for an intensive livestock, dairy or poultry facility is received by the zoning administrator.

Existing intensive livestock, dairy or poultry structure means an intensive livestock, dairy or poultry structure that has been in operation for one year within the five years immediately preceding the date on which a building or zoning permit is sought for a dwelling.

Family or immediate family means a person's natural or legal grandparents, parents, siblings, spouse, children or grandchildren.

Farm means a parcel of land not less than five acres which is actively used for the commercial, soil-dependent cultivation of agricultural crop production and/or for the raising of livestock and which generates at least $1,000.00 per year in gross sales.

Farm enterprise means an agricultural or silvicultural based process, activity or business use of a property that is subordinate to and conducted in conjunction with an ongoing bona fide agricultural, horticultural, aquacultural or silvicultural operation, pursuant to § 3.2-300, VA Code Ann. Activities of a farm enterprise may includethe following uses: secondary processing and sale of agricultural, horticultural, aquacultural or silvicultural products grown or raised on-site. Other permitted uses include farm tours, petting, feeding and viewing of farm animals, hayrides, crop mazes, animal walks, horse and pony rides, and carriage rides.

Farm or food products means any agricultural, horticultural, forest or other product of the soil or water, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy products, meat and meat products, poultry and poultry products, fish and fish products, grain and grain products, honey or similar items, nuts, maple and sorghum products, apple cider, fruit juice, wine, ornamental or vegetable plants, nursery products, livestock feed, or baked goods.

Farmer's market means a space where locally grown produce and hand-crafted goods are sold by multiple vendors to the general public, not including wholesale or bulk sales to commercial enterprises.

Farm stand means a permanent accessory structure with a maximum floor area of 1,000 square feet dedicated to that use. A farm Stand may be contained within a larger accessory structure (e.g., agricultural building), but the farm stand must not exceed the 1,000 square feet gross floor area and shall be used solely for the purpose of sales of on-site farm or food products as defined, and which is clearly a secondary use of the premises and does not change the character thereof.

Flea market means any indoor or outdoor facility for the renting of space or the sale of merchandise.

Frontage means the measurement of a lot from one side lot line to the other, parallel to a segment connecting the endpoints of the front lot line, either at the front lot line or at the required building setback.

Garage, private, means an accessory building designed or used for the storage of automobiles owned and used by the occupants of the building to which it is accessory.

Garage, public, means a building or portion of a building, other than a private garage, designed or used for servicing, repairing, equipping, renting, storing or selling motor vehicles in return for compensation.

Graveyard means a place for burial of the dead, set aside and maintained by a family.

Group home means a residential facility in which no more than eight mentally ill, mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, aged, infirm or disabled persons reside with one or more resident counselors or other staff persons.

Height means the vertical distance from the highest grade elevation adjoining a structure to the highest point of the structure.

Home occupation means any occupation customarily incidental to and conducted within a dwelling unit or accessory structure on site (such as a garage), in which the business owner resides on the premises, no more than one additional nonfamily employee works on site at a time, retail sales conducted on the premises constitute only a minor part of the occupation, no mechanical equipment is used that is not customarily incidental to a residence, and there is no evidence, except one sign, that would indicate from the exterior that the building is used for any nonresidential use. For the purpose of this chapter, a home occupation is an accessory use to a dwelling.

Hotel or motel means a building containing 13 or more guest rooms or suites where lodging is provided for 30 or fewer days for compensation.

Inoperable motor vehicle means any motor vehicle incapable of being operated and which, if it were made operable, would have a value less than the cost of making it operable; provided that any motor vehicle not bearing current county or state registration sticker or plates shall be conclusively presumed to be an inoperable motor vehicle.

Intensive livestock, dairy or poultry facility means a livestock, dairy or poultry operation where, for a period of 45 consecutive days or more, 300 or more animal units are closely confined and not free-ranging, and are fed in the area of confinement. For the purpose of this chapter, 300 animal units shall be equivalent to any of the following, or any combination where the animals are confined in one location:

Livestock 300 slaughter or feeder cattle

Livestock 750 swine each weighing over 100 pounds

Livestock 150 horses

Livestock 3,000 sheep or lambs

Dairy 200 mature dairy cows, milked or dry

Poultry 16,500 turkeys

Poultry 30,000 laying hens or broilers

Intensive livestock, dairy or poultry structure means a building, structure or site used in the operation of an intensive livestock, dairy or poultry facility, including but not limited to litter storage sites, incinerators, manure storage sites, poultry houses, poultry disposal pits, or dead poultry cold storage chests. The term shall not include structures that are used only indirectly in the operation of the facility.

Junkyard means the use of any area of more than 200 square feet of land for the buying, selling, storing or abandoning junk or scrap materials. The term shall include the term "automobile graveyard."

Kennel, boarding, means a place designed or used to house, feed, train or otherwise handle dogs or cats not belonging to the owner or occupant, in return for compensation.

Kennel, breeding, means a place designed or used to house more than five female dogs or cats, and from which young from more than two litters are sold in any calendar year.

Limited manufacturing means uses listed within the following groups in the Standard Industrial Classification manual: manufacturing apparel and textiles, printing and publishing, manufacturing electronic and electric equipment, manufacturing instruments and related products, and miscellaneous manufacturing.

Livestock means all domestic or domesticated bovine animals, such as cattle; equine animals, such as horses; bovine animals, such as sheep; and porcine animals, such as hogs.

Lot means a parcel of land having fixed boundaries, recorded by the clerk of the circuit court as an individual unit of real estate for the purpose of ownership, conveyance or taxation.

Lot, corner, means a lot having two adjacent sides abutting on streets.

Lot, double-frontage, means a lot having two nonadjacent sides abutting on streets.

Manufactured home means a structure, subject to federal regulation, which is transportable in one or more sections, which in the traveling mode is eight body feet or more in width and 40 body feet or more in length, or when erected on site is 320 or more square feet, and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems contained in the structure.

Manufactured home park means any area approved as a manufactured home park by the board of supervisors pursuant to article VII of this chapter.

Manufacturing means processing raw materials or unfinished products into finished products.

Mining means the process by which coal, sand, gravel, minerals or ore is removed from any open pit or any underground workings and produced for sale, exchange or commercial use and all shafts, slopes, drifts, or inclines leading to such location and including all buildings, structures, and equipment above and below the surface of the ground used in connection with such process. Quarrying shall be within the definition of mining. Mining shall include all ground-disturbing exploratory activities designed to determine the presence of coal, sand, gravel, minerals or ore, including but not limited to excavation, drilling or boring; however, mining shall not include the drilling or boring of wells for the purpose of obtaining water.

Mobile home means a structure, transportable in one or more sections, which in the traveling mode is eight body feet or more in width and 40 body feet or more in length, or when erected on site is 320 or more square feet, and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems contained in the structure.

Mobile home park means any area approved as a mobile home park by the board of supervisors prior to the enactment of article VII of this chapter and designed to accommodate three or more mobile homes.

Nature preserve means land undisturbed from or returned to its natural state with no improvements other than unpaved paths for walking, hiking, horseback riding or non-motorized bicycle riding.

Non-profit organization means a non-profit organization incorporated under the provisions of section 501(c)(3) of the federal code.

Nonconforming lot means a lot that existed lawfully prior to the adoption or amendment of this chapter but fails, by reason of such adoption or amendment, to conform to the minimum area or frontage requirements of this chapter.

Nonconforming structure means a structure that existed lawfully prior to the adoption or amendment of this chapter but fails, by reason of such adoption or amendment, to conform to the setback, yard, height or other requirements of this chapter.

Nonconforming use means a use of a structure or lot that existed lawfully prior to the adoption or amendment of this chapter, but is not permitted by this chapter.

Office means an establishment primarily engaged in providing professional, financial, administrative, clerical and other similar services.

Office Building means a structure containing multiple office uses.

Operator means any person who owns or operates an intensive livestock, dairy or poultry facility, or the land on which it is located.

Poultry means any domestic or domesticated fowl raised for meat or eggs; including but not limited to chickens and turkeys.

Public or community water or sewer systems means a water or sewer system owned and operated by a municipality, a public service authority, or an individual, partnership or corporation licensed by the state corporation commission and approved by the board of supervisors.

Residential facility means any group home or other residential facility for which the department of mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse services is the licensing authority pursuant to the state law.

Restaurant means an establishment that serves food and beverages primarily to persons seated at tables or counters within the buildings. This includes those establishments that offer quick food service through a limited menu of items alreadt prepared and held for service.

Retail store means a building or group of buildings designed or used for display and sale of merchandise, or for the rendering of personal services, to the general public, such as a drugstore, gift shop, hardware store, furniture store, florist, optician, barbershop, or print shop.

Retail use, large means any large retail single occupant building or unit used for retail purposes where the primary occupant controls space exceeding 60,000 square feet in gross floor area located in a free standing building and may be included or be a part of a shopping center, possibly sharing parking areas and vehicular travel ways with other buildings or uses and which may be connected by walkways and access ways to other buildings or uses.

Road means a public thoroughfare which provides access to abutting property. The term includes terms such as alley, avenue, boulevard, court, drive, lane, street and way.

Salvage operation means the use of a lot or structure for collection and storage of inoperable motor vehicles, machinery or other similar materials, for the purpose of reclaiming and selling parts, from which the vehicles, machinery or materials are removed after reclamation of the parts.

Setback means the minimum distance by which any structure shall be separated from the right-of-way of a primary highway; or from the front line of a lot that adjoins a secondary road, subdivision street or private road; or from the centerline of certain secondary roads; or from any side or rear property line. The setback distance shall be measured to the foundation line of all existing and proposed structures; however, no such structure shall have an overhang encroaching more than three feet into the setback unless approved by variances or special exception.

Shoreline, normal, means the area immediately adjacent to any state water, including lakes, ponds and streams. More specifically, the line where open waters abut wetlands or fastlands during nonflood and nondrought periods.

Sign means any display of letters, numerals, symbols, or combinations, visible from a public right-of-way, for the purpose of making anything known. The following are excluded from this definition provided they do not have commercial connotations: directional signs, flags or insignia of governments, displays erected by government agencies, architectural features, memorial cornerstones, and commemorative plaques.

Sign, building, means any sign that is permanently attached to a building wall and does not extend beyond the side or top of such wall, except in commercial and industrial zoning districts. The term includes wall, window, marquee, bulletin board, changeable copy, and projecting signs, except for traffic control signs.

Sign, digital, means any portable or permanent sign or part of a sign on which characters, letters or images can be changed or rearranged electronically by light, digital LED or other display.

Sign, monument, means any sign permanently affixed to a wall or fence which is less than three feet in height and built of brick, stone, treated lumber or similarly durable materials.

Sign, off-site, means a sign that directs attention to a product or service not available on the premises on which the sign stands.

Sign, on-site, means a sign that directs attention to a product or service available on the premises on which the sign stands.

Sign, portable or mobile, means any sign which is not permanently attached to the ground or a permanent structure, such as trailer signs, sandwich boards, posters and banners.

Sign, pylon, means any sign supported by one or more posts permanently set in the ground.

Sign, temporary, means a sign applying to a seasonal or brief activity such as a political campaign, summer camp, horse show, or auction that is displayed for a short period of time and then removed.

Sign area means the total area of a sign within a perimeter enclosing the display, together with any material or color which is an integral part of the display or which is used to differentiate the display from the background against which it is placed. If both sides of a single structure are used for signs, only one side shall be counted.

Story means that portion of a building, other than a basement or attic, between the surface of any floor and the floor next above it, or if there is no floor above it, between the floor and the ceiling above it.

Stream means any flowing body of water defined on the USGS 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle maps with a solid blue line.

Street, private, means any road, street, highway or other means of vehicular access to a parcel of land not dedicated or intended for public use.

Structure means anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires permanent location on the ground or attachment to something having a permanent location on the ground. The term does not include modifications of the ground (such as paving or gravel), any object below the ground, fences, retaining walls, mailboxes or lawn ornaments.

Variance means a relaxation of the terms of this chapter granted by the board of zoning appeals.

Vocational Training Facility means a school providing education and/or training for a specific occupation, business, trade, or profession. Offices and classroom facilities are by right, where permitted. Other facilities are permitted with a Special Use permit. This classification excludes establishments providing training for a use that is not otherwise permitted in the zone. Incidental instructional services in conjunction with another primary use shall not be included in this definition. Privately operated and/or owned military-oriented training facilities or uses of a similar private military-style training (paramilitary) nature are not permitted in any zoning district.

Waters of the state means all waters on the surface and under the ground wholly or partially within or bordering the commonwealth or within its jurisdiction.

Wayside stand means any temporary or portable structure not exceeding 500 square feet used for the sale of, by the owner or his family or tenant, on-site farm or food products as defined herein, which is clearly a secondary use of the premises and does not change the character thereof.

Yard means a space on a lot free of structures from the ground upward, provided that steps, landings, patios, and similar structures shall not be considered to obstruct a yard if they are less than 30 inches above the ground.

Yard, front, means a yard between a building and the lot line adjoining the road, extending across the full width of the lot. For corner lots the front shall be the shorter of the two sides fronting on streets.

Yard, rear, means a yard between a building and the rear lot line, extending across the full width of the lot.

Yard, side, means a yard between a building and the lot lines that intersect the front lot line, extending from the front yard to the rear yard.

(Ord. of 5-2-1996, §§ 1900--1964.03; Ord. of 8-11-1998, §§ 1919, 1929, 1960, 1964; Ord. of 5-8-2001; Ord. of 6-26-2007; Ord. of 6-10-2008(3); Ord. of 3-9-2010; Ord. of 6-28-2011(6); Ord. of 7-12-2011(2); Ord. of 7-26-2011; Ord. of 11-13-2013; Ord. 03-11-2014)


Sec. 70-2. - Intent.

The general assembly in § 15.2-2280 et seq., VA Code Ann., has authorized boards of supervisors in counties to adopt zoning ordinances, dividing the unincorporated areas of counties into districts to:

(1) Regulate the use of lands and structures; the size, height, area, bulk, location, construction, alteration and removal of structures; the areas and dimensions of land, water and air space to be occupied by structures; the minimum size of yards, courts and other open spaces; and mining of natural resources, in order to promote the health, safety or general welfare of the public;

(2) Provide for adequate light, air, convenience of access, and safety from fire, flood, failure of impounding structures, crime and other dangers;

(3) Reduce or prevent congestion in the public streets;

(4) Facilitate the creation of a convenient, attractive and harmonious community;

(5) Facilitate the provision of adequate police and fire protection, disaster evacuation, civil defense, transportation, water, sewerage, flood protection, schools, parks, forests, playgrounds, recreational facilities, airports, and other public requirements;

(6) Protect against destruction of or encroachment upon historic areas;

(7) Protect against overcrowding of land or undue population density;

(8) Encourage economic development activities that provide desirable employment and increase the tax base;

(9) Preserve agricultural and forestal lands and protect the natural environment;

(10) Promote affordable housing;

(11) Provide for amendments and changes;

(12) Require county planning commissions to perform certain duties;

(13) Permit the appointment and prescribe the powers and duties of county boards of zoning appeals; and

(14) Provide methods for enforcement of this chapter and penalties for its violation thereof.

(Ord. of 5-2-1996, preamble; Ord. of 6-28-2011(7))


Secs. 70-3--70-35. - Reserved.