Orange County, Virginia

Code of Ordinances


Sec. 54-1. - Title.

These regulations shall officially be known, cited, and referred to as the Orange County Subdivision Ordinance, or "this ordinance" or "these regulations."

            (Ord. of 3-9-2010)

Sec. 54-2. - Purpose.

This chapter implements the county comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance by prescribing the procedures and requirements for the subdivision and development of land. Further, the purpose of this chapter is to provide for 1) the coordination of streets within and contiguous to subdivisions of property; 2) adequate drainage, flood control, other public purposes, light and air, and to identify soil characteristics; 3) the extent to which and the manner in which streets are to be constructed or improved and water and storm and sanitary sewer and other public utilities or other community facilities are to be installed; 4) the acceptance of dedication for public use of any right-of-way located within a subdivision for the construction of streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, bicycle trails, drainage or sewerage system, waterlines or any other improvement to be dedicated for public use; for the conveyance of public service (cable, electric) easements for a subdivision; 5) monuments of specific types to be installed establishing street and property lines; 6) the administration and enforcement of this chapter and the imposition of reasonable fees and charges for the review of plats and plans, and for the inspection of facilities required by this chapter to be installed; 7) the periodic partial and final complete release of any bond, escrow, letter of credit or any other performance guarantee required by the governing body in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Virginia, §§ 15.2-2241(11) and 15.2-2245; and 8) reasonable provisions permitting a single division of a lot or parcel for the purpose of sale or gift to a member of the immediate family of the property owner in accordance with Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2244.

       (Ord. of 3-9-2010)


Sec. 54-3. - Authority.

This chapter is adopted pursuant to Code of Virginia, §§ 15.2-2240 et seq., which empowers any county in the commonwealth to "... adopt an ordinance to assure the orderly subdivision of land and its development."

         (Ord. of 3-9-2010)


Sec. 54-4. - Jurisdiction.

This chapter shall apply to all lands in the county, including those covered by water, except for the areas within the corporate limits of the Town of Gordonsville or the Town of Orange.

            (Ord. of 3-9-2010)

Sec. 54-5. - 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:

Agent, subdivision means the county administrator or his designee(s).

Alley means a serviceway providing a secondary means of public access to abutting property and not intended for general traffic circulation.

Block means a tract of land bounded by streets or by a combination of streets and public land, railroad rights-of-way, waterways, or any other barrier to the continuity of development.

Board of supervisors means the board of supervisors of Orange County, Virginia; the governing body.

Boundary line adjustment means any straightening or minor realignment of property lines that would not change the number of lots and would not substantially change the area of any lot. This term includes the even exchange of property between two contiguous parcels.

Boundary survey means a plat showing the metes and bounds of an existing lot of record.

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

Circuit court means the Circuit Court of Orange County, Virginia.

Commission or planning commission means the Orange County, Virginia Planning Commission.

County means Orange County, Virginia.

Cul-de-sac means any street with an outlet at one end and a turnaround at the other.

Dam break inundation zone refers to the area downstream of a dam that would be inundated by the failure of the dam. (Va code definition)

Development means a tract of land developed or to be developed as a unit under single ownership or unified control which is to be used for any business or industrial purpose or is to contain one or more residential dwelling units.

Double frontage means frontage of a lot upon two parallel streets or upon two streets which do not intersect at the boundaries of the lot.

Easement means the legal authorization, as shown in a legal instrument or on a plat, by a property owner to a person, a partnership, a corporation, the general public, or a government agency to use a designated part of his property for specific purposes.

Easement survey means a plat on which is illustrated the creation or relocation of utility, drainage, road or other easements.

Engineer means a person licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia as a professional engineer.

Family or immediate family means a person's natural or legal offspring, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or stepchild.

Floodplain means any area designated on the flood insurance rate maps issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as subject to inundation by a 100-year flood.

Front lot line means the lot line common to the street right-of-way or easement from which the property is accessed. If the required minimum frontage is along more than one road or street, the front lot line shall be along whichever is the shortest.

Frontage means the continuous uninterrupted distance along which a parcel abuts an adjacent road, street, right-of-way or easement.

Governing body means the board of supervisors of Orange County, Virginia.

Health department means the Orange County Health Department or its designated agent or representative.

Lot means a parcel of land, including a residue, whether described by metes and bounds or shown on a plat, intended as a unit of real estate for the purpose of ownership, conveyance, taxation or development.

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

Lot depth means the average horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.

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

Open space means land reserved only for conservation of natural resources.

Parent parcel means:

a) In the agricultural zoning district, a parcel of land that is at least twice the minimum lot size required by the zoning chapter and that is of record upon the effective date of this chapter (as amended by the board of supervisors on May 25, 2010);

b) In any residential zoning district, a parcel of land that is of record upon the effective date of this chapter; or

c) For the purposes of continued division, the residue as defined herein.

Plat means a schematic representation of a parcel or subdivision drawn by a certified land surveyor or a professional engineer to the standards of the Virginia Public Records Act.

Plat, final, means a plat showing new property lines and certain features and improvements pursuant to the preliminary plat, and prepared for recordation.

Plat, preliminary, means a plat showing the existing boundaries and certain existing features of a parcel to be subdivided, together with the property lines of proposed lots and certain proposed features and improvements.

Property owners' or homeowners' association means an entity established pursuant to Code of Virginia, § 55-508 et seq., usually for the purpose of maintaining land or property owned in common by the owners of property in a subdivision.

Public or community water, wastewater 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 (see zoning ordinance definition).

Public street requirements means VDOT's most current Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements.

Recreational area means any portion of land reserved for any active or passive outdoor activity or facility, including but not limited to sports fields; playgrounds; picnic areas; walking, horseback riding or bicycle trails; equestrian facilities; ball courts; fitness courses; fishing and boating facilities; swimming pools; and golf courses.

Reserve strip means a strip of land between a street and adjacent property which is reserved or held in private ownership for future street extension or widening or as a means of controlling access to land dedicated or intended to be dedicated for public use.

Residue means the remainder of a lot after a subdivision has detached one or more lots.

Resubdivision means the adjustment of property lines which reallocates land area of contiguous lots or parcels, provided that the adjustment of property lines does not result in the creation of any additional lots or parcels of land, and does not result in any increased impact on public infrastructure.

Right-of-way means either a strip or other parcel of land owned by VDOT or others for the purpose of constructing and maintaining a road.

Right-of-way dedication survey means a plat on which is shown the dedication of a portion of a lot or lots for the purpose of dedicating said property for a future right-of-way.

State Department of Transportation or VDOT means the Virginia Department of Transportation or its designated agent or representative.

State Department of Health or VDH means the Virginia Department of Health or its designated agent or representative.

Street means a thoroughfare for vehicular traffic, including all of the area within an easement or right-of-way, and is interchangeable with the terms alley, avenue, boulevard, court, drive, highway, lane, road, or any similar term.

Subdivider means any individual, partnership, corporation or group, owning or having an interest in land, or representing the owners of any land proposing to subdivide such land.

Subdivision means the division of any lot of record into two or more lots, parcels or building sites, including residue, for the purpose of recordation in the county land records, transfer of ownership, or building development. Where a tract of land is bisected by the dedication of right-of-way, that lot is effectively subdivided. As the context requires, the term "subdivision" may mean the land divided, the process of division, or both.

Subdivision, agricultural, means any bona fide partition of agricultural land for agricultural purposes.

Subdivision, court-ordered, means any division or partition of land ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction other than as the result of an appeal pursuant to Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2259.

Subdivision, family, means a single division of a lot or parcel for the purpose of sale or gift to a member of the immediate family of the property owner.

Subdivision, major, means the division of a parcel, or the division of two or more contiguous parcels, that simultaneously or cumulatively creates eight or more lots served by one or more new streets to access the lots or the extension of any public water or public sewer.

Subdivision, minor, means the division of a parcel that creates, simultaneously or cumulatively, seven or fewer lots.

Subdivision, nonresidential, means a subdivision whose intended use is other than residential, such as commercial or industrial.

Subdivision, part-and-parcel, means the division of a tract of land where the portion divided off is made a bona fide part of an adjoining tract of land through the vacation of a common boundary line and no additional lots are created.

Survey, see plat.

Surveyor means a person licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to survey land.

Vacation of property lines means the vacating of boundary lines of any lot or parcel of land which consolidates land area of contiguous lots or parcels.

Vacation of property lines survey means a plat on which is displayed the vacation of property lines.

             (Ord. of 3-9-2010; Ord. of 12-02-2014)

Sec. 54-6. - Enforcement, violations, and penalties.

1. General.

a. It shall be the duty of the subdivision agent to enforce these regulations and to bring to the attention of the county attorney or his designated agent any violations of these regulations.

b. No owner, or agent of the owner, of any parcel of the land located in a proposed subdivision shall transfer or sell any part of the parcel before a final plat of the subdivision has been approved by the subdivision agent in accordance with the provisions of these regulations and recorded with the clerk of the circuit court.

c. The subdivision of any lot or any parcel of land only by the use of a metes and bounds description for the purpose of sale, transfer, lease, or development is prohibited.

d. No building permit shall be issued for the construction of any building or structure located on a lot or plat subdivided or sold in violation of these regulations, nor shall the county have any obligation to issue certificates of occupancy or to extend utility services to any parcel created in violation of these regulations.

e. No clerk of any court shall file or record a plat of a subdivision required by this article to be recorded until the plat has been approved as required herein.

2. Violations and penalties. Any person who violates any of these regulations shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500.00 for each lot or parcel of land so subdivided or sold; such fine shall be pursuant to Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2254.

3. Civil enforcement. Appropriate actions and proceedings may be taken to prevent any violation of these regulations, to prevent unlawful construction, to recover damages, to restrain, correct, or abate a violation, and to prevent illegal occupancy of a building structure or premises. These remedies shall be in addition to the penalties described above.

            (Ord. of 3-9-2010)

Sec. 54-7. - Interpretation and severability.

Conflicts between this chapter and public or private provisions shall be as follows:

a. Public provisions. These regulations are not intended to interfere with, abrogate, or annul any other ordinance, rule or regulation, statute, or other provision of law except as provided in these regulations. Where any provision of these regulations imposes restrictions different from those imposed by any other provision of these regulations or any other ordinance, rules or regulation, or other provision of law, the provision which is more restrictive or imposes higher standards shall apply.

b. Private provisions. These regulations are not intended to abrogate any easement, covenant, or any other private agreement or restriction, provided that where the provisions of these regulations are more restrictive or impose higher standards or regulations than such easement, covenant, or other private agreement or restriction, the requirements of these regulations shall govern. Private provisions, restrictions, or covenants are not enforced by the county.

c. Severability. If any part or provision of these regulations or the application of these regulations to any person or circumstances is adjudged invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the judgment shall not affect or impair the validity of the remainder of these regulations or the application of them to other persons or circumstances. The board of supervisors hereby declares that it would have enacted the remainder of these regulations even without any such part, provision, or application that is judged to be invalid.

            (Ord. of 3-9-2010)

Sec. 54-8. - Pending applications.

An application for subdivision submitted prior to the effective date of these regulations and under active review shall be reviewed under the regulations in effect at the time of application submittal if the final plat is submitted within one year of the approval of the preliminary plat.

            (Ord. of 3-9-2010)

Sec. 54-9. - Saving provision.

These regulations shall not be construed as abating any action now pending under, or by virtue of, prior existing subdivision regulations, or as discontinuing, abating, modifying, or altering any penalty accruing or about to accrue, or as affecting the liability of any person, firm, or corporation, or as waiving any right of the county under any section or provision existing at the time of adoption of these regulations, or as vacating or annulling any rights obtained by any person, firm, or corporation by lawful action of the county except as shall be expressly provided for in these regulations.

            (Ord. of 3-9-2010)