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For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
ACCESSORY DWELLING. A subordinate dwelling of no more than 1,000 square feet or 50% of the square feet of the principal dwelling in whom’s building envelope the ACCESSORY DWELLING has been constructed.
ACCESSORY STRUCTURE. A structure detached from a principal building on the same lot and customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal building or use.
ACCESSORY USE. A use of land or of a building or portion thereof customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the land or building and located on the same lot with such principal use.
ACCRETION. The creation of land by accumulation of new material.
ACRE. A measure of land area containing 43,560 square feet.
ADMINISTRATOR, LAND USE. The representative of the County Board of Supervisors who has been appointed to serve as the agent of the governing body in administering this chapter.
AGRICULTURE. The production, keeping, or maintenance, for sale, lease, or personal use, of plants and animals useful to humans including, but not limited to: forages and sod crops; grains and seed crops; dairy animals and dairy products; poultry, and poultry products; livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules, or goats, or any mutations or hybrids thereof, including the breeding and grazing of any or all of such animals; bees and apiary products; fur animals; trees and forest products; fruits of all kinds, including grapes, nuts, and berries; vegetables; nursery, floral, ornamental, and greenhouse products; or lands devoted to a soil conservation or forestry management program.
ALLEY. A public or private way affording secondary means of access to abutting property.
ALTERATION. Any change or rearrangement in the supporting members of an existing building, such as bearing walls, columns, beams, girders, or interior partitions, as well as any change in doors or windows, or any enlargement to or diminution of a building or structure, whether horizontally or vertically, or the moving of a building or structure from one location to another.
AMENITY. A natural or human-made feature which enhances or makes a particular property more attractive or satisfying.
ANIMAL CEMETERY. Any land or structure used or intended to be used for the interment or animal remains (other than human remains), with or without sale of lots.
ANIMAL CREMATORIUM. Any furnace or other establishment used or intended to be used for the incineration of animal corpses (other than human corpses).
APPENDAGE. A platform which may be floating that is attached to a pier or dock structure. Qualifying structures that meet the definitions of a catwalk or finger pier shall not be considered an APPENDAGE.
APPLICANT. A person submitting an application for development.
APPROVING AUTHORITY. The agency, board, group, or other legally designated individual or authority which has been charged with review and approval of plans and applications.
AQUACULTURE. Activities to enhance growth or propagation of harvestable freshwater, estuarine, or marine plant or animal species.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE. Land or water areas which show evidence or artifacts of human, plant, or animal activity, usually dating from a period of which only vestiges remain.
ASSEMBLY/RETREAT FACILITY. A facility intended and designed to be used for the assembly and/or gathering of persons for a common purpose, including religious, educational, and/or recreational activities. Uses and improvements at such a FACILITY are intended to work collectively to provide services primarily to those individuals or groups using the FACILITY and may include conference and assembly halls, lodging, food service, recreational activities, and educational activities.
AUTOMOBILE GRAVEYARD. Any lot or place which is exposed to the weather and upon which more than five motor vehicles of any kind that are incapable of being operated, and which it would not be economically practical to make operative, are placed, located, or found. The movement or rearrangement of vehicles within an existing lot or facility does not render this definition inapplicable. (VA Code § 33.2-804)
AWNING. Any non-rigid material such as fabric or flexible plastic that is supported by or stretched over a frame that is attached to an exterior wall.
AWNING SIGN. A sign placed directly on the surface of an awning.
BACKSHORE. An area in a beach or other shoreline zone between mean high water and the toe of a dune, bank, or in the case of areas with gradual elevation change, the landward limit of wave action during storm events.
BANNER. A sign that is mounted on or attached to a nonrigid surface such as cloth, fabric, or paper.
BASE FLOOD/100-YEAR FLOOD. A flood that, on the average, is likely to occur once every 100 years (i.e., that has a 1% chance of occurring each year, although the flood may occur in any year).
BASE ZONING DISTRICT. Any section of the county for which regulations governing the use of buildings and land, the height of buildings, the size of yards, and the intensity of use are uniform.
BASEMENT. A story (or portion of a story) partly below ground level, with at least one-half of its height (measured from floor to ceiling) above ground level. Ground level nearest to a story (or portion of a story) shall be used to determine whether such story is a BASEMENT.
BEACH. The zone of sedimentary material that extends landward from mean high water level to the place where there is marked change in material or form, or the line of permanent vegetation.
BED AND BREAKFAST ESTABLISHMENT. A dwelling or part thereof, in which lodging (with or without meals) is provided by the owner or operator.
BEDLANDS. Areas surveyed or otherwise identified that potentially support the growing of shellfish. Also known as BAYLOR GROUNDS.
BERM. A mound of soil, either natural or human-made, planted with grass or other vegetation, and used for view obstruction or for water control.
BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (BMPS). A practice, or a combination of practices, that is determined by a local, state, or designated area-wide planning agency to be the most effective, practical means of preventing or reducing the amount of pollution generated by nonpoint sources to a level compatible with water quality goals.
BIKE/HIKE TRAIL. A pathway, often paved and separated from streets, designed for bikers and pedestrians.
BILLBOARD. See OFF-PREMISES SIGN.
BLOCK. A unit of land bounded by streets or by a combination of streets and public land, waterways, or any other barrier to the continuity to development.
BOATHOUSE. A roofed and sided structure for the wet or dry storage of one or more watercraft.
BUFFER. An area within a property or site, generally adjacent to and parallel with the property line or designated natural feature, either consisting of natural existing vegetation or created by the use of trees, shrubs, fences, and/or berms, designed to continuously limit view of and/or sound from the site to adjacent sites or properties or to maintain vegetation, absorb runoff, or protect steep slopes and shorelines.
BUILDING. Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls and intended for the shelter, housing, or enclosure of any individual, animal, process, equipment, goods, or materials of any kind or nature.
BUILDING ENVELOPE. The three-dimensional space within which a structure exclusive of in-ground swimming pools, tennis courts, and garden statuary and furniture, is permitted to be built on a lot and which is defined by maximum height regulations, yard setbacks, and other regulations.
BUILDING SETBACK LINE. A line parallel to the street line at a distance therefrom equal to the depth of the front yard required for the zoning district in which the lot is located.
BULLETIN BOARD SIGN. A particular type of changeable copy sign that displays copy within a casement.
CALIPER. Diameter of a tree measured six inches above ground level.
CAMPGROUND. The use of two or more recreational vehicles, tents, or other forms of temporary shelter designed for recreational or occasional use.
CANOPY. An extension of the roof of a building or a freestanding structure that has a roof with support but no walls.
CANOPY SIGN. A sign attached to a canopy.
CATWALK. A walkway that is less than or equal to five feet in width within a covered boat slip or boathouse.
CEMETERY. Any land or structure used or intended to be used for the interment of human remains, with or without sale of lots. The sprinkling of ashes or their burial in a biodegradable container on church grounds shall not constitute creation of a CEMETERY.
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE. Certification by the Land Use Administrator that plans are in compliance with this chapter.
CERTIFICATION OF OCCUPANCY. A certificate issued by the County Building Official certifying that a structure is in compliance with all applicable requirements of the Uniform Statewide Building Code and County Building Ordinance after notification by the Land Use Administrator (issuance of a certificate of compliance) that all other necessary permits and approvals have been obtained and required bonds/surety have been found to be satisfactory and accepted by the county.
CHANGEABLE COPY SIGN. A sign that is designed so that characters, letters, or illustrations can be changed or rearranged without altering the face or surface of the sign.
CHANNEL. The bed and banks of a natural stream which convey the constant or intermittent flow of the stream.
CHANNELIZATION. The straightening and deepening of channels and/or the surfacing thereof to permit water to move rapidly and/or directly.
CHESAPEAKE BAY PRESERVATION AREA (CBPA). Any land designated by the County Board of Supervisors pursuant to part III of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations, VAC 25-830, and VA Code § 10.1-2107. A CHESAPEAKE BAY PRESERVATION AREA shall consist of a resource protection area and a resource management area.
CLEARING. Any activity which includes, but is not limited to, removal of vegetative ground cover, root mat, and/or top soil.
COLLEGE. An educational institution authorized by the state to award associate or higher degrees.
COMMISSION. The County Planning Commission.
COMMON OPEN SPACE. An open space area within or related to a site as designated on a plan of development and designed and intended for the use or enjoyment of residents and owners. COMMON OPEN SPACE may contain such complementary structures and improvements as are necessary and appropriate for the use or enjoyment of residents and owners of the development, or contain lands designated for agricultural purposes.
COMMUNITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT. An assessment of a proposed development’s impact on the fiscal, and social, well-being of the community, including measured effects on the provision of government services, transportation systems, and commerce.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN. The County Comprehensive Plan.
CONSERVATION EASEMENT. An easement precluding all or specified future or additional development of the land.
CONSTRUCTION FOOTPRINT. The area of all impervious surface including, but not limited to, buildings, roads, parking areas, and sidewalks and area necessary for construction of such improvements.
CONSTRUCTION PLANS. Engineering plans for construction of streets, utilities, and other improvements.
CONVENTIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Development which consumes the entirety of a parcel with streets and lots and which is not characterized by the provision of common open space.
COVERED SLIP. An open-sided roof structure for the wet or dry storage of one or more watercraft.
COPY. The characters, letters, or illustrations displayed on a sign face.
CUL-DE-SAC. A minor street having but one end open for vehicular traffic and with the other end permanently terminated by a turnaround or back-around for vehicles.
DAYS. Calendar days.
DENSITY. The number of dwelling units per acre of land.
DENSITY BONUS. An award of additional development capacity by the plan-approving authority in exchange for the developer’s provision of a public benefit or amenity.
DETENTION BASIN. A human-made or natural water collector facility designed to collect surface and subsurface water in order to impede its flow and to release the same gradually at a rate not greater than that prior to the development of the property, into natural or human-made outlets.
DEVELOPER. The legal or beneficial owner or owners of a lot or of any land proposed to be included in a proposed plan of development, including the holder of an option or contract to purchase, or any other person having enforceable proprietary interest in such land.
DEVELOPMENT. The division of land into two or more parcels; any human-made change to improved or unimproved real estate including, but not limited to, buildings or other structures, the placement of manufactured homes, streets, other paving, utilities, filling, grading, excavating, mining, dredging, or drilling operations, and land-disturbing activities (as defined) requiring the issuance of an erosion and sediment control permit.
DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT (D.B.H.). The diameter of a tree measured outside the park at a point four and one-half feet above the ground.
DIRECTIONAL SIGN. A sign that provides on-site directional assistance for the convenience of the public such as location of exits, entrances, and parking lots.
DIRECTORY SIGN. A sign which displays the names and/or addresses of the establishments or uses of a building or group of buildings.
DISTRICT OR SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT. The Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District, a political subdivision of the state organized in accordance with VA Code Title 10.1, Chapter 5.
DOCKS. See PIERS.
DRAINAGE. The removal of surface water or groundwater from land by drains, grading, or other means. This includes control of runoff during and after construction or development to minimize erosion and sedimentation to assure the adequacy of existing and proposed culverts and bridges, to induce water recharge into the ground where practical, to lessen nonpoint pollution, to maintain the integrity of stream channels for their biological functions as well as for DRAINAGE, and the means necessary for water supply preservation or prevention or alleviation of flooding.
DRAINAGE SYSTEM. The system through which water flows from the land, including all watercourses, waterbodies, and wetlands.
DRIPLINE. A vertical projection to the ground surface from the furthest lateral extent of a tree’s leaf canopy.
DRIVEWAY. A paved or unpaved area used for ingress or egress of vehicles, and allowing access from a street to a building or other structure or facility.
DWELLING. A room or group of rooms within a building and constituting a separate and independent housekeeping unit occupied or intended to be occupied by one family, and containing kitchen, living, sleeping, and sanitary facilities. Definition shall include buildings containing both one- and two-dwelling units.
EASEMENT. An authorization by a property owner for use by another of any designated part of his or her property for one or more specified purposes, which purposes are consistent with the general property rights of the owner.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTRAINTS. Features, natural resources, or land characteristics that are sensitive to modification and may require conservation measures or the application of creative development techniques to prevent degradation of the environment, or may require limited development, or in certain instances may preclude development.
EROSION. The detachment and movement of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice, and gravity.
EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL PLAN OR PLANS. A document containing materials which describe proposed measures to be taken for the purpose of conserving soil and water resources of a unit or group of units of land. It may include appropriate maps, appropriate soil and water inventory, management information with needed interpretations, and a record of decisions contributing to conservation treatment. The PLAN shall contain all major conservation decisions so that the entire unit or units of land will be so treated to achieve the conservation objectives set forth in this chapter.
EROSION IMPACT AREA. An area of land not associated with current land-disturbing activity but subject to persistent soil erosion resulting in the delivery of sediment onto neighboring properties or into state waters. This definition shall not apply to any lot or parcel of land one acre or less used for residential purposes or to shorelines where the erosion results from wave action or other coastal processes.
ESCROW. A deed, bond, money, or a piece of property delivered to a third person to be delivered by him or her to the grantee only upon fulfillment of a condition.
EXCAVATING. Any digging, scooping, or other methods of removing earth materials.
EXEMPT SUBDIVISION. See SUBDIVISION.
FAMILY. An individual or two or more persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption, or a group of not more than four unrelated persons, occupying a single-dwelling unit. For purposes of single-family residential occupancy, this term shall be deemed to encompass group homes or other residential facilities licensed by the State Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services occupied by not more than eight mentally ill, mentally retarded, or developmentally disabled persons together with one or more resident counselors. Mental illness and development disability does not include current illegal use of, or addition to, a controlled substance as defined in VA Code § 54.1-3401.
FAMILY SUBDIVISION. The division of land and its transfer to a family member defined as any person who is a natural or legally defined offspring, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, or parent of the owner.
FARM or FARMLAND. A parcel of land used for agricultural activities.
FARM STRUCTURE. Any building or structure used for agricultural purposes.
FASTLAND. The comparatively stable upland area adjacent to the shoreline.
FILLING. Any depositing or stockpiling of earth materials.
FILTERED VIEW (OF THE RIVER). The maintenance or establishment of woody vegetation of sufficient density to screen development from the river yet permit visual connection between the development and the river, to provide for streambank stabilization and erosion control, to serve as an aid to infiltration of surface runoff, and to provide cover to shade the water. It means no clear-cutting.
FINGER PIER. A walkway constructed adjacent to the main run of a pier or dock that is less than or equal to five feet in width and is 20 feet or less in length.
FLAG LOT. A lot whose building envelope does not front on or abut a public road and where access to the public road is by a narrow, private right-of-way.
FLOOD. A general and temporary inundation of normally dry land areas.
FLOODPLAIN. Those areas of the county subject to inundation by water of the 100-year flood as described by the Flood Insurance Study for the county and shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map series, both prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and dated December 16, 2008.
FLOOD-PRONE AREA. Any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source.
FORESHORE. The part of the shore lying between the upper limit of wave wash at high tide and the ordinary low-water mark.
FREESTANDING SIGN. The general term for any on-site sign which is supported from the ground and not attached to a building.
FRONTAGE, BUILDING. The length of a building that faces a street, parking area, or private drive.
FRONTAGE, LOT. The length of that part of a zoning lot that fronts a public street.
GENERAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN. A plan outlining general, rather than detailed, development intentions. It describes the basic parameters of a major development proposal, rather than giving full engineering details. As such, it allows general intentions to be proposed and discussed without the extensive costs involved in submitting a detailed proposal.
GOVERNING BODY. The Board of Supervisors of Richmond County.
GOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITY. Any or all of the services provided by this county to its citizens for the purpose of maintaining this county and shall include, but shall not be limited to, such services as constructing, repairing, and maintaining roads, sewage facilities, supply and treating water, street lights, and construction of public buildings.
GRADE. The slope of a street, or other public way, or land area specified in percentage (%) terms.
GRADING. Any excavating or filling of earth materials or any combination thereof, including the land in its excavated or filled condition.
GREENBELT. An open area which may be cultivated or maintained in a natural state surrounding development or used as a buffer between land uses or to mark the edge of an urban or developed area.
GROUND COVER. Low-growing plants or sod that in time form a dense mat covering the area in which they are planted preventing soil from being blown or washed away and the growth of unwanted plants.
HEALTH OFFICER. The Health Officer or Sanitarian of the county.
HEIGHT, BUILDING. The vertical distance to the highest point of the roof for flat roofs; to the deck line of mansard roofs; and to the average height between eaves and the ridge for gable, hip, and gambrel roofs measured from the grade level in all other cases.
HISTORIC SITE. A structure, place, setting, or area of outstanding historic and cultural significance and designated as such by the county, state, or federal government.
HOME OCCUPATION. Any activity carried out for gain by a resident conducted as a permitted accessory use in the resident’s dwelling unit or accessory structure.
HYDRIC SOIL. Soils as defined by the current definition accepted by the state.
ILLEGAL SIGN. A sign that was constructed in violation of regulations that existed at the time it was placed.
ILLUMINATED SIGN. A sign illuminated in any manner by an artificial light source, whether internally or externally lit.
IMPACT ANALYSIS. A study to determine the effect of a proposed development on activities, utilities, circulation, surrounding land uses, community facilities, environment, and other factors directly, indirectly, or potentially affected.
IMPERVIOUS COVER. A surface composed of any material that significantly impedes or prevents natural infiltration of water into the soil. IMPERVIOUS SURFACES include, but are not limited to: roofs; buildings; streets; parking areas; and any concrete, asphalt, or compacted gravel surface.
INDIVIDUAL SEWAGE DISPOSAL SYSTEM. A septic tank, seepage tile sewage disposal system, or any other approved sewage treatment device serving a single unit.
INGRESS/EGRESS. Access or entry in and out of property or improvements.
INOPERATIVE MOTOR VEHICLE. A motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer, as defined in VA Code § 46.2-100, which is located on any property zoned for residential, commercial, or agricultural purposes and is not in operating condition; or which for a period of 60 days or longer has been partially or totally disassembled by the removal of tires and wheels, the engine, or other essential parts required for operation of the vehicle or on which there are displayed neither valid license plates nor a valid inspection decal. This definition shall not apply to vehicles that are within a fully enclosed building or structure or are shielded or screened from view or vehicles that are on the property of a licensed business which is regularly engaged in business as an automobile dealer, salvage dealer, or scrap processor at the time of adoption of this chapter. Antique motor vehicles and trailers that are licensed in accordance with VA Code § 46.2-730, and farm vehicles, as defined in VA Code § 46.2-1009, shall not be considered INOPERATIVE solely for failing to display valid inspection decals.
INTENSIVE LIVESTOCK OR FOWL OPERATIONS. Any operation requiring a state pollution abatement permit from the State Water Control Board.
INTERSECTION. The area embraced within the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of two or more streets which join one another at an angle whether or not one such street crosses the other.
JUNK. Old or scrap copper, brass, rope, rags, batteries, paper, trash, rubber, debris, waste, or junked, dismantled, or wrecked automobiles, or parts thereof, iron, steel, and other old or scrap ferrous or nonferrous material.
(VA Code § 33.2-804)
JUNKYARD. An establishment or place of business which is maintained, operated, or used for storing, keeping, buying, or selling junk, or for the maintenance or operation of an automobile graveyard, and the term shall include garbage dumps and sanitary fills.
(VA Code § 33.2-804)
LAND-DISTURBING ACTIVITY. Any land change which may result in soil erosion from water or wind and the movement of sediments into state waters or onto lands in the state including, but not limited to, clearing, grading, excavating, transporting, and filling of land, except that the term shall not include:
(1) Minor LAND-DISTURBING ACTIVITIES such as home gardens and individual landscaping, repairs, and maintenance work;
(2) Individual service connections;
(3) Installation, maintenance, or repair of any underground public utility lines when such activity occurs on an existing hard surfaced road, street, or sidewalk provided the LAND-DISTURBING ACTIVITY is confined to the area of the road, street, or sidewalk which is hard surfaced;
(4) Surface or deep mining;
(5) Exploration or drilling for oil and/or gas including the well site, roads, feeder lines, and off-site disposal areas;
(6) Tilling, planting, or harvesting of agricultural, horticultural, or forest crops or livestock feedlot operations; including engineering operations as follows: construction of terraces, terrace outlets, check dams, desilting basins, dikes, ponds, ditches, strip cropping, lister furrowing, contour cultivating, contour furrowing, land drainage, and land irrigation;
(7) Repair or rebuilding of the tracks, rights-of-way, bridges, communication facilities, and other related structures and facilities of a railroad company;
(8) Agricultural engineering operations including, but not limited to, the construction of terraces, terrace outlets, check dams, desilting basins, dikes, ponds not required to comply with the Dam Safety Act, (VA Code§§ 62.1-115.1 et seq.), ditches, strip cropping, lister furrowing, land drainage, and land irrigation;
(9) Disturbed land areas of less than 2,500 square feet in size;
(10) Installation of fence and sign posts or telephone and electric poles and other kinds of posts or poles;
(11) Shore erosion control projects on tidal waters when the projects are approved by the County Wetlands Board, the State Marine Resources Commission or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; or
(12) Emergency work to protect life, limb, or property and emergency repairs, however, if the LAND-DISTURBING ACTIVITY would have required an approved erosion and sediment control plan, if the activity were not an emergency, then the land area disturbed shall be shaped and stabilized in accordance with the requirements of the plan-approving authority.
LAND-DISTURBING PERMIT. A permit issued by the county for land-disturbing activities as defined.
LIMITED FOOD SERVICE AND SALES. Food service and sales that are customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal uses of the building or land and permitted only as an accessory use by special exception.
LITTORAL DRIFT. The transportation of grains of sand due to water action produced by winds and currents.
LOT. A portion of a subdivision or other parcel of land intended for the transfer of ownership or for building development, whether immediate or future.
LOT AREA. The total horizontal area within the lot lines of the lot and expressed in terms of acres or square feet.
LOT, CORNER. A lot abutting upon two or more streets at their intersection where the interior angle of intersection is not greater than 135 degrees. A lot abutting upon a curved street shall be considered a CORNER LOT if the tangents to the curve at the points of intersection of the side lot lines intersect at an interior angle of less than 135 degrees.
LOT DEPTH. The average horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.
LOT, DOUBLE FRONTAGE. A lot, other than a corner lot, which has frontage on two streets.
LOT FRONTAGE. The portion of a lot extending along a street line or upon a waterbody, beach, or wetland as the case may require.
LOT, INTERIOR. Any lot neither a corner lot nor a through lot.
LOT LINE. The boundary line of the lot.
LOT LINE, FRONT. A street line.
LOT LINE, REAR. Any lot line, except a front lot line, which is parallel or within 45 degrees of being parallel to, and does not intersect, any street line bounding such lot.
LOT LINE, SIDE. Any lot line which is not a front lot line or a rear lot line.
LOT OF RECORD. Any lot legally recorded in the Clerk’s office of the County Circuit Court.
LOT, THROUGH. Any lot, not a corner lot, which adjoins two street lines opposite to each other and parallel or within 45 degrees of being parallel to each other.
LOT, WATERFRONT. A lot that includes, touches upon, or is within 100 feet of the mean low water mark of a natural or human-made body of water or a beach or wetland.
LOT WIDTH. The horizontal distance between the side lot lines measured at the front building setback line.
MAINTENANCE GUARANTEE. Any security that may be accepted by the county for the maintenance of any required improvements.
MANUFACTURED HOME. A structure subject to federal regulation, which is transportable in one or more sections; is eight body feet or more in width and 40 body feet or more in length in the traveling mode, or is 320 or more square feet when erected on-site; is built on a permanent chassis; is designed to be used as a single-family 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.
(VA Code § 36-85.3)
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK. A tract of land or a combination of tracts of land under single ownership or management which has been designed, constructed, equipped, operated, and maintained for the placement of two or more manufactured homes.
MANUFACTURED HOME SUBDIVISION. An area designed to accommodate one or more manufactured homes or modular homes on individual lots which may be offered for sale under the terms of this chapter.
MARINA. A publicly or privately-owned facility which serves five or more boats as a commercial enterprise or in association with a club and which provides for one or more of the following: boat storage; boat launching; sale of marine supplies and services; bait and tackle shops; marine fuel services; watercraft sales and related accessories; related mooring; docking and slip facilities; rental docking or tie-up services; related piers; and floats.
MARINE RAILWAYS. A pair of sloping tracks used to launch watercraft.
MARQUEE. A permanent structure other than a roof attached to, supported by, and projecting from a building and providing protection from natural elements.
MARQUEE SIGN. A sign attached to and made part of a marquee or any other similar projection from a building.
MEAN HIGH WATER. The average height of high waters over a 19-year period.
MEAN LOW WATER. The average height of low waters over a 19-year period.
MIGRANT OR SEASONAL WORKER HOUSING FACILITY. Housing provided by an employer for use by migrant or seasonal workers only. Housing offered to the general public is not considered to be MIGRANT OR SEASONAL WORKER HOUSING FACILITIES.
MOBILE HOME. A structure, transportable in one or more sections, which in the traveling mode is eight body feet or more in width or 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 therein that can be retracted when transported and subsequently expanded for additional capacity, or of two or more units separately transportable but designed to be joined and joined into one integral unit.
MONUMENT SIGN. A freestanding sign with a base affixed to the ground which measures at least two-thirds the horizontal length of the sign.
MOORING BUOY. An anchored floating device for the purpose of securing a water craft.
MULTIFAMILY DWELLING. A structure arranged or designated to be occupied by more than two families.
NONCONFORMING or NONCONFORMITY. A NONCONFORMING use is any lawful use, whether of a building or other structure or of a tract of land, which does not conform to any one or more of the applicable regulations of the zoning district in which it is located as provided by §§ 157.035 through 157.047, either on the effective date of this chapter or as a result of any subsequent amendment thereto. The casual, intermittent, temporary, or illegal use of land or buildings shall not be sufficient to establish the existence of a NONCONFORMING use, and the existence of a NONCONFORMING use on a part of a lot shall not be construed to establish a NONCONFORMING use on the entire lot.
NONCONFORMING SIGN. A sign that met all legal requirements when constructed but that is not in compliance with this chapter. An illegal sign is not a NONCONFORMING SIGN.
NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION. Pollution consisting of constituents such as sediment, nutrients, and organic and toxic substances from diffuse sources, such as runoff from agricultural and urban land development and use.
NOXIOUS WEEDS. Weeds that are difficult to control effectively, such as Johnsongrass, kudzu, and multiflora rose.
OFF-PREMISES SIGN. Any sign which is not located on the premises that it identifies or advertises.
OPEN SPACE. Any parcel or area of land or water essentially unimproved and set aside, dedicated, designated, or reserved for public or private use or enjoyment or for the use and enjoyment of owners and occupants of land adjoining or neighboring such OPEN SPACE; provided that such areas may be improved with only those buildings, structures, streets, and off-street parking and other improvements that are designed to be incidental to the natural openness of the land.
OUTDOOR STORAGE. The keeping, in an unroofed area, of any goods, junk, material, merchandise, or vehicles in the same place for more than 24 hours.
OVERLAY ZONING DISTRICTS. Zoning districts which extend on top of a base zoning district and are intended to protect certain critical features and resources or provide for desired community goals. Where the standards of the overlay and base zoning district are different, the more restrictive standard shall apply.
OWNER. The owner or owners of the freehold of the premises or lesser estate therein, a mortgagee or vendee in possession, assignee of rents, receiver, executor, trustee, lessee, or other person, firm, or corporation in control of a property.
PERC TEST (PERCOLATION TEST). A test designated to determine the ability of ground to absorb water, and used in determining the suitability of a soil for drainage or for the use of a septic system.
PERFORMANCE GUARANTEE. Any security, including cash, which may be accepted by the county to ensure installation of required subdivision and/or site plan improvements; provided that the county shall not require more than 10% of the total performance guarantee in cash.
PERMIT HOLDER. The person to whom a permit authorizing land-disturbing activities is issued or the person who certifies that the approved plan will be followed.
PERSON. Any individual, partnership, firm, association, joint venture, public or private corporation, trust, estate, commission, board, public or private institution, utility, cooperative, county, city, town, or other political subdivision of the state, any interstate body, or any other legal entity.
PERSONAL WATERCRAFT. A motorboat less than 16 feet in length which uses an inboard motor powering a jet pump, as its primary motive power and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside, the vessel.
(VA Code § 29.1-700)
PERVIOUS SURFACE. Any material that permits full or partial absorption of stormwater into previously unimproved land.
PIERS and DOCKS. Structures which abut the shoreline and are used as a landing or moorage place for commercial and pleasure craft.
PLAN-APPROVING AUTHORITY. The authority designated by the county ordinance as responsible for determining the consistency of a plan with this chapter and authorized to approve or deny said plan.
PLAN OF DEVELOPMENT. The process for site plan or subdivision plat review to ensure compliance with this chapter.
PLANNING COMMISSION. The County Planning Commission.
PLAT. A map or maps of a subdivision.
POLE SIGN. A freestanding sign with a base at least seven feet above the ground which is supported from the ground by a pole or a similar support structure.
PORTABLE SIGN. A sign that is not permanently affixed to a building, structure, or the ground or designed so as to not be permanently affixed to a building, structure, or the ground.
PRE-APPLICATION CONFERENCE. An initial meeting between developers and county representatives which affords developers the opportunity to present their proposals informally.
PRELIMINARY APPROVAL. The conferral of certain rights prior to final approval after specific elements of a development plan have been approved by the plan-approving agent or agreed upon by the agent and the applicant.
PRIMARY HIGHWAY. A highway designated as a state primary highway or U.S. highway by the State Department of Transportation.
PRIMARY SERVICE AREA. A defined region, not always coincidental with a municipality’s corporate boundary, that defines the geographical limit of government supplied public facilities and services.
PRIVATE AIRSTRIP. An area for landing aircraft that has been constructed for private use and which is not open to the general public.
PROJECTING SIGN. A sign which is supported by an exterior wall of a building and which is displayed perpendicular to the face of the building.
PROPERTY OWNERS’ ASSOCIATION. A community association, other than a condominium association, which is organized in a development in which individual owners share common interests in open space or facilities.
PRINCIPAL USE. The main use of land or structures as distinguished from a secondary or accessory use.
PUBLIC OPEN SPACE. An open space area conveyed or otherwise dedicated to a municipality, municipal agency, school board, state or county agency, or other public body for recreational or conservational uses.
PUBLIC WATER AND SEWER SERVICE OR SYSTEM. A water or sewer system owned and operated by a municipality or county, or owned and operated by a corporation approved by the governing body and properly chartered and certified by the State Corporation Commission, and subject to special regulations.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE. Any vehicle, with or without collapsible sides, designed, used, or maintained for use as a conveyance upon highways, either self-propelled or designed to be towed by another vehicle, and which is so designed and constructed as to permit occupancy thereof as a temporary dwelling or sleeping place for one or more persons. The term RECREATIONAL VEHICLE shall include the terms CAMPER, CAMPING TRAILER, TRAVEL TRAILER, SELF-PROPELLED MOTOR HOME, MOTOR HOME, CAMPER VEHICLE, and RV.
REGULATIONS. The whole body of regulations, text, charts, diagrams, notations, and references contained or referred to in this chapter.
RESIDENCE. A building or part of a building containing dwelling units, including one-family or two-family houses, and multiple dwellings. However, RESIDENCES do not include: such transient accommodation as hotels, motels, trailer camps, or mobile homes; dormitories, fraternity or sorority houses, monasteries, or convents; or nurses’ residences, sanitariums, nursing homes, or other similar living or sleeping accommodations.
RESIDENTIAL. Pertaining to a residence.
RESIDENTIAL DENSITY. The number of dwelling units per gross or net acre of land area as specified in this chapter, with gross acres including all the land area, including streets, easements, and open space portions of a development.
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AREA (RMA). That component of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area not classified as the resource protection area. RMAS include land types that, if improperly used or developed, have the potential for causing significant water quality degradation or for diminishing the functional value of the resource protection area.
RESOURCE PROTECTION AREA (RPA). The component of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area comprised of lands at or near the shoreline that have an intrinsic water quality value due to the ecological and biological processes they perform or are sensitive to impacts which may result in significant degradation to the quality of state waters.
RESOURCE PROTECTION AREA (RPA) BUFFER. An area of natural or established vegetation managed to protect other components of a resource protection area and state waters from significant degradation due to disturbances.
RESUBDIVISION. See SUBDIVISION.
RETAINING WALL. A structure erected between lands of different elevation to protect structures and/or to prevent the washing down or erosion of earth from the upper slope level.
RETENTION BASIN. A pond, pool, or basin used for the permanent storage of water runoff.
RIGHT-OF-WAY. A strip of land occupied or intended to be occupied by a street, crosswalk, railroad, road, electric transmission line, gas pipeline, water main, sanitary or storm sewer main, drainage ditch, shade trees, or for another special use.
RIGHT-OF-WAY LINE. A dividing line between a lot, tract, or parcel of land and a contiguous street.
ROADWAY. The portion of a street or highway available for and intended for use by motor vehicle traffic; generally the paved portion of the street or highway.
SCHOOL. Any place of instruction in any branch of knowledge having regular sessions with regularly employed instructors which teaches those subjects that are both fundamental and essential in general education and comparable in nature to the curriculum offerings of the public school system.
SCREEN. A structure or planting consisting of fencing, berms, and/or evergreen trees or shrubs providing a continuous view obstruction within a site or property.
SCS. Soil Conservation Service.
SECONDARY HIGHWAY. A highway designated as a state secondary highway by the State Department of Transportation.
SEDIMENTATION. The deposit of soil that has been transported from its site of origin by water, ice, wind, gravity, or other natural means as a product of erosion.
SEPTIC SYSTEM. An underground system with a septic tank used for the decomposition of domestic wastes.
SEPTIC TANK. A water-tight receptacle that receives the discharge of sewage.
SERVICE DRIVE. A minor street which is parallel to and adjacent to a major thoroughfare, and which provides access to abutting properties and restricts access to the major thoroughfare.
SETBACK. The horizontal distance between the street right-of-way line and the front line of a building or any projection thereof, excluding uncovered steps, or the horizontal distance between the side or rear line of a building or any projection thereof, excluding uncovered steps, and the side or rear lot line. SETBACK may also be specified from a designated physical feature such as a waterbody, beach, or wetland.
SEWER. Any pipe conduit used to collect and carry away sewage or stormwater runoff from the generating source to treatment plants or receiving streams.
SHORELINE. An area where fastland meets a waterbody.
SIGHT TRIANGLE. A triangular-shaped portion of land established at street intersections and entrances onto streets in which nothing is permitted to be erected, placed, planted, or allowed to grow in a manner that limits or obstructs the sight distance of motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians traversing or using the intersection or entrance. The protected sight distance area is the triangle with legs that are the intersecting flow lines of two streets or an entrance/exit and a street at an intersection. Where local streets meet (or entrance/exit with a local street), the legs shall extend 35 feet away from the intersection of the flow lines. Where the intersection is with a collector or arterial street, the legs shall be 45 feet from the intersection of the flow lines.
SIGN. Any writing (including letter, word, or numeral); pictorial representation (including illustration or decoration); emblem (including device, symbol, or trademark); flag (including banner or pennant); or any other figure of similar character, which is a structure or any part thereof, or is attached to, painted on, or in any other manner represented on a building or other structure, and is used to announce, direct attention to, or advertise.
SILVICULTURE. The development and/or maintenance of a forest or wooded preserve.
SITE PLAN. The development plan for a land-disturbing activity or project on which is shown the existing and proposed conditions as required which may include topography, vegetation, drainage, floodplains, wetlands, waterways, location and bulk of buildings, density of development, open space, public facilities, landscaping, structures and signs, and such other information as reasonably may be required in order that an informed decision can be made by the plan-approving authority. For certain projects such as multifamily or multi-tenanted facilities, the term is used synonymously with SUBDIVISION PLAT, PRELIMINARY AND FINAL.
SKETCH PLAN/PLAT. A preliminary presentation or SKETCH PLAN/PLAT and attendant documentation of a proposed subdivision or a site plan of sufficient accuracy to be used for the purpose of discussion and classification.
SLOPE. The degree of deviation of a surface from the horizontal, usually expressed in percent or degrees.
SPECIAL EXCEPTION PERMIT. A permit issued by the plan-approving authority which must be acquired before a special exception use can be constructed.
SPECIAL EXCEPTION USE. A use permitted in a particular zoning district only upon a showing that such use in a specified location will comply with the intent and purpose of the zoning district and this chapter.
SPOT ZONING. Rezoning of a lot or parcel of land to benefit an owner for a use incompatible with surrounding uses and not for the purpose or effect of furthering the Comprehensive Plan.
STATE WATERS. All waters on the surface and under the ground wholly or partially within or bordering the state or within its jurisdiction.
STORMWATER DETENTION. A provision for the temporary impoundment of stormwater runoff and the controlled release of such runoff during and after a flood or storm.
STORMWATER RETENTION. A provision for the permanent impoundment of water which may permit the controlled release of water during and after a flood or storm.
STREET. A public or private thoroughfare which affords the principal means of access to abutting properties, and whether designated as a freeway, expressway, thoroughfare, highway, road, parkway, avenue, boulevard, lane, place, circle, or however otherwise designated.
STREET WIDTH. The horizontal distance between street lines measured perpendicular to the street centerline.
STRUCTURE. Anything constructed or erected on the ground or which is attached to something located on the ground. STRUCTURES include buildings, radio and TV towers, sheds, and permanent signs. It excludes vehicles, sidewalks, and paving.
SUBDIVIDE. The process of dealing with land so as to establish a subdivision as defined herein.
SUBDIVIDER. Any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, estate, trust, or any other group or combination, acting as a unit, dividing or proposing to divide land so as to constitute a subdivision as defined herein, and including any agent of the SUBDIVIDER.
(1) The division of any tract or parcel of land into two or more tracts, parcels, lots, or building sites, for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of transfer of ownership or for development; provided, however, that the following, if no new streets are created or existing streets changed, shall not be considered SUBDIVISIONS within the meaning of this chapter and therefore are exempted from application of the design standards and review procedures of this chapter:
(a) The sale or exchange of parcels between adjoining property owners where such sale or exchange does not create additional building sites or create a lot or parcel which does not meet the minimum area and dimensional requirements of this or other county ordinances;
(b) The combination or recombination of portions of previously subdivided lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots comply with the minimum area and dimensional requirements of this and other county ordinances;
(c) The division of a tract of land in order that one or more of the resulting parcels may be used as part of a well lot, public utility right-of-way, or other public or private right-of-way other than a street, provided no additional building lots are created;
(d) The partition of lands by court order;
(e) Where a viable dwelling unit exists, at the time of adoption of this chapter, on a large tract of property, a lot may be created to include the dwelling unit. Such a lot must meet the maximum area and dimensional requirements of this or other county ordinances. An existing legal right-of-way will be sufficient to provide access to the lot as long as the lot created is precluded from future subdivision by deed restrictions; and
(f) Divisions of large tracts of property where the resultant parcels shall be used for agricultural, forestal, or other undisturbed open space provided such parcels are served by a right-of-way with a minimum width of 25 feet. The plats and deeds for such parcels shall show the parcels are not for residential or other use except as aforestated.
(2) If new streets are created or existing streets changed, the project shall be considered a SUBDIVISION notwithstanding the above; and
(3) The term SUBDIVISION shall include RESUBDIVISION, and, where appropriate to the context, shall relate to the process of subdividing or to the land subdivided, and shall include establishment of any land area as a common element, limited or otherwise, in connection with a condominium or similar project.
SUBDIVISION, MAJOR. A subdivision resulting in the division of any tract or parcel of land into five or more tracts, parcels, lots, or building sites. Family subdivisions shall not be considered MAJOR SUBDIVISIONS.
SUBDIVISION, MINOR. A subdivision resulting in the division of any tract or parcel of land into four or fewer tracts, parcels, lots, or building sites.
TEMPORARY SIGN. A sign that is displayed for a specified period of time.
TIDAL SHORE or SHORE. Land contiguous to a tidal body of water between the mean low water
level and the mean high water level.
TIDAL WETLANDS. Vegetated and non-vegetated wetlands as defined in VA Code § 28.2-1300.
TIDELAND. The area between mean high water and mean low water that is alternately exposed and submerged due to tidal action.
TOWNHOUSE. A one-family dwelling in a row of at least three such units in which each unit has its own front and rear access to the outside, no unit is located over another unit, and each unit is separated from any other unit by one of more common fire-resistant walls.
TRANSPORTATION. Any moving of earth materials from one place to another, other than such movement incidental to grading, when such a movement results in destroying the vegetative ground cover either by tracking or the buildup of earth materials to the extent that erosion and sedimentation will result from the soil or earth materials over which such TRANSPORTATION occurs.
TRIBUTARY STREAM. Any perennial stream that is so depicted on the most recent U.S. Geological Survey 7-1/2 minute topographic quadrangle map (scale 1:24,000).
UNDEVELOPED LAND. Land in its natural state before development.
USE. Any purpose for which a building or other structure or lot may be designed, arranged, intended, maintained, or occupied, and/or any activity, occupation, business, or operation carried on, or intended to be carried on, in a building or other structure or on a lot.
VEGETATION. Area of natural or established ground cover which allows the natural infiltration of water into the soil. VEGETATED BUFFER AREAS shall include, but are not limited to, those areas of any plant material, grassy ground cover, woody vegetation, bush and shrubs, and the like.
WALL SIGN. A sign painted on or attached to a wall of a building and parallel to the wall.
WATER-DEPENDENT FACILITY. A development of land that cannot exist outside of the resource protection area and must be located on the shoreline by reason of the intrinsic nature of its operation. These FACILITIES include, but are not limited to: ports; the intake and outfall structures of power plants, water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, and storm sewers; marinas and other boat docking structures; beaches and other public water-oriented recreation areas; and fisheries or other marine resources facilities.
WAYSIDE STAND. A booth or stall no larger than 300 square feet located on a farm from which produce and farm products originating from the premises are sold to the general public.
WETLANDS, NONTIDAL. Those wetlands other than tidal wetlands that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to § 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1344, as amended.
YARD. The portion of a lot extending open and unobstructed from the lowest level to the sky along the entire length of a lot line, and from the lot line for a depth or width set forth in the applicable district YARD regulations.
YARD, FRONT. A yard extending along the full length of a front lot line. In the case of a corner lot, any yard extending along the full length of a street line shall be considered a FRONT YARD.
YARD LINE, FRONT. A line drawn parallel to a front lot line at a distance therefrom equal to the depth of a required front yard.
YARD LINE, REAR. A line drawn parallel to a rear lot line at a distance therefrom equal to the depth of a required rear yard.
YARD, REAR. A yard extending for the full length of a rear lot line.
YARD, SIDE. A yard extending along a side lot line from the required front yard (or from the front lot line if no front yard is required) to the required rear yard (or to the rear lot line, if no rear yard is required). In the case of a corner lot, any yard which is not a front yard shall be considered a SIDE YARD.
ZONING MAP. The map or maps, which are a part of this chapter, and delineate the boundaries of zone districts.
(Ord. passed 11-9-1995; Ord. passed 6-12-1997; Ord. passed 6-10-1999; Ord. passed 11-13-2003; Ord. passed 1-13-2005; Ord. passed 12-8-2005; Ord. passed 4-13-2006; Ord. passed 6-8-2006; Ord. passed 11-13-2008)