Last Updated: 2018-07-31

Richmond VA > Planning and Development Review > Land Use Administration

Last Updated: 2020-10-21

City Of Richmond
** COVID-19 UPDATE - Please Read **

City Hall, including Land Use Administration in Rooms 510/511, is closed to the public until further notice but communication with Land Use Administration staff is possible via e-mail at or by telephone at 804-646-6304.

New Land Use Administration applications can be submitted via email or via Microsoft OneDrive. The Online Permit Portal will continue to be available for submitting Plan of Development (POD) applications:

Limited plan review will continue by staff.

Commission meetings for the month of March have been cancelled and future meetings are subject to cancellation due to COVID-19. Please refer to the city’s legislative calendar for information on meeting cancellations:

The City of Richmond Online Permit Portal (OPP)

  • Customers can register, apply for plans, and search permits using the Online Permit Portal link.
  • More information on registering and utilizing the Online Portal can be found on the OPP web page.

To promote orderly development, every parcel within the city has a zoning designation that governs its use. These uses are defined in the official zoning ordinance supported by the official zoning map.

The Land Use Administration Division processes required applications for by-right development. Land Use Administration staff is the point of contact for these applications and coordinates their review with other city agencies that may be impacted by the development proposals. These applications include:

  • Plan of Development (POD) Certain uses and features permitted in certain districts require a Plan of Development to be approved by the Director of Planning and Development Review prior to the issuance of any building permits for such use.
  • Wireless Plan of Development A POD is required for any new construction, conversion, enlargement, co-location, or reconstruction of an existing structure for a wireless communication facility.
  • Subdivision (Preliminary AND Final) Both a Preliminary & Final Subdivision Application are required from anyone who wants to divide, subdivide, or re-subdivide a parcel of land within the corporate limits of the city for the purpose of transferring ownership of any one or more of such parcels, or for the purpose of the erection of buildings or other structures on any one or more of such parcels.

In some instances, the zoning regulations in a given district are not conducive to the proposed or existing development of the area. In instances where the underlying zoning regulations cannot be met, there are a number of traditional methods of providing relief from zoning regulations.

The Land Use Administration Division provides advice and analysis for proposed developments that may not be permitted by current underlying zoning regulations. Land Use Administration works with property owners or developers and the affected neighborhood associations to ensure that the proposed development meets the goals found in the Richmond's Master Plan.

Land Use Administration also works with the City Planning Commission and the City Council to ensure that the conditions for granting approval are met.

The following is a list of Land Use Applications that the City Council is authorized to use to provide relief from the underlying zoning regulations after receiving a recomendation from the City Planning Commision :

  • Conditional Use Permits This is a process by which a specific use is listed as permitted within a zoning district, but still must be reviewed by City Council to determine if the requirements and criteria specified in the ordinance are met.
  • Community Unit Plan (CUP) The City Charter specifically authorizes the use of this process for the development of sites containing 10 or more acres in a way that does not comply with underlying zoning, subject to the approval of an ordinance, which outlines the general character and density of the proposed development.
  • RezoningsThis involves the changing of the zoning designation applicable to particular properties. Once rezoned, a property may be used pursuant to the regulations applicable in the district without any further restrictions.
  • Conditional Rezonings This involves the changing of the zoning designation applicable to particular properties subject to certain proffered conditions that are more restrictive than the underlying zoning designation.
  • Special Use Permits (SUP) The city of Richmond's version of the special use permit process may authorize any use at any location subject to specified conditions. This power is unique to Richmond and should not be confused with the traditional special use permit used in other jurisdictions.

To view information about pending Land Use applications, and view a map of current Land Use projects, please review the current Land Use Projects map.

The Land Use Administration Division also provides staff support to the City Planning Commission by preparing and making recommendations on Land Use applications and other items referred to the Commission by City Council, such as

  • the Capital Improvement Project budget
  • Street and alley closings
  • Encroachments
  • Acquisition or sale of city property

The Land Use Administration Division also prepares zoning text amendments and engages in comprehensive updates of the Zoning Ordinance, and studies and recommends neighborhood and citywide rezonings.

Land Use applications may be downloaded. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the staff of Land Use Administration at (804)646-6304 for advice prior to submitting an application.

Contact Information:

Land Use Administration
  - Planning and
    Development Review
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St., Room 511
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: (804)  646-6304
Fax: (804)  646-5789

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If you have any questions, please call the City's Customer Care Center at 3-1-1 or (804) 646-7000

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