Last Updated: 2018-07-31

Richmond VA > Planning and Development Review > Zoning Division

Last Updated: 2020-10-26

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COVID-19 UPDATE: July 15, 2020

Update Regarding Permitting and Inspection Services


The Permit Center has transitioned to a fully electronic service model and will no longer be providing in-person processing of permits and payments. As a result of this change our lobby, located in City Hall Room 108, will remain closed to the public except for customers who have made a prescheduled in-office appointment. To schedule an appointment please e-mail the appropriate address below or directly contact the staff member that you are working with. Appointments are intended to be used on a limited basis for processes that require in person interaction that cannot be duplicated by electronic means. Appointments will not be made for application processing or payment services.


To schedule an appointment or for customer service inquiries e-mail:

Permits and Inspections
Zoning

PDRPermitsAndInspections@richmondgov.com
PDRZoningAdministration@richmondgov.com


Permits and Inspections (P&I)

Permitting and Plan Review:

All services are now being processed through one of two online gateways: the City of Richmond’s Online Permitting Portal (OPP) and our OneDrive document processing system. Processing times for some application types may take as long as 2-3 weeks. Applications and plans are being reviewed in the order in which they are received. We appreciate your patience during this time of change. We anticipate a significant improvement in this area over the next 30-60 days.

Mail and Fax Services:

Applications and payments received by mail are still being accepted, however, we are not currently conducting business by fax.

Residential Trade Applications:

The On-Line Permit Portal (OPP) should be used for Residential Trade Permits (Building, Electrical, Gas Piping, Mechanical, Plumbing), Certificates of Zoning Compliance (CZC’s) and Plan of Developments (POD’s), click here.

Permits Requiring Plan Review and Other Services:

Microsoft OneDrive should be used to submit commercial applications and plans electronically. Other services accepted through OneDrive are permit extensions, cancellations, modifications, contractor changes, amendments to the scope of work, responses to plan review comments and post permit revisions. For information on how to register and use Microsoft OneDrive, click here.

Inspections:
Field inspections are continuing for all project types. Inspections within occupied buildings are being conducted virtually or by a third party inspector per our 48-hour third party inspection policy. Please limit the number of contractors or site representatives meeting an inspector on a jobsite to only one. Please remember to practice safe social distancing and to wear personal protective equipment when meeting an inspector.

Virtual Inspections:

We are putting a greater emphasis on virtual inspections across all disciplines. Use this service option to complete an inspection remotely with a City inspector using Facetime or Microsoft Teams. For more information, click here.

Third Party Inspections:

Limited: Customers may use our limited 48-hour third party inspection policy for individual inspections when the building official is unable to perform a scheduled inspection within two working days of a request or an agreed upon date or if authorized for other circumstances in the building official’s written policy. Third party inspections shall be requested, and the inspection reports submitted, in accordance with the City’s official policy. For more information contact david.alley@richmondgov.com and/or visit: thirdpartyinspections@richmondgov.com

Full: Customers may use our third party program in part or in full to obtain third party inspection and plan review services. Please click here for more information.

Property Maintenance/Code Enforcement (PMCE):
The Property Maintenance lobby will remain closed to the public until further notice, however, services are ongoing. Citizens may continue to report code enforcement issues within their community by using RVA311 or calling the main number at (804) 646-6398. If a physical meeting is needed, it will be scheduled through an appointment and appropriate “social distancing” measures will be followed.

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We will continue to monitor and respond to the ongoing status of the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers are asked to please follow the guidelines and precautions recommended by the CDC as outlined in this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html


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.


The Zoning Administration Division provides a variety of functions related to permitting and planning services. 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. Zoning staff review permits to promote the orderly development of every parcel within the city as it relates to the individual use of the property.

Zoning staff is responsible for enforcing the zoning ordinance primarily through the review of building permits, sign permits, and Certificate of Occupancy applications.

When certain conditions of the zoning ordinance are not or cannot be met, such as front or side yards (setbacks), required parking, use of a structure or other features of properties, Zoning staff coordinates the Administrative Variance process or coordinates and prepares necessary documentation for monthly Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) meeting agendas for Variances, Special Exceptions and appeals of a decision of the Zoning Administrator.

Projects that require review and approval by either the Commission of Architectural Review (CAR), City Planning Commission (CPC), or Urban Design Committee (UDC) may also require concurrent zoning approval.

Complaints and concerns from the public, city Administration and City Council related to potential zoning violations are investigated by zoning staff. Code enforcement issues include:

  • the illegal use or density of property
  • operation of businesses without required permits
  • fences that are too high
  • auto repair operations
  • unscreened dumpsters
  • illegal or excessive signage
  • parking of commercial vehicles in residentially-zoned areas

The staff takes appropriate actions to obtain voluntary compliance with the zoning regulations or, if necessary, initiates court proceedings to force compliance.

Possible violations of the Zoning Ordinance can be reported to the Zoning Administrator. File a zoning violation using the automated request process. Providing a numbered street address of the property and information on the nature of the violation would assist in the review. Personal information does not need to be provided.

Zoning related brochures and documents

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