Environmental & Land Development Review

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Duties
The Department’s Environmental and Land Development component administers the County's plan of development,  land disturbing, and stormwater ordinances. It also provides inspection services and monitors compliance of land disturbing activity. The department assists staff and citizens with environmental concerns or questions.
 
Plan of Development
The Plan of Development (POD) review process ensures that certain types of development meet the applicable requirements of the zoning, subdivision, building, and fire codes and ordinances.  A Plan of Development is a multiphase process during which the applicant submits for review and approval drawings of a property that depict proposed building layout, water and sewer lines, roads, drainage, landscaping and other necessary improvements. The proposed use of the property must be permitted by the current zoning classification. The POD is reviewed and approved administratively by staff after reviews by Environmental Engineering, Zoning, VDOT, Public Utilities, Building Official, and the Fire Marshal.   If required, a POD must be approved prior to issuance of any building permit associated with the POD approval.

A POD is generally required for: 


  • Any commercial building or structure that requires a building permit
  • Any development that requires infrastructure or parking improvements
  • Any multi-family/mixed use development
Land Disturbance Permits
A Land Disturbing Permit (LDP) is a permit issued by the County to ensure proper land disturbing activities. Land disturbance means clearing, digging, or stockpiling dirt or topsoil.  Improper land disturbance could result in soil erosion and damage to your property, adjacent properties and County waterways.


State law requires that any land disturbance over 10,000 sq. feet obtain a land disturbance permit. There are exceptions such as agricultural clearing, home landscaping, and utility work.

County issued residential building permits cover the land disturbing activity for all single family dwellings; therefore, a separate permit is not necessary.

A Land Disturbing Permit is required for all new roads. When subdividing property, a county standard road is required for all minor subdivisions and a VDOT standard road is required for all major subdivisions. All new commercial buildings and parking lots require land disturbance permits.


Stormwater Management Permit
In 2014, the State passed legislation requiring review of both quantity and quality of storm water. You must obtain a Stormwater Management Permit if:

  • Construction activities result in land disturbance equal to or greater than one (1) acre
  • Construction activities that are part of a larger common plan or development or sale that ultimately result in land disturbance equal to or greater than one (1) acre. A larger common plan of development or sale is a contiguous area where separate and distinct construction activities may be taking place at different times on different schedules. A permit is required if one or more acres of land will be disturbed, regardless of the size of the individually owned or developed sites. For example, if a developer buys a 20-acre lot and builds roads with the intention of building homes or other structures in the future, or if the land is parceled off or sold, and construction occurs on plots that are less than an acre by separate, independent builders, these activities would still be subject to stormwater permitting requirements. A larger common plan of development or sale applies to various types of land development including but not limited to residential, commercial or industrial use.
  • Click here to determine if you need a Stormwater Management Permit.

Stormwater Permit for Single-Family Detached Residential Structures
Instead of obtaining a full storm water management permit, in certain circumstances, the State allows for single-family detached structures to submit an agreement in lieu of storm water plans.


  • Single-family detached residential structures that disturb less than one acre of land and that are not part of a larger common plan of development or sale (e.g., subdivision) currently under construction, including additions or modifications to existing single-family detached residential structures, do not require any storm water management permits nor do they require coverage under the general permit from the State.
  • Single-family detached residential structures that disturb less than one acre of land and that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale (e.g., subdivision) currently under construction where the SFD is not being built by the same party listed on the subdivision VSMP, require coverage under general permit from the State. At the time of building permit application, the applicant shall complete the Single-Family Agreement in Lieu of a Stormwater Management Plan and a $200 County fee will be assessed. Operators of these land-disturbing activities are authorized to discharge under the general permit and are not required to submit a separate storm water management permit or the State portion of the permit fee. Operators shall comply with the terms and conditions of the general permit including the preparation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
  • Any single-family detached residential structures that disturb equal to or greater than one acre of land and the SFD is not being built by the same party listed on the subdivision’s current VSMP, require coverage under the general permit from the State. At the time of building permit application, the applicant shall complete the Single-Family Agreement in Lieu of a Stormwater Management Plan and a $200 County fee will be assessed. Operators of these land-disturbing activities are authorized to discharge under the general permit and are not required to submit a separate storm water management permit or the State portion of the permit fee. Operators shall comply with the terms and conditions of the general permit including the preparation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
  • Any single-family detached residential structures that disturb equal to or greater than five (5) acres of land requires a separate storm water management permit from the County
  • Click here to determine if you need a Stormwater Management Permit.