Non-Conforming Use, Lot, or Structure

To apply for verification of a non-conforming use, lot, or structures, submit the following to the Zoning Administration Division of the Planning Office:

  1. Completed Application for Verification of Non-conforming Use, Lot, and Structure.
  2. Processing fee payable in cash or check in accordance with the current Zoning Fee Schedule.
  3. At Least two of the following pieces of information applicable to the request will be required, one of which must be an item identified by an asterisk:
    • *Tax Payment Records
    • *Letters or bills from utility companies
    • *Dated photographs
    • *License(s)
    • *Bills
    • *Receipts from customers/venders (minimum of 1 receipt for each year since existence of nonconformity)
    • Deeds applicable to the property (original deed of subdivision for verification lots)
    • Approved plats/plans
    • Building and/or land use permits
    • Lease agreements containing descriptions of the property uses
    • Sketch or plan indicating area occupied by structure and/or use
    • Sworn affidavits from persons with knowledge of the use
  4. Supporting documents as noted on the following check list:
    • For Non-conforming Uses: Provide date that use(s) began and where they occur on the property.
    • For Non-conforming Lots: Provide the date that the lot was initially created (date of recorded subdivision)
    • For Non-conforming Structures: Provide date(s) that the structure(s) were built.

Non-Conforming Signs

To apply for verification of a non-conforming sign, submit the following to the Zoning Administration Division of the Planning Office:

  1. Completed Application for Verification of Non-Conforming Sign(s).
  2. Processing fee payable in cash or check in accordance with the current Zoning Fee Schedule.
  3. At least two of the following pieces of information applicable to the request will be required, one of which must be an item identified by an asterisk:
    • *Plats/Plans - approved site plan showing the location of each sigh and setbacks from the property line (for freestanding signs only)  
    • *Sign drawings to scale showing dimensions, location of the sign(s) on the building, building or unit facade length, projection from the wall, type of illumination, color, sign content, and installation method
    • Documentation of the date that the sign was installed
    • Building permits for the sign(s)
    • Electrical permits for the sign(s)
    • Dated photographs of the sign(s)
    • Dated invoice from a sign vender showing information about the sign(s)
    • Sworn affidavits from persons with knowledge of the sign on the property
    • Deeds applicable to the property 
    •   
32-601.10. "Non-Conforming Use," "Lot", "Structure" and "Sign" Defined
 
What is a non-conforming Use? Any use that was lawful on the date of enactment of the Prince William County zoning ordinance, or amendment thereto, which has been continued although otherwise rendered unlawful by such enactment or amendment. Any use that was unlawful on the date of enactment of the zoning ordinance, or amendment thereto shall remain unlawful and shall not be a "non-conforming use."
 
What is a non-conforming Lot? Any lot that was lawful on the date of enactment of the Prince William County zoning ordinance, or amendment thereto, which has been continued in existence although otherwise rendered unlawful by such enactment or amendment thereto. Any lot that was unlawful on the date of enactment of the zoning ordinance, or amendment thereto shall remain unlawful and shall not be a "non-conforming lot." A lot is non-conforming if one or more of the following standards are not met as a result of enactment or amendment of this chapter: lot area and lot width/frontage.
 
What is a non-conforming Structure? Any structure, except signs, that was lawful on the date of enactment of the Prince William County zoning ordinance, or amendment thereto, which has continued in existence although otherwise rendered unlawful by such enactment or amendment thereto. Any structure that was unlawful on the date of enactment of the zoning ordinance, or amendment thereto shall remain unlawful and shall not be a "non-conforming structure." A structure is nonconforming if one or more of the following standards are not met as a result of enactment or amendment of this chapter:
  • Setbacks, Yards, Buffers
  • Chesapeake Bay
  • Storm water management
  • Open space
  • Lot coverage
  • Tree canopy
  • Height
  • Floor Area Ratio
  • Provisional Use Permit (PUP)/Special Use Permit (SUP)
What is a non-conforming sign? Any sign that was lawful on the date of enactment of the Prince William County zoning ordinance, or amendment thereto which has continued in existence although otherwise rendered unlawful by such enactment or amendment thereto. Any sign that was unlawful on the date of enactment of the zoning ordinance or amendment thereto shall remain unlawful and shall bot be a "non-conforming sign". A sign is non-conforming if one or more of the following standards are not met as a result of enactment or amendment of the zoning ordinance: sign type, sign size, number of signs permitted per lot, maximum height for freestanding signs, minimum setback for freestanding signs, and district where signs are permitted.
 
Note: After verification of the lawful status of a non-conforming use, lot or structure, the owner/operator shall file a report with the Zoning Administrator on the Non-conforming Use Verification Application form, showing that the non-conforming use, lot or structure has not ceased for two (2) year period, or been abandoned, and that the use is being operated in accordance with the decision rendered as part of the nonconforming use verification. To apply for recertification of the nonconforming use, submit a completed Non-Conforming Use or Sign Re-Verification Application and supporting documentation as noted on the document submission check list. 
 
For more information on non-conforming use, lot, or structure, call Zoning at (703)792-7615.