*COVID-19 change in zoning approval application process
*There is now a Zoning Counter window open to accept zoning approval applications from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Updated: September 21, 2020
Updates to Zoning Application Processes Now in Effect
In immediate effect, all homeowners, industry, developers, contractors, and permit runners with zoning submissions are asked to submit applications as follows:
Industry/Developers/Contractors and Permit Runners: A new option only for industry/developers/contractors and permit runners:
The Zoning Branch is now accepting ALL TYPES of zoning applications electronically
beginning September 21, 2020. All submissions must be in PDF format.
Residential: For residential homeowners, we continue to accept zoning applications:
We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience. We are working to expand electronic services to all customers. Until that is possible, we are monitoring commercial workloads to ensure we have the capacity to increase services to residents without generating a backlog and poor customer service.
Your submission should include the zoning application found here:
As well as the following documents and payment:
A copy of your plat with location of structure shown with setback distances from property lines.
The fee in the form of a check, made out to "Prince William County" OR we are now accepting credit card payment over the phone. No cash!
If no check is included in mailed or dropped off applications a Zoning Technician will contact you for payment.
Please be sure to provide a contact name, phone number, and email address on all correspondence so we can contact you if necessary.
For questions please call 703-792-6830 to leave a message for a Zoning Counter Technician who will return your call.
Zoning approval is required for fences of any height in all residential districts.
To apply for Zoning approval for a fence in a residential or an agricultural zoning district, submit the following:
Fences, except those used in connection with a public use, are governed by the following standards:
- Electrified fences (other than underground fences) and fences using barbed wire shall be prohibited in all residential districts and on agricultural lots less than three (3) acres.
- In all R-4, R-6, Residential Planned Community (RPC), and Planned Mixed Residential (PMR) zoning districts, the following conditions shall apply:
- Fences shall not exceed six (6) feet in height within the side and rear yards unless the fence is set back from the property line with the ratio of one (1) foot for every one (1) foot in height of the fence.
- On corner lots, fences along the property line of the side yard on the street side of the lot shall not exceed 42 inches in height unless the fence is set back from the property line with the ratio of one (1) foot for every one (1) foot in height of the fence.
- Fences within the front yard shall not exceed 42 inches in height
- Fences located within the front yard (or on a corner lot, with both the front and side yards adjacent to a street) shall not be of a solid or opaque design of construction, except for fences exceeding 42 inches in height within the side yard of a corner lot adjacent to a street in accordance with above.
- Fences adjacent to a pedestrian facility shall be setback a minimum of two (2) feet from the edge of the facility or the property line, whichever is greater.
- Fences within the front yard, or the side yard of a corner lot adjacent to a street at or within 10 feet of a driveway shall not exceed 42 inches in height and shall not be of a solid or opaque design of construction, unless constructed in accordance to above.
- In all other residential districts and on agricultural lots less than three (3) acres, fences shall not exceed six (6) feet in height unless the fence is set back from the property line with the ratio of one (1) foot for every one (1) foot in height of the fence.
- Fences shall not be of temporary or semi-temporary materials, such as a silt or non-fabricated plastic, except for erosion or siltation controls during construction.
- Retaining walls over two (2) feet in height shall be permitted under the requirements of the Design and Construction Standards Manual, and if greater than four (4) feet in height shall meet the setbacks established in Section 32-300.06.3 of the Zoning Ordinance.
- Fences located between the building line (closest to the water) of the principal structure and the waterfront of the waterfront lots shall be limited to a height of 42 inches above natural grade and shall not be of opaque construction.
- On waterfront lots of less than two (2) acres, fences located between the dwelling unit building line closest to the water and the waterfront shall be limited to a height of 42 inches, except for fences surrounding swimming pools, in which case the minimum fence height required by the building code shall not be exceeded. Fences on waterfront lots in all residential and agricultural districts shall not be of opaque construction.
- No fencing shall be erected so as to restrict access by emergency equipment to any building.
- Fences, landscaping, and other improvements shall be located and maintained in a manner that does not obscure sight distances required by Section 600 of the Design and Construction Standards Manual.
- For fences located in a storm drainage easement, written authorization from Public Works Watershed Management (703-792-7070) is required prior to issuance of a Zoning approval.
- For fences located in any other easement, the property owner should obtain permission from the easement holder.
- Fencing shall not be located in a sight distance easement, the property owner should obtain permission from the easement holder.
- Fencing shall not be located in a sight distance easement or otherwise restrict clear sight distance.
- Fences that do not exceed six (6) feet in height are not required to obtain a building permit from the Development Service Division (but all fences must obtain Zoning approval).
- Fences that exceed six (6) feet are required to obtain a building permit from Building Development. Refer to Building a Fence for more information.
To apply for Zoning approval for a commercial fence:
For more information on Fences, call (703)792-6830.