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Retaining Walls

*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 via zoningcounters@pwcgov.org beginning September 21, 2020. All submissions must be in PDF format.
    • Residential: For residential homeowners, we continue to accept zoning applications:
      • in person at the zoning counter window;
      • via drop-off inside the Development Services Building at the Early Assistance Desk, or;
      • by US Mail or courier service to: Prince William County, ATTN: Zoning Counters, 5 County Complex Court, Suite 180, Prince William, VA 22192.

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.


To apply for a retaining wall in a residential district applicant shall submit the following in person:

  • Three (3) copies of a house location survey plat to scale;
  • Processing fee in cash, check, or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Discover) in accordance with the current Fee Schedule.
  • 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 following setbacks:         
Minimum Required Setbacks
 Lot Size
Front
Side
Rear
(a) Less than 10,000 square feet
15 feet
5 feet
8 feet
(b) 10,000 square feet to one acre
25 feet
6 feet
10 feet
(c) Greater than one acre
35 feet
10 feet
15 feet
  • Written authorization from the Department of Public Works, Watershed Branch is required if the retaining wall is constructed in a Resource Protection Area (visit the GIS County Mapper to view RPA and other overlay districts) and must be obtained prior to application for zoning approval. The Department of Public Works, Watershed Branch is located at 5 County Complex Court, Suite 170 in Prince William. The Branch may be contacted at 703-792-7070;

  • Applicant is to show height and location, and provide an elevation of the retaining wall to scale on the house location survey plat;

  • Approval may also be required from the Development Services Department, Building Development Division, after obtaining zoning approval.
  •  

    To apply for a retaining wall in a commercial district:retaining wall CROPPED.jpg

    • Plan approval is required to be obtained from Development Services; The plan shall include the height, location, and elevation; For more details as to the minimum plan submittal requirements contact the Development Services Department at 703-792-6830;
    • Applicant to provide a building permit release letter and three copies of the approved plan to the Zoning Counters;
    • Processing fee in cash, check, or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Discover) in accordance with the current Fee Schedule;
    • Approval may also be required from the Development Services Department, Building Development Division, after obtaining zoning approval.

     

    For more information on retaining walls, call 703-792-6830.

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