Arlington’s Zoning Enforcement Section, a part of the Zoning Division, strives to be the regional leaders in zoning enforcement, implementation and community outreach. We work as a team for the community to ensure that compliance with the County’s Vision for land use is applied fairly, diligently and responsibly through monitoring and enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance.
Codes We Enforce
We enforce the regulations found in the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance. This includes what buildings may be constructed on a given parcel of land, the placement and height of structures, the land uses and density of development permitted, the number of parking spaces required, the size and placement of signs, and other land use regulations.
Codes We Don’t Enforce
Zoning Enforcement does not enforce noise, parking in the public right of way, property or building maintenance (except where they may be a part of site plan or use permit conditions), care of premises concerns, tenant/landlord relations, playground equipment, animal nuisances including leash requirements and pet waste pick-up, recycling, housing voucher inspections and administration, water or air quality issues, mold inspection and testing, broken parking meters/parking ticket issues, unwanted circulars, food safety concerns, fire prevention issues or any public facility or life safety issues subject to be addressed by the police. Learn more about the Code Enforcement department.
Arlington Zoning Enforcement inspectors are certified by the International Code Council. They conduct inspections both proactively and in response to customer complaints to ensure compliance with the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance as well as County-approved special exception use permit and site plan conditions. Zoning inspections are also required during the Certificate of Occupancy permitting process. The Zoning Enforcement Section conducts weekly sign surveys by patrolling assigned areas to ensure proper sign use and placement to protect the safety and welfare of the public by minimizing hazards and distractions to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Inspections and Violations
Complaints and proactive (or “pick up”) violations are seen as an opportunity to educate the public regarding zoning requirements. The use of land and the placement and use of structures on the land are dictated by the zoning district in which the property is located and the history of the property. This requires that zoning concerns be researched and investigated to determine if zoning violation(s) exist. In general this is done within 10 to 14 days and may result initially in the issuance of a verbal warning, courtesy letter or warning ticket. This provides an opportunity for the violator to correct the violation voluntarily before any formal enforcement activity is required. Voluntary compliance should occur within 10 days.
If voluntary compliance does not happen, then a formal violation notice is issued requiring compliance within a specified time frame, generally within 10 days. Failure to comply with a violation notice may result in the issuance of a monetary fine for civil penalties or prosecution as a criminal misdemeanor, depending on the nature of the violation.
We recognize that extenuating circumstances do occur; therefore the compliance deadline for a violation notice may be extended provided that requests for extensions are presented in writing to the issuing zoning inspector prior to the compliance deadline. Request for extension of the compliance deadline can be made by calling 703-228-3232 between the hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or emailing us. In addition, any person aggrieved by an order, requirement, or determination made by a zoning inspector in the administration or enforcement of the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance may appeal such decision within 10 to 30 days to the Board of Zoning Appeals using this appeal application.
Reporting a Violation
To make a complaint, call 703-228-3232 between the hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or email us. All complaints will be taken and addressed by one of our administrative staff personnel.
You can help in our investigation of your concern by:
- Reporting to staff the correct address where the problem is located. Having the exact address is critical and most helpful to inspectors when investigating the complaint.
- Clearly state the problem as it deals with Zoning Enforcement. Give specific details about the problem or concerns as it relates to the nature of your call. Try to provide information regarding the best time to witness the zoning infraction; and remember, we cannot see the problem as you see it while on the phone.
- Our administrative staff will initiate a case and assign it to the district inspector for that area. We will service that case within two weeks.
Referrals for Assistance Outside of Zoning Enforcement
Sometimes other agencies or departments are responsible for investigating your complaint. In such cases, we will advise you of that department’s phone number and contact name.
|Animal Wardens (Complaints)||703-931-9241|
|Citizen and Consumer Affairs||703-228-3260|
|Dominion Power – Emergency||888-667-3000|
|Environmental Health (Complaints)||703-228-7400|
|Inspection Services Division (Construction)||703-228-3800|
|Tree Maintenance and Landscaping||703-228-6527|
|Washington Gas Light Company||703-750-9500|