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How to Apply for a Permit

The Building Permit process begins with a building permit application.  Unless an application has been submitted to the building department, a permit has not been applied for.

To apply for a permit, complete a permit application and submit it to the Building Department.  Complete permit applications may be mailed, faxed [757-678-0483], or hand delivered the Building Department office.  Incomplete applications cannot be processed.  If you mail or fax the application, please follow up with a telephone call to be sure that it has been received, is complete and ready for processing.

Because there are a wide variety of permit types and situations, not every application requires the same information or takes the same review and approval route.  However, in general, permits involve three tiers of approvals; Health Department, Zoning, and Building Department.

Permit applications are available for:

Building Permits

Electrical Permits

Coming Soon

Fire Protection Permits

Gas Permits

Mechanical Permits

Plumbing Permits

Sign Permits

Taxes

County regulations require that all real estate taxes be paid up to date in order to apply for a permit.  To check on the status of real estate taxes, please contact the Treasurer's Office. [Click here for contact information.] 

Permit applications for properties that have taxes that
are past due will not be accepted for processing.

Health Department

All applications for building permits for new structures, or that require an increase in the footprint of a building or structure, the addition of square footage for assembly use buildings, or change of use of a structure requiring additional plumbing fixtures, will require health department approval.

The building department will route permit applications to the Health Department for their review.  Please be sure to include with your building permit application any information that you may have about existing wells, drain fields and/or other health department documents that you may have that relate to the specific property for which a permit is sought.

Site Plan / Zoning

All permits that require an increase in the footprint of a building or structure, the addition of square footage for assembly use buildings, or change of use of a structure will require a site plan.  This includes the addition of a deck, garage, pool, or shed. 

The complexity of a site plan, and the approval process depends largely on the nature and location of the project.  Planning and Zoning requirements greatly influence site plan requirements.  At a minimum, a site plan must show the following:

  • Street address or Tax Map ID number of the property.
     
  • Location of all property lines, easements, rights of way.
     
  • Location of 100 year flood plain - if present.  A flood elevation certificate, prepared and sealed by a qualified design professional may also be required along with the site plan.
     
  • Location of all structures on the property.
     
  • Distance between proposed structure and property lines.

For specific and detailed information regarding Zoning requirements, please visit the Planning and Zoning web page or email Melissa Kellam, Zoning Administrator.

The Building or Planning Department staff may require additional information be shown on the site plan

While not necessarily required to be to scale - site plans must be an accurate representation of site conditions.

In situations involving large properties, exceeding 5 acres in area, it the Building or Planning Department staff may approve a waiver of the requirement that the entire property be shown on the site plan,

 

Building Plans

Not every permit requires plans, but most of them do.  If your project involves building something new or changing something that is existing, you will need to provide plans.  If you are just replacing something with an identical material, such as re-roofing, plans usually aren't required.  If in doubt, provide plans.

Some plans must be professionally prepared, but others may be informal.  What is important is that they accurately communicate what you are doing and how you plan to do it.  The more clear that your plans are, the faster the plan review process moves.

If plans are required, a minimum of at least two complete sets of plans must be submitted.  Following plan review and approval, one set will be returned to the applicant to be kept on the job site.  The second set will be retained by the County.  Click here for a list of minimum plan requirements for new single family dwellings: Residential Plan Submission Checklist

Plans not sealed by an licensed architect or engineer, must include the name, occupation and address of the person who prepared them.

Plans will be reviewed by building department staff, therefore it is important that they accurately convey the scope and construction methods of the project.  Plans should show all structural aspects the work.  Additional requirements will be required for more complex structures.

Wind Resistant Construction: Plans for structure located within 1500 feet of tidal salt water shall be sealed by a Va. Licensed Registered Design Professional and comply with the County's Wind Resistant Construction plans policy. Wind Resistant Construction Policy

Flood Plain: Structures located within the 100 year flood plain must indicate storm resistant construction, including the placement and size of all flood vents, and methods of anchoring against uplift (floatation) and the effects of water pressure on the structure.  Plans for structures located in "V" type flood zones MUST be sealed by a Virginia licensed architect or engineer.

Examples:

Decks / Piers:  Show footing sizes; post spacing; girder size and span; joist size, spacing and spans; guardrail, handrail and stair details.  Pool application must include a plot plan that show the locations of all utilities, well(s), underground tanks, electrical services, drain fields, and distances to the property lines.

Pools:  Location of all utilities on the property in relation to the pool; location of all dwelling units on the properties; location of all fences or barriers around the pool; details of barriers, fences and gates through the barrier.

Alterations:  Plans should indicate the existing conditions as well as what will be changed.  When alterations involve structural changes, the nature of the change must be clearly detailed.

Other Structures:  Plans must be detailed enough for a complete structural evaluation. Plans for multiple dwelling buildings, or multi-use structures must also address fire walls, fire separation assemblies, as well as height and area limitations.  Buildings required to be equipped with fire suppression systems must indicate the location and type of suppression system.

Accessibility:  Plans for new and altered commercial facilities must include details of accessibility.  Please include a completed Accessibility Compliance Form with each application for commercial alteration.

Asbestos:  State regulations require that buildings built before 1985, must be inspected for asbestos containing materials before permits for alteration or demolition may be issued.  Please include a completed asbestos form.

Incomplete plans will result in a delay in issuance of permits.

Change of Use\ Occupancy Both the building code and County Zoning Ordinance have specific requirements for changing the use or occupancy of a building or structure.  The requirements may be complex and vary from location to location, and by what the previous and proposed use are.

We recommend that individuals wishing to change the use of a building or structure schedule a meeting with both Building and planning department staff.  A detailed plan presented to County staff will produce the most accurate answers.  Important issues include documentation as to what was the last legal use of the property and what the planned use is.  If a property has been vacant for several month or more, it will be important to document when the last use occurred.

Forms

Various Forms may be downloaded from this page Downloadable Forms

 

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