Fairfax County COVID-19 Update

March 23, 2020

McGuireWoods is closely monitoring how Northern Virginia jurisdictions are adjusting policies and procedures in response to COVID-19. At the time of this writing, Fairfax County is still proceeding with development reviews, inspections and permitting, albeit with adjusted procedures. For zoning cases, the Department of Planning and Development is primarily working remotely and has adjusted to receiving electronic resubmissions. The Department of Land Development Services has provided detailed information on revised procedures.

Below is a review of current Fairfax County practices.

Department of Planning and Development

  • Public Hearings

    • Planning Commission public hearings are canceled through April 1. All cases will be rescheduled at least 30 days out. The April 2 PC hearing remains scheduled, and county staff is currently determining dates for deferred hearings.

    • The Board of Supervisors public hearing scheduled for March 24 remains on the calendar at this time; however, most land use cases have been deferred to April 14 or May 5.

    • The Board of Zoning Appeals hearings are canceled through the end of April. County staff is reaching out to all applicants and determining a plan for rescheduling.

    • Local governments and industry are working with state officials in Richmond to clarify and expand the ability of local governments to hold public meetings and public hearings on development applications. McGuireWoods will provide updates as this effort proceeds.

  • Application Processing

    • Individual staff coordinators are reaching out to applicants and requesting/coordinating fully electronic submissions.

    • At this time, if there is a need for paper submissions, the county has a drop-off system on the first floor of the Herrity building.

    • For other needs, such as interpretations and requests for additional time, the county is accepting materials electronically. Required fees will be deferred until an appropriate time.

Land Development Services

As mentioned above, the Department of Land Development Services (LDS) and its partner agencies have created a comprehensive website that is regularly updated. LDS has significantly improved its electronic submission capabilities in the past year and recently released its Site Records Viewer, which includes digitized versions of previously approved site documents. The e-Plans program continues to accept many types of site plan submissions. Additionally, all non-e-Plan submissions can now be sent through ProjectDox. Instructions are accessed here. All in-person counter operations have changed to drop-off operations located on the first floor of the Herrity building. The county highly recommends doing as much as possible online (e.g., permit applications, ePlan submissions, etc.). This will facilitate electronic review, as more and more county personnel are telecommuting.

McGuireWoods will continue to monitor the day-to-day operations for Fairfax County and send updates as needed. If you have any questions or concerns related to specific projects, please do not hesitate to contact us.

McGuireWoods has published additional thought leadership related to how companies across various industries can address crucial COVID-19-related business and legal issues.

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