Virginia Supreme Court Invalidates Fairfax County, Virginia, Zoning Ordinance

March 24, 2023

On March 23, 2023, the Supreme Court of Virginia invalidated the Fairfax County, Virginia, Zoning Ordinance commonly known as z-Mod.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted z-Mod in March 2021, but the state Supreme Court has now found that the adoption of z-Mod in a virtual meeting did not satisfy Virginia open meeting laws. Based on the Supreme Court’s decision, the Zoning Ordinance in effect immediately prior to z-Mod is now the governing Zoning Ordinance.

This raises potential questions regarding land use applications approved while z-Mod was presumed to be in effect and for those applications that are currently pending. Fairfax County has not yet released guidance, and the full impact of the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision is not yet known. McGuireWoods also is evaluating the effect of this decision on land use actions taken in other Virginia jurisdictions.

If you have immediate questions about this decision and its implications, please reach out to a member of the McGuireWoods land use team.

A copy of the opinion is available online.