Zoning Administrator Determination Request

The Code of Virginia empowers the Zoning Administrator to interpret the Zoning Ordinance when there is a need for clarity in the application and administration of the regulations in the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance (ACZO); either generally or as applied to a specific property.

A Zoning Administrator determination is a written decision and finding-of-fact carrying legal standing in accordance with Code of Virginia §15.2-2307 Vesting Right Not Impaired; Nonconforming Uses. As such, zoning determinations should not be requested to verify the zoning compliance of a property [see Zoning Compliance Letter Request] nor to request records under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [see FOIA].  A zoning determination cannot render assessments pertaining to the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC) or any other construction and/or development regulations.

Aside from interpreting zoning regulations, Zoning Administrator issues determinations for the following:

  • Lot Buildability for nonconforming lots in the "R" district, per ACZO §16.1 Nonconforming Lots
  • Street Setback Averaging reductions for one- and two-family dwellings, per ACZO §3.2.6.A.1(e) Setbacks from any street...
  • Similar Use Interpretations, per ACZO §12.2.2 Similar Use Interpretations

Although the Code of Virginia allows the Zoning Administrator up to 90 days to respond to any written request, typical determination requests are completed within 30-45 days of receipt.

Determinations can be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) within 30 days per Code of Virginia §15.2-2311.A; and cannot be changed, modified, or reversed after 60 days per Code of Virginia §15.2-2311.C.

Submission Requirements

Zoning determinations must be applied for online.

Requests should be accompanied by the following supplemental information:

  • Statement specifying the subject of the determination
  • Letter of consent from owner of record*
  • Certified plat of the property (for lot buildability and street setback averaging requests)
  • Copy of deed of ownership (for lot buildability requests)
  • Certified setback survey for all dwellings on the same side of the street as the property (for street setback averaging requests)
  • Similar Use Interpretation Supplemental form(PDF, 259KB) (for Similar Use Interpretations)

* For determinations requests concerning a specific property, Code of Virginia §15.2-2204 H requires that Zoning Administrator to provide written notification of owner(s) of record when such requests are not submitted by the property owner(s) or an authorized property owner's agent.


Fee Schedules provide the range of fees charged for each type of application or activity related to land development in Arlington. Fees cover permitting, plan review, enforcement, inspection, service delivery, performance agreements and conditions. There are separate fee schedules for Inspection Services Division (ISD), Zoning and the Department of Environmental Services (DES). Some permits involve fees from more than one schedule.