Installing a Generator

Installing a generator requires County approval and possibly permits.

  • When purchasing a generator, consider noise levels and safety concerns.
  • A hard-wired generator that supplies power to any structure (new or existing) will require an Electrical Permit.
  • Amusement devices that require a hard-wired connection to a generator (not a plug-in cord) will require an Electrical Permit.
  • Installation of a rooftop generator will require a building permit.


You can install a generator in a front, side or rear yard, but you must follow certain placement requirements, or setbacks. The layout of your lot determines the setback requirements. Generators have the same setback requirements as air conditioning units, as outlined in the Zoning Ordinance.

Submission Requirements

The footprint of the generator must be drawn to scale on a certified, scaled plat of your property, on a floor plan or on an architectural rooftop drawing (depending on the location of the generator — exterior, interior or rooftop) and submitted to the Zoning Division for approval.

If the generator has a gas line, you’ll need a Plumbing Permit. If the gas line is 2 psi, a gas riser diagram is required for review by the Inspection Services Division (ISD).

Further requirements may apply if:

  • Your property is located within a Local Historic District (LHD) or is otherwise subject to evaluation by the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board.
    • Installation of a generator on property in a LHD requires either a Certificate of Appropriateness or an Administrative Certificate of Appropriateness, depending on the design guidelines for the LHD.
  • The generator is part of a special exception project, such as a Site PlanUse Permit or variance. The generator may then require approval through a special exception or variance process, such as a Site Plan Amendment or an Administrative Change Request.
  • The generator is located on a rooftop. Installation of a rooftop generator will require a building permit.

Scheduling Inspections

Installing a generator requires inspections only if the generator requires one or more trade permits (ElectricalPlumbing/Gas, etc.).


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.