Zoning Enforcement

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Arlington Zoning Enforcement ensures that compliance with the County’s vision for land use is applied fairly, diligently and responsibly through monitoring and enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance. Zoning Enforcement conducts inspections both proactively and in response to customer complaints, in order to ensure compliance with the Zoning Ordinance as well as County-approved special exception use permit and site plan conditions. Zoning inspections are also required during the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) permitting process.

What We Enforce … and What We Don’t

Zoning enforces the regulations found in the Zoning Ordinance. This includes the type of building that may be constructed on a given parcel of land, the placement and height of structures, the land uses and density of development permitted, the number of parking spaces required, the size and placement of signs, and other land use regulations.

Zoning does not enforce codes, including the Virginia Maintenance Code, the Arlington Condition of Private Property Ordinance and the Arlington Noise Control Ordinance. View Code Enforcement instead.

Inspections and Violations

The use of land as well as the placement and use of structures on the land are dictated by the zoning district in which the property is located and the history of the property. Zoning concerns must be researched and investigated to determine if zoning violations exist, and may initially result in a verbal or written warning. The warning provides an opportunity for the violator to correct the violation before any formal enforcement activity is required. If voluntary compliance does not occur, a formal violation notice requiring compliance is issued within approximately 10 days. Failure to comply with a violation notice may result in the issuance of a monetary fine for civil penalties or prosecution as a criminal misdemeanor.

The compliance deadline for a violation notice may be extended provided that requests are presented in writing to the issuing zoning inspector prior to the compliance deadline. To request an extension, call 703-228-3883.


Determinations of the Zoning Administrator and violation notices issued by inspectors may be appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). Appeal applications must be submitted within 30 days from the date that the determination, requirement or order was made. The appeals process takes at least 60 calendar days, as the BZA only meets once per month.

Learn more about BZA appeals.

Report a Violation

To file a complaint:

  • Email us, select “Investigation Request” category; or
  • Call 703-228-3883 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Include the following when making a request:

  • Provide the correct address where the problem is located
  • Give specific details about the problem or concerns
  • Provide the best time to witness the infraction

Administrative staff will initiate a case and assign it to the inspector for that area.