Planning and Zoning


Provide guidance to the Board of Supervisors and appointed Boards and Commissions in realizing the vision of Stafford County by ensuring future orderly development and economic growth that is reflective of the community’s desires and needs, while being sensitive to natural and cultural resources, and providing exemplary customer service.

Who Are We?

Boards and Commissions

  • Provide direct administrative and technical support to seven Boards, Commissions and Committees for the governance of the County, including the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Architectural Review Board, Historical Commission, Cemetery Committee, and Agricultural/Purchase of Development Rights Committee.

Comprehensive Plan
  • Administer the Comprehensive Plan (future infrastructure and development) and its detailed elements.
  • Implement policies that support balanced growth and development, including recommendations for conserving natural and cultural resources, and agricultural/forestry and open space lands.


  • Lead agency for drafting laws and policies about land development, community appearance, and land conservation within the County.

Regulatory Review

  • Investigate complaints from citizens regarding compliance with zoning laws and other laws and policies that affect the appearance of the County, including tall grass, illegal signs, abandoned vehicles, and accumulation of trash and debris.
  • Administer, maintain, and enforce the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, Floodplain Ordinance and related regulations to ensure that property is developed and used by the requirements that the Board of Supervisors adopted to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens.
  • Review Zoning permits for use compliance and bulk requirements such as lot area, setbacks, building height, etc.
  • Review Zoning and Building permits for compliance with historic district regulations.
  • Conduct site inspections before issusing certificates of occupancy for new commercial development to ensure compliance with approved site plans, proffers, conditional use permits and overlay district regulations.
  • Review development proposals in compliance with the County Code, State Code and the Comprehensive Plan.

Customer Service

  • Assist citizens, internal departments and the development community with questions and concerns regarding the Comprehensive Plan, processing of land development applications and related permits.
  • Assist citizens with complaints about community appearance that affect property values and public health such as tall grass, overgrown vegetation, accumulation of trash, abandoned vehicles, unlawful businesses and illegal structures.
  • Educate landowners and developers regarding the Transfer of Development Rights program and the Purchase of Development Rights program, and assist with the application process.
  • Assist citizens and land developers/engineers regarding information and preservation of cultural resources.

Budget Summary

Funded Positions

Notable Changes


  • 1 Full Time Position Cultural Resource Specialist (Planner III)
  • 4.5% Pay Scale Adjustment
  • 2.0% Salary Increase
  • 2.13% increase in Virginia Retirement System Rate
  • .03% decrease in the Virginia Retiree Health Insurance Credit Rate

  • NOVA Land Conservation Staff
  • Voluntary Land Conservation Grant - Owner Assistance
  • Storage for artifacts
  • Fixed contract increases
  • Restore FY21 budget reductions

Future Outlook

Zoning Violations

More residents of the County are teleworking from home. This has led to increased community appearance complaints regarding tall grass and trash accumulation. The county had previously hired contractors to remedy the violations. The costs to remedy the violations have exceeded the budget allocation. This resulted in a strategy change to the notices of violation and approach towards compliance where enforcement will be made through the court system. This increasing number of complaints will likely continue as telework from home becomes more normative.

Board of Supervisors’ 2040 Strategic Plan

The Planning and Zoning Department is responsible for implementing and assisting with several new initiatives in the Board of Supervisors’ 2040 Strategic Plan, adopted in November 2018, including:

  • Identify and implement incentives for the development of the Targeted Growth Areas of the County
  • Develop a sustained education program and communication plan with conservation partners to encourage voluntary land conservation.
  • Identify funding source options and stewardship opportunities to assist with the Purchase of Development Rights.
  • Evaluate additional opportunities for the protection of open space.
  • Identify a location and funding stream for the Stafford County Museum and Cultural Center.
  • Promote the County’s recreational, historical and cultural programs and facilities and obtain feedback on future improvements.
  • Begin construction of the first phase of Downtown Stafford through a public-private partnership to enhance Stafford’s identity and promote economic development.
  • Evaluate agribusiness opportunities, including the potential for a farm-to-table program with grant funding.
  • Help streamline the permitting process and provide better customer support.

These Strategic Plan priorities will increase staff workloads and are anticipated to require outside consulting costs and increased costs for public notification.

I-95/Courthouse Road Interchange

  • The new interchange opened on December 7, 2019. Staff observed increased applications submitted for rezonings and conditional use permits in this area. This resulted in numerous commercial site plan submittals for this area in FY21-FY22, and this trend is anticipated to continue in FY23. This could increase the application revenues.

Downtown Stafford
  • In 2021, the Board approved a Comprehensive Plan amendment, ordinance amendment and reclassifications to support the development of an urban center for the County located adjacent to the Government Center complex. These approvals are expected to spur additional development proposals in the area, including mixed-use development proposed at the intersection of Courthouse Road and Rt. 1.

Warehouse and Logistics Centers

  • During FY21-FY22, the County approved several rezonings of properties to support the construction of warehouse and logistic centers. Site plans for many of these facilities are currently under review, and it is anticipated that additional site plans will be submitted for the construction of such facilities in FY23. This could increase application revenues. Many of these have been designated as priority projects by Economic Development and Tourism, and require additional staff time to coordinate and expedite the review process.


  • Enhance the physical appearance and high quality of development within the County through zoning regulations, site plans and subdivision standards, architectural standards, appropriate growth management policies, and land conservation efforts established in the County’s Comprehensive Plan. (Service levels 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 9) (Strategic Priorities - 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 5.1, and 5.2)
  • Enhance our customer service through such means as fully integrating electronic plan review, expanding front counter service, and increasing technological opportunities. (Service level 1) (Strategic Priority - 5.2)
  • Foster inter-departmental cooperation and coordination with our Boards, Commissions and Committees to include integration and simplification of staff reports and better opportunity for citizen input while promoting and accommodating community engagement for Community Planning efforts. (Service levels 1, 2, 5, and 9) (Strategic Priority - 5.2)
  • Collaborate with internal and external departments and agencies to track and analyze new development, public facility impacts and needs, and community demographics to support the evaluation and modification of Comprehensive Plan goals. (Service levels 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9) (Strategic Priority – 5.2)
Service Levels for Planning and Zoning