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Zoning Modification
What is a Zoning Modification (ZMOD)? 
A Zoning Modification is a landowner-initiated request to change the Zoning Ordinance regulations that apply to his property. Unlike a ZMAP that changes the zoning district, the ZMOD changes specific regulations of the existing zoning district. Typically, a ZMOD is used to change such requirements as setbacks or buffers. 

Why do I need a Zoning Modification? 
Only the Board of Supervisors may approve a change to the Zoning Ordinance.  The  ZMOD process allows an applicant to propose an alternative design that exceeds the public purpose of the original Ordinance requirement.  An example might be reducing a required buffer yard by adding additional planting or a wall.  The ZMOD process ensures a consistent Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors review, allows public comment on the proposal, and allows the Board to consider conditions that would help reduce or eliminate any potential impacts of the modification. The Commission and Board will consider if the proposal is an innovative design, improve on the existing regulations or otherwise exceed the public purpose of the original regulation.  No modifications are to granted solely for achieving maximum density on a property.

What is the first step in the application process? 
Prior to submitting an application, the applicant or a designated representative must schedule a Pre-Application Conference by contacting the Department of Planning and Zoning. The meetings are free and are scheduled every two weeks.  The Director of Planning and Zoning may waive the Pre-Application Conference if the applicant is familiar with the process or the application has a limited scope, 

What is a Pre-Application Conference? 
A Pre-Application Conference is a meeting between a prospective applicant and County staff to discuss a development proposal and the process for review.  The Department of Planning and Zoning arranges the meeting and staff from other departments will attend to comment on the proposal and to answer questions.  The meeting must occur before the application may be formally filed. More details are available here. The form used to request a pre-application conference is available for you to download or print. 
What materials do I need to make a Zoning Modification application? 

How do I apply for a Zoning Modification? 
Submit a completed Land Development Application and the other material listed in the appropriate Minimum Submission Checklist to the Department of Planning and Zoning at 1 Harrison Street, Third Floor, Leesburg, VA 20175. 

The application fee is paid after the application has been accepted for review. For more information, view the fee schedule.

What is the County process for a Zoning Modification?
Once the application is accepted as an active case for processing, the Department of Planning an Zoning will assign a project manager. This person will serve as the point of contact and coordinator during the entire review of the application. The State mandated time line for the review of a Zoning Concept Plan Amendment application is one year after the application is accepted. The following flow chart generally illustrates the review process:

  1. Application reviewed for necessary materials
  2. Application reviewed by planning staff
  3. Staff and applicant review issues and suitable solutions
  4. Staff report prepared
  5. Planning Commission public hearing/recommendation
  6. Board of Supervisors public hearing/decision

Where can I get more information?
Information about specific land applications is available online through the Loudoun Online Land Applications system. You may also contact:
Loudoun County
Department of Planning and Zoning
1 Harrison Street, S.E.
PO Box 7000
Leesburg, VA 20177-7000
Ph: 703-777-0246

Loudoun On
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