Land Use Administration
The Land Use Administration in Rooms 510/511 is not open to walk-in visits at this time but staff is available to meet, following social distancing protocols. To schedule an appointment, email PDRLandUseAdmin@richmondgov.com or by telephone at 804-646-6304.
New Land Use Administration applications can be submitted via email or via Microsoft OneDrive. The Online Permit Portal is available for submitting Plan of Development (POD) applications. More information on registering and utilizing the Online Portal can be found on the OPP web page.
The Land Use Administration Division promotes orderly development. Every parcel within the city has a zoning designation that governs its use. These uses are defined in the official Zoning Ordinance supported by the official Zoning Map.
Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth, the latest update to the citywide Master Plan, was adopted by City Council in December of 2020. The Department of Planning & Development Review and the City Planning Commission will be following the guidance of Richmond 300 when reviewing new applications and in decision-making processes. Read "How to Use Richmond 300: Key Land Use Considerations" to better understand how your project aligns with the goals of Richmond 300.
The Land Use Administration Division processes required applications for by-right development. Land Use Administration staff is the point of contact for these applications and coordinates their review with other city agencies that may be impacted by the development proposals. These applications include:
Plan of Development (POD) Certain uses and features permitted in certain districts require a Plan of Development to be approved by the Director of Planning and Development Review prior to the issuance of any building permits for such use.
Subdivision (Preliminary and Final) Applications are required to divide, subdivide, or re-subdivide a parcel of land within the corporate limits of the city for the purpose of transferring ownership of any one or more of such parcels, or for the purpose of the erection of buildings or other structures on any one or more of such parcels.
In some instances, the zoning regulations in a given district are not conducive to the proposed or existing development of the area. In instances where the underlying zoning regulations cannot be met, there are a number of traditional methods of providing relief from zoning regulations.
The Land Use Administration provides advice and analysis for proposed developments that may not be permitted by current underlying zoning regulations. Land Use Administration works with property owners and developers and the affected neighborhood associations to ensure that the proposed development meets the goals found in Richmond's Master Plan.
The following is a list of Land Use Applications that the City Council is authorized to use to provide relief from the underlying zoning regulations after receiving a recommendation from the City Planning Commission:
Conditional Use Permits: This is a process by which a specific use is listed as permitted within a zoning district, but still must be reviewed by City Council to determine if the requirements and criteria specified in the ordinance are met.
Community Unit Plan (CUP): The City Charter specifically authorizes the use of this process for the development of sites containing 10 or more acres in a way that does not comply with underlying zoning, subject to the approval of an ordinance, which outlines the general character and density of the proposed development.
Rezonings: This involves the changing of the zoning designation applicable to particular properties. Once rezoned, a property may be used pursuant to the regulations applicable in the district without any further restrictions.
Conditional Rezonings: This involves the changing of the zoning designation applicable to particular properties subject to certain proffered conditions that are more restrictive than the underlying zoning designation.
Special Use Permits (SUP): The city of Richmond's version of the special use permit process may authorize any use at any location subject to specified conditions. This power is unique to Richmond and should not be confused with the traditional special use permit used in other jurisdictions.
The Land Use Administration also provides staff support to the City Planning Commission and Public Art Commission (PAC). The Land Use Administration also prepares zoning text amendments and engages in comprehensive updates of the Zoning Ordinance, and studies and recommends neighborhood and citywide rezonings.
Land Use applications may be downloaded. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the staff of Land Use Administration at (804) 646-6304 for advice prior to submitting an application.