The Department of Planning and Development
Frequently Asked Questions
I want to build a shed (detached structure) on my property, what do I need to do?
First you need to know your zoning, which you can check on the County's Interactive GIS Mapping System. If your property is zoned RP or R5 your setbacks will be 35ft from any roads or access easements and 5ft from the sides and 5ft from the rear property lines.
(for properties under 100,000sqft)
If your property is zoned RA your setbacks will be 60ft from any roads or access easements and 15ft from the sides and 15ft from the rear property lines. If your building is over 150sqft in size you will need a building permit from the County's Inspections Department which can be reached at (540) 665-5650.
Please note that if your structure is over 500sqft you may need to provide setback surveys in conjunction with your building permit.
If you need more information on this subject please contact the Planning Department at (540) 665-5651.
Before you start any project, please check your Homeowners Association Covenants.
I want to put up a fence in my yard, what do I need to do?
The placement of residential fences is not regulated by Frederick County.
Fences taller than 6ft require a building permit.
A privacy fence may be erected on your property line but you need to ensure that you have adequate room to maintain or repair you fence.
Please note that fences cannot be placed in easements (drainage, stormwater, utility), the plat of your property will show if you have any easements.
Fences along roads may need to be approved by the local VDOT office to ensure that they are not creating a visual hazard by blocking the line of site.
I want to start a business from my home, what do I need to do?
Businesses or "Home Occupations" can be operated from a residence under certain conditions.
Home occupations can only be operated by persons who reside in the dwelling and the business can only be operated in the dwelling (business cannot take place in a detached garage or building on the property).
Employees, signage or advertising and alterations to the structure for the business are prohibited.
The business must also be incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling for residential purposes with no exterior display, no exterior storage of materials and no exterior indication of the home occupation or variation from the residential character of the principle building and neighborhood is permitted.
Please call the Commissioner of the Revenue at (540) 665-5609 for information on obtaining a Frederick County Business License.
I want to operate a daycare from my home, what are my restrictions?
A daycare can be operated as a home occupation in a residence so long as there are
no more than five(5) unrelated children being cared for at any one time.
If more than five(5) children are requested than a conditional use permit must be sought.
The home business I want to operate does not meet the requirements of a Home Occupation.
Do I have any other options?
Yes, depending on the scale of the business another option is to seek a Conditional Use Permit from the County for a cottage occupation.
Cottage occupations may be operated out of the home or an accessory building on the property, one(1) employee may be permitted and a sign may also be permitted.
Cottage occupations still need to be incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling for residential purposes.
Please note that a conditional use permit is not guaranteed, they must be applied at the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors of Frederick County has the ultimate decision on whether the permit is granted or denied.
There is land being cleared and I want to know what is happening.
If you notice that there land being cleared or graded it is possible that the land is being prepped for development.
You may contact the Planning Department to see if development plans have been submitted for that particular site and if so you may come to the department to see those plans.
I am currently zoned commercial or industrial and I want to expand my business.
What do I need to do?
Any development, revision or addition to land zoned commercial or industrial (B1, B2, B3, M1, M2, EM) must be depicted on a site plan approved by Frederick County.
The first step would be to contact the Planning Department to discuss the desired expansion to see if it would be permitted.
If permitted the next step would be to contact an engineer or surveyor to submit plans to the County.
What is a Zoning Violation?
In most cases, investigation of a zoning and subdivision violation and enforcement action happens when a citizen reports a potential violation. Types of violations that are typically reported include: inoperable vehicles, illegal residential & commerical activities, overgrown grass, and excessive noise. If you would like to submit a violation complaint on a topic not listed, please call the Department of Planning & Development at (540) 665-5651.
The first step is to read more about zoning violations.
The next step would be to submit a complaint.
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