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Contact Information:


Planning Division
101-A Mounts Bay Rd.
Williamsburg, VA 23185

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P: 757-253-6685
F: 757-253-6822
HOTLINE: 757-259-4990




Hours of Operation


8 a.m. - 5 p.m.



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What is a rezoning? James City County designates all land to one of the 15 zoning districts outlined in the Zoning Ordinance. Certain land uses are allowed in each district, and the rules governing each zoning district vary.

Sometimes, a parcel of land must have its zoning district designation changed in order to develop or use that land in a certain fashion. The process of changing a parcel's zoning district is called a rezoning. The rezoning procedure helps the Planning Division, Planning Commission, and Board of Supervisors take a closer look at a zoning change.  This includes the proposed zone's compatibility with existing zones, surrounding development, and the County Comprehensive Plan.

When can I submit an application? Applications must be submitted at least six weeks prior to a scheduled meeting in order to be placed on the Planning Commission agenda. The Planning Commission usually meets on the first Wednesday of each month. Please view the Planning calendar for the most current meeting schedule.

How long will it take to process my application? An application will take a minimum of 12 weeks to review, depending on the time of your submittal and the Planning Commission meeting schedule. Processing will take additional time if the Planning Commission and/or the Board of Supervisors defer action on your case.

Staff strongly recommends that you either submit a conceptual plan or set up a pre-application meeting to review the rezoning process and answer questions.

  • A properly completed and signed application form. Please note that an incomplete or unsigned application will delay processing and may result in your case being placed later on the Planning Commission calendar.
  • A rezoning review fee. Contact the Planning Division at 757-253-6685 for a current fee schedule.
  • An explanation of why you are requesting the rezoning, and what use you propose for the property.
  • A rezoning submittal checklist. This is used as a guide to facilitate the application.

The checklist may require you to provide the following documents:

  • Traffic study
  • Adequate public facilities report
  • Archaeological assessment
  • Master plan
  • Stormwater management plan
  • Fiscal impact study
  • Water and sewer impact study
  • Environmental inventory

Voluntary proffers are also a common part of a rezoning application. Proffers are a written document listing conditions that the property owner voluntarily places on the rezoning. These conditions are in addition to the normal zoning district regulations of the desired zone. If there zoning is approved, the proffers are recorded at the Courthouse and become legally binding. Signed original proffer statements must be submitted 21 days before the date of the Planning Commission meeting.

What is the procedure for obtaining a rezoning? Prior to the Planning Commission meeting, staff will review your application by making a site inspection and verifying the information on your application for compliance with County codes and ordinances. Staff will consider the impact of the rezoning on surrounding land uses and public welfare. Staff will also consider the rezoning's compatibility with the County's Comprehensive Plan. Additional County and State agencies will review and comment on your proposal. When all comments are received, staff will incorporate them into a report for the Planning Commission. You will receive a copy of the staff report in advance of the Planning Commission meeting.

The Planning Division will:

  1. Post a sign on the property indicating that a special use permit application has been filed for the property.This sign will be posted two weeks before the Planning Commission public hearing.
  2. Advertise the public hearing in a local newspaper both two weeks and one week before the Planning Commission public hearing.
  3. Send written notice to all adjacent property owners at least one week prior to the Planning Commission public hearing.  At the Planning Commission meeting, staff will present your request to the Commission and give their recommendation. After staff's presentation, you or your representative will have an opportunity to speak for 15 minutes. Then the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing where any citizen can speak about the application.  Representatives of groups may speak for 15 minutes and individuals may speak for five minutes. After the public hearing is closed, the Commission will discuss the application and make their determination. The Planning Commission will recommend approval, denial, or defer your request, and identify issues you should address before going to the Board of Supervisors. After the Planning Commission meeting, Planning staff will notify you in writing of the Planning Commission's decision. 

Your request will then be scheduled for a Board of Supervisors meeting. The staff report may be changed to address any questions raised by the Planning Commission. The Board of Supervisors will hold a meeting very similar to the Planning Commission meeting.  After the public hearing closes, the Board will discuss the application and vote to approve, deny, or defer your request. If your application is approved, staff will notify you in writing of the Board of Supervisors' decision and send you a copy of the resolution. Additionally, the County Attorney will record your proffers with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. If your application is denied, you will receive a letter, but there will not be a resolution.

Will I need any other permits after my rezoning is approved? Even with a rezoning, you may still need a special use permit from the Board of Supervisors to allow a certain use on a property. You may also need to submit a site plan or subdivision construction plan, which are processes handled by the Planning Division. You may also need a building permit. Contact the Building Safety and Permits Division at 757-253-6626 to get information about applying for building permits. It is possible to have a site plan and a building drawing reviewed concurrently, but a building permit will not be issued until final site plan approval has been obtained. If clearing, grading, and/or installing utilities will be involved, you will need to contact the Engineering and Resource Protection Division at 757-253-6670 for a land disturbing permit. Other than a land disturbing permit and building permit, a Health Department permit is required for plans proposing septic tanks and/or wells. Developments with sewage pumping stations or well facilities also require approval from the State Health Department. If any kind of Health Department permit is required, you will have to submit plans to both the Planning Division and the Health Department. Call the Health Department at 757-253-4813 for more information.

If my application is denied, can I appeal the Board of Supervisors' decision? Yes. You can appeal the Board of Supervisors' decision to the Circuit Court. Call the Clerk of the Circuit Court at 757-564-2242 for information.

If my application is denied, can I try again at a later time? If the Board of Supervisors denies your request for a rezoning, you may not resubmit the application for one year unless the application contains significant differences.

How long is the rezoning valid? There is no time limit on a rezoning.

Can a special use permit be processed at the same time as a rezoning application? Yes. Planning staff can process a special use permit application and a rezoning for the same project concurrently.



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