What is a site plan? A site plan is a set of engineering plans for any commercial, industrial, or multifamily development, as defined in the County Code. A site plan is needed whenever the footprint for a commercial building changes, which includes changes to utility lines and parking lots. A site plan is also needed for commercial additions such as sheds, storage areas, fences, and concrete pads.
What must I provide to obtain site plan approval? You can obtain an application for a site plan from the Planning Division. Staff recommends that you either submit a conceptual plan or set up a pre-application meeting to review the site plan process and answer questions.
Upon submittal of your site plan, you must provide:
- A properly completed and signed application form.
- A site plan review fee. Contact the Planning Division at 757-253-6685 for a current fee schedule.
- A list of adjacent property owners' addresses.
- A copy of the letter you sent adjacent property owners advising them that site plans were submitted and are available for review in the Planning Division.
- A copy of the previously approved conceptual plan.
- Surveyed plans, which include the following items, if applicable:
- site layout
- drainage and erosion control plans
- utility plans
- landscape plans
- drainage calculation data
- water/sewer data sheets
- traffic, roadway, and parking data
- lighting plans
- water demand calculations
The James City Service Authority (JCSA) Standards and Specifications for Water and Sewer Systems and the Regulations Governing Utility Services outline the standards for submitting utility plans. Copies of these standards are available from the JCSA office. Please contact the JCSA at 757-253-6800 if you have any questions.
What is the process for reviewing site plans? Your site plan will be reviewed using one of two processes, depending upon the size and scope of the proposed project. The first process is DRC review, which culminates in a hearing before the Planning Commission. It is used for larger and more complicated projects. Criteria for DRC review are listed below. Site plans not meeting DRC criteria are processed by an administrative review, which does not involve any Committee or Commission review.
The Development Review Committee (DRC) will review site plans that propose any of the following:
- A single building or group of buildings with total floor area exceeding 30,000 square feet
- A residential development of 50 or more units
- Two entrances on the same road
- A fast food restaurant or shopping center
- If there are any unresolved problems between the applicant, adjacent property owners, or any departmental reviewing agency
- If a conceptual plan has not been submitted in accordance with County requirements
- If the site plan varies significantly from an approved conceptual or master plan
If your site plan qualifies for DRC review, you will need to submit 14 sets of plans to the Planning Division at least five weeks prior to the DRC meeting date. Please contact Planning staff to find out the DRC meeting schedule. Staff will schedule your request on the DRC agenda. Prior to the DRC 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 site plan on surrounding land uses and public welfare. Additional County and State agencies will review and comment on the plan. When all comments are received, staff will incorporate them into a report for the DRC. You will receive a copy of the staff report in advance of the DRC meeting. At the DRC meeting, staff will present your request to the DRC. You or your representative should attend the meeting. The DRC will recommend preliminary approval, deny, or defer your request, and identify issues you need to address before the Zoning Administrator can sign and approve the plan.
Next, the DRC will present a summary of your case to the Planning Commission and make a recommendation. The Commission may discuss items and ask additional questions, so you or your representative should attend the Planning Commission meeting. The Planning Commission will vote to grant preliminary approval, deny, or defer your request. After the meeting, staff will write you a letter noting what action was taken on your case and what deficiencies need to be addressed before final approval can be granted.
Administrative Review of Site Plan You need to submit 10 sets of plans for administrative review. The plans will be reviewed by the Planning Division and other agencies in the County. Planning staff will compile all comments and transmit them to you within 30 days of the submittal of plans. These comments will identify any deficiencies that need to be addressed. If the Planning Division grants preliminary approval, staff will notify you of all conditions which need to be addressed before final approval will be issued.
What should I do after the site plan receives preliminary approval? Once a plan has preliminary approval, you may contact the Engineering and Resource Protection Division at 757-253-6670 to get information about obtaining a Land Disturbing Permit. This permit allows you to begin clearing, grading, and installing utilities. Fees and surety bonds may be required. Please note that you will have one year to submit revised plans and receive final approval from the Zoning Administrator. If final approval is not granted within one year, the plan becomes void. New applications, fees, and plans will need to be submitted.
When can my site plan receive final approval? After you address all comments and submit 10 sets of revised plans, a plan may receive final approval. When a plan receives final approval, you will receive written notification and two copies of the approved plan. One copy is for your files and one is to be kept on the construction site. An approved final site plan will be valid for a period of five years. If the site plan is not put into use or building permits are not obtained, the plan becomes void. New applications, fees, and plans will need to be submitted.
What should I do after the site plan receives final approval? Before beginning construction, 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 you will be connecting to public water and sewer, contact the JCSA at 757-253-6800 to apply for service.
There is a fee based on the size of the water meter required for the project.
Will I need any other permits? 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. Please note that certain water and sewer facilities may require a special use permit before a site plan can get preliminary or final approval. Additionally, if you are building in the southern portion of the County, your water may be served by Newport News Waterworks (NNWW) instead of the JCSA. Planning staff will tell you if your plan falls under NNWW jurisdiction. If your plan will have water served by NNWW, a separate review by NNWW is required after your plan has received preliminary approval. Please contact NNWW at 757-247-8465 for questions and information about review fees.
- Site Plan