Zoning Enforcement

The Department of Planning and Zoning is responsible for administering and enforcing the Zoning Ordinance (Appendix B of the County Code). Zoning enforcement occurs under multiple circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • Establishment of a use not permitted within a Zoning District

  • Establishment of a use within a Zoning District without the necessary Special Exception (granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals) or Conditional Use Permit (granted by the Board of Supervisors)
  • Establishment of a use to a greater extent than is permitted within a Zoning District

  • Establishment of a use in a manner inconsistent with the supplemental regulations required by the Zoning Ordinance

  • Construction or exterior alteration of a structure without a Zoning Permit (not including fences)

  • Construction or exterior alteration of a structure within the setback(s) required by a Zoning District

  • Construction of a sign without a Zoning Permit

  • Construction of a sign within the setback(s) required by a Zoning District

Zoning enforcement by the Department of Planning and Zoning is complaint-driven where enforcement is initiated when our department is made aware of a potential violation. When a violation is confirmed staff aims to resolve the issue by assist in bringing the violation into compliance (when possible) before pursuing any legal enforcement procedures, as detailed in Section 15-8 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Process

When notified of a potential violation of the Zoning Ordinance, departmental staff will document the complaint and perform a site visit within 1-2 weeks of receiving the complaint to confirm whether or not a violation has occurred. If a violation has occurred, the Zoning Administrator will notify the individual or entity responsible in writing of the nature of the violation and necessary action(s) to correct the violation. In some circumstances, the discontinuance or an illegal use or structure will be ordered until the violation has been resolved.

If a confirmed violation is continued without the individual or entity responsible taking the necessary steps to correct the violation, the County Attorney will pursue a legal remedy to resolve the violation. The County Attorney will require all illegal actions to be stopped until the violation is adjudicated by the Gloucester County Circuit Court and all corrective actions are identified and accomplished. Pursuant to Section 15-10 of the Zoning Ordinance, any individual or entity found to be violating the Zoning Ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not less than $10 nor more than $1,000, with each day a violation is committed or continued constituting a separate offense.