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Certificates of Occupancy
Guidelines
The following is information regarding certificates of occupancy. Each application can be found on the Forms and Applications page.

Commercial Certificates of Occupancy
A certificate of occupancy is required before any business begins its operations in town.  A new certificate of occupancy is required when there is a change in the use of an existing building, a change in ownership or a change in the location of the business. If changes are contemplated that require a building permit, no certificate of occupancy will be issued until after said permit has been properly issued and an inspection has been performed by the town staff to determine that all required inspections have been performed by Fairfax County. A final inspection shall be performed by the town staff to ensure that all construction is in accordance with the approved plans, drawings and building elevations by the various boards and commissions of the Town of Vienna.

Home Occupation Certificates of Occupancy
A certificate of occupancy is required for any accessory use of a dwelling unit in addition to occupancy. In any residential zone a home occupation is permitted including the use of the home as an office, provided that the occupation complies with all the following:
  • Is entirely operated within the single dwelling unit and only by the residents maintaining a dwelling therein
  • Creates no external evidence of the home occupation, including any advertisement other than a dwelling name plate no larger than 1.5 square feet in area
  • Does not utilize more than 25% of the gross livable floor area including the basement
  • No person is employed other than a member of the immediate family residing on the premises
  • Does not use any internal combustion engine as a power source and does not use more than a total of three horsepower in fractional horsepower electric motors (other than normally used for domestic use)
  • Will not involve the emission of any sounds, odors, or smoke beyond the property in excess of normal single family dwelling use
  • No commodity or good may be sold on the premises
  • Customers or clients may come to the premises only by appointment
  • Will not constitute a nuisance due to sidewalk or street traffic
  • Will not tend to adversely affect the use and development of adjoining properties in the immediate neighborhood
  • All equipment and/or merchandise may only be stored inside the principal residential structure
  • All commercial deliveries, either to or from the premises, may only be made between 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
 

Additional Information

A boarding house, tourist home, massage therapist or massage therapy establishment, or principal office of a real estate business shall not be deemed a home occupation.

Prohibited home occupations also include hair salons, nail salons and food services that use the home kitchen for goods sold to the public (home-based catering, bakery, etc., are also prohibited by Fairfax County Health Department Regulations).

Any family day home facility in the Town of Vienna requires a separate certificate of occupancy from the Town along with meeting local regulations pertaining to the number of children permitted within the home at any one time. View a special statement from the Town's Zoning Administrator, the Fairfax County explanation associated with family day homes and the Code of Virginia references.

Residential Certificates of Occupancy for New Construction and Additions
Certificates of occupancy are required for new construction, residential additions with new footprints 50% or greater than the size of the original dwelling or residential additions with floor area in excess of 100% of the original dwelling. Steps to be taken by home owner or representative after the building permit is issued:
  1. Complete the top portion and signature box of an application for a certificate of occupancy.
  2. Bring or send the certificate of occupancy application to the Planning and Zoning Office to be kept on file during the construction process.
  3. Submit a scaled front elevation drawing showing the proposed grade (to verify building height in accordance with the Town Code). Please call (703) 255-6348 to schedule an appointment for field check of height measurement.
  4. Before construction proceeds above the foundation, hire a licensed land surveyor or registered engineer to produce a wall check survey and submit two copies of this plat to the Planning and Zoning Office. The wall check survey needs to show the footprint of the house (and all other buildings on the lot) and the height or elevation of the foundation wall.
  5. Town staff will check (3) and (4) to ensure that they comply with Town Code regulations.
  6. Once the construction is complete, obtain a final survey from a licensed land surveyor registered engineer and submit two copies of this plat to the Planning and Zoning Office. This survey must show the exact location and height of the completed building, accessory buildings and all other improvements, plus all driveways and parking areas and the composition of each.
  7. Check to ensure that all final steps of construction have been taken as required by the Department of Public Works and Department of Planning and Zoning, including the planting of grass seed or sod, and pavement of the driveway in a permanent surface.  NOTE: If this new dwelling is part of a newly approved subdivision, all public improvements must be installed prior to final approval by the town (and subsequent issuance of a certificate of occupancy).
  8. Call the Planning and Zoning Office once Fairfax County final inspections are completed. (Please note that 24 hours prior notice to inspection must be given.) For new residential dwellings, and prior to this “as built” in field inspection, an inspection fee of $400 will be charged. The Town of Vienna Zoning Inspector will inspect and get the signatures off the panel box. For those properties within a resource management area (RMA) or a resource protection area (RPA), an inspection will also be required to determine if best management practices (BMPs) comply with the water quality impact assessment (WQIA).
  9. Allow 3-5 days from the submission of the final survey and completion of all inspections for the issuance of the certificate of occupancy (application fee is $50).  Note: A new dwelling or new addition may not be used as living space until a certificate of occupancy has been issued from the Town of Vienna.  To inquire about the status of your pending certificate of occupancy, please call the Planning and Zoning Office at (703) 255-6341 or TTY 711.