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Planning and Zoning
Patrick Mulhern.JPG
Patrick J. Mulhern, AICP
Director, Planning & Zoning

127 Center St. South
Vienna, VA  22180

Ph: 703-255-6341
Fx: 703-255-5722

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
The Department of Planning and Zoning fairly and equitably enforces the planning, zoning, weed and debris, and code enforcement provisions of the Town Code to ensure that the Town remains a premier community in Northern Virginia. But what does this mean in terms of everyday life for the Vienna resident? 

In terms of planning, one of the most important documents the Town maintains is the Comprehensive Plan. Mandated by the state, the Comprehensive Plan provides short- and long-term goals and objectives for the Town in the areas of transportation, land use,  environment and sustainability, parks and recreation, and public facilities and services. Guided by the Planning Commission and adopted by Town Council, the plan reflects the vision of the community and goals for the future of the Town. It is the role of the Department of Planning and Zoning to provide recommendations and technical expertise to ensure the plan is accurate, comprehensive, and recognizes where the Town is and where it wants to be.  

There are four key chapters in the Town Code for which the Planning and Zoning Department is responsible for enforcing: 4, 13, 17, and 18.These deal with a wide range of issues, including architectural standards for commercial buildings, weeds and grass enforcement, sign standards, and subdivision regulations.There are various means of enforcing these regulations, including boards and commissions, building permit review, and inspections.The department works with four boards and commissions: Board of Architectural Review, Windover Heights Board of Approval, Board of Zoning Appeals, and Planning Commission.All four boards and commissions are made up of residents and are tasked with reviewing a variety of applications, including subdivisions, variances, improvements within the historic district, commercial building design, and signage.

One of the main functions of the department is to review building permits.Whether it is a deck, new home, or a new tenant layout for a commercial building, Planning and Zoning must review and ensure that all proposed work complies with the Town’s zoning regulations.We realize that applying for permits may not always be easy; knowing which zoning codes apply or even in which zone the project is located are common issues.To help make the process as painless and smooth as possible, we encourage anyone who needs assistance to give the department a call or check out any of our online building permit information guides. The Planning and Zoning Department also is responsible for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis and provides residents and Town staff with a variety of paper and interactive web maps.Have you ever wondered what your house looked like in 1937 or 1954? Thanks to historic aerials that were digitized, you can now find out. Head over to, the Town’s web map portal. Other maps include the Town’s current pedestrian network, zoning map, and a map showing public transportation options. 

The department provides technical advice and staff support to the following entities: