Zoning Permits

A Zoning Permit is required for most forms of development. And is required prior to the issuance of a building permit, business license, or Certificate of Occupancy.

  • Omitting information pertaining to the project from the description you provide on your application will cause your application to be deemed incomplete.
  • No action will take place if staff determines that the application is incomplete.
  • When staff is reviewing your project, other reviews might be triggered including Flood Zones, Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas, Historic Districts, and subdivision regulations.
  • In addition, other permits and clearances may be needed from other departments such at Permits and Inspections, Engineering, and the Commissioner of the Revenue. Applicants should contact those departments directly to discuss the requirements for their projects.
  • Approval of all signage requires the submission of a Zoning Sign Permit Application rather than a Zoning Permit Application.
  • No application, permit, or approval shall be considered on property where there is a known outstanding violation of the Zoning Ordinance, unless the application, permit, and/or approval would remedy the violation.
  • Zoning Permits may be revoked at such point in time omission of necessary information has been brought to light.
  • A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is required prior to most exterior work visible from the public right-of-way in the Downtown Design (DD) Overlay District or any Historic District.
  • Development of single family residential structures should follow the submittal requirements of the Engineering Department as detailed on the Single Family Development Application Form in addition to submitting the Zoning Permit Application. Applicants should contact the Engineering Department directly for details regarding the Single Family Development process. 
  • Please note that documents required for the Zoning permit must be submitted directly to the Zoning staff as noted in the application section below.

There is no fee for the Zoning Permit. There may be other fees that apply to your project.

Zoning Permit

Zoning Permit Application

The Zoning Permit Application can be downloaded here. Zoning Permit Application

Applicants for Business License Clearances should follow the process outlined on this page. Zoning Business License Clearance

Applicants for Zoning Sign Permits should follow the process outlined on this page. Zoning Sign Permits 

Applicants should be sure to consult the checklist on the application to ensure that all the required information and materials are included with the application when it is submitted. The Zoning staff can be consulted if additional information is needed prior to submitting an application.

Zoning Permit Application Submission

Completed applications should be submitted by email whenever possible. Email applications and associated supporting materials for Zoning Sign Permits to Kelton Millhouse ([email protected]) and Kelly De Jesus ([email protected]).

Electronic/digital submission of applications and other materials is encouraged whenever feasible.

Zoning application materials and documents should not be placed in any dropbox or included with submissions to other city departments. 

Required documents must be submitted directly to the Zoning staff and are required in addition to documents submitted to other departments.

For items that cannot be emailed, applicants can send items by US Postal Service, FedEx, or UPS (as appropriate for the application type).

ITEMS SHOULD BE SENT TO 

CITY OF PORTSMOUTH
PLANNING DEPARTMENT ATTN: (STAFF MEMBER NAME)
801 CRAWFORD STREET
PORTSMOUTH, VA 23704