Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the County hours of operation?

Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM- 4:30 PM.

Hours of Operation/Holidays
What are the Stafford County Courthouse hours of operation?

Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM- 4:00 PM.

Court Hours
Where do I pay a court fine/fee?
You may pay certain fines or fees online by visiting the link. You may also pay any court fines or fees in person by visiting the Stafford County Courthouse located at 1300 Courthouse Rd., Stafford, VA 22554 during regular office hours, 8:00 AM- 4:30 PM. Pay Fees Online
Where can I apply for a building permit?
Stafford County’s Department of Public Works handles the application and processing for all residential and commercial permitting.

Public Works

Where can I pay utility bills, tax payments or parking fines?
You can make these payments in the Stafford County Treasurer’s Office located in the George L. Gordon, Jr. Government Center, located at 1300 Courthouse Rd, Stafford, VA 22554. Treasurer's Office
Which department do I contact regarding tall grass or abandoned vehicles?
Please contact our Planning and Zoning Department directly by dialing (540) 658-8668. You may also submit a Citizens Request online.

Citizen Request Form

Who do I contact regarding stray dogs/cats/animal noise?
Please contact our Animal Control Division of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office. You can contact them directly by dialing (540) 658-7387. For more details, visit their website
Animal Control
Who do I contact regarding broken/missing street signs?
Please contact our Transportation Office directly by calling (540) 658-4900.
Transportation website
Who handles snow removal from public roads in Stafford County?
The Virginia Department of Transportation handles all snow removal on public roads in Stafford. You may contact them directly by dialing (800) 367-7623. Visit the VDOT website for additional information. VDOT
How do I apply for employment with Stafford County?
You can apply for employment with Stafford County Government or Stafford County Schools by visiting our Human Resources Department, located in the George L. Gordon Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554 or via our website. Apply Online!
When/Where does the Stafford County Board of Supervisors meet?
The Stafford Board of Supervisors conducts meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month at the George L. Gordon, Jr. Government Center, located at 1300 Courthouse Rd., Stafford, VA 22554. The meetings start at 3:00 PM and then again at 7:00 PM.
Board of Supervisors
Where can I file a complaint regarding a County issue?
Please fill out a Citizen Request form or visit the George L. Gordon, Jr. Government Center, located at 1300 Courthouse Rd., Stafford, VA 22554. Citizen Request Form
Does Stafford County provide a legal aid or legal assistance program?
No. Stafford County does not provide legal aid or legal advice. However, the Legal Aid Works Office may be able to provide you with the legal services you need.  Visit their website at https://www.legalaidworks.org or phone (540) 371-1105.

Rappahannock Legal Services
Who do I contact regarding volunteering with Stafford County?
If you are interested in volunteering with our Fire and Rescue Department or with one of our local volunteer fire departments, please contact Stafford County Fire and Rescue directly by dialing (540) 658-7200.


If you are interested in volunteering in an administrative capacity in the government center or other location, please contact the Citizens Assistance and Volunteer Services Office directly by dialing (540) 658-4518.
Who do I contact regarding volunteering with Stafford County?
There are a few steps that you will need to take to ensure your business gets up and running properly. You should first contact the Commissioner of the Revenue in order to have tax information processed. You can contact the Commissioner’s Office directly by dialing (540) 658-4132.


You may also wish to contact our Economic Development Department and request a new business packet. This will help you ensure that every step of the process has been addressed. You can contact our Economic Development Department directly by dialing (540) 658-8681.

Brooke Road FAQs

Who is responsible for maintaining Brooke Road?

The Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for the maintenance of all state roads, such as Brooke Road

Click Here to view VDOT’s Major Initiatives: Route 608 (Brooke Road) Maintenance and Operations

Is Stafford County exploring a permanent solution to the recurring flooding issue along Brooke Road?
Yes. A plan to realign and elevate Route 608 (Brooke Road) between the intersection of Raven Road and Maplewood Drive for a length of approximately 0.45 miles. This $7.5M project to construct a permanent solution to Brooke Road is included in the County’s proposed FY22-31 Capital Improvements Plan with design work scheduled to begin in Fall/Winter 2021.
Why does it take so long to build a road?

To answer that question can be extensive, but to summarize: it takes years to complete transportation projects because of the enormous amount of work that is involved. Before actual construction can even begin, studies and design work must be completed. The proposed area must be surveyed. The environmental, social and economic impact of a road must be studied. A preliminary design of the roadway, must be reviewed by all stakeholders in the project, such as affected property owners and local governments. And finally, all permits must be secured before construction can begin. 

For more information on the process and timeline for building a road, please visit: VDOT’s How to Build a Road

How often does Brooke Road close?

Over the past three years, VDOT has had to close Brooke Road to traffic on approximately 13 occasions, outside of temporary closures by Public Safety.

How many residents are impacted by road closures on Brooke Road?

Road closures along Brooke Road impact approximately 450 residences

How long will it take to fix Brooke Road?

To realign and elevate Route 608 (Brooke Road) between the intersection of Raven Road and Maplewood Drive for a length of approximately 0.45 miles, it would take approximately 5 – 7 years to complete construction. Design work is anticipated to begin in the Fall/Winter 2021.

Commissioner of Revenue

Does the Commissioner of the Revenue collect taxes?
The Treasurer's office collects taxes. The Commissioner's office assesses and reassesses property and generates the personal property and real estate books. It is the Treasurer's responsibility to prepare tax bills and collect tax money.
Does the Commissioner of the Revenue have the authority to make law and public policy decisions?
The Commissioner of the Revenue is not a legislative position. The Commissioner implements legislation passed either by the State Legislature or by the Board of Supervisors but does not have the authority to pass any legislation.
Does the Commissioner's Office raise taxes?
The Commissioner of the Revenue's office does not set tax rates. It is the responsibility of the Board of Supervisors to set personal property and real estate tax rates. The Commissioner's office reassesses real estate every two years to ensure your property is assessed as fairly, equitably and accurately as possible. Sec. 58.1-3201 of the Virginia tax code requires localities to assess Real Estate at 100% of fair market value. Accuracy in assessments is very important. If assessments fall too far below market value, state funding can be reduced or ultimately denied.
My property value increased. Does that mean my tax bill will increase?
No. Your assessment is only used to distribute the tax burden. The Board of Supervisors, through the tax rate, creates the tax burden. The tax rate will be set in April. The reassessment ensures that the burden is distributed fairly and equitably.
Can I use the current tax rate to estimate my tax bill?
No. Once a reassessment is completed the tax rate is automatically adjusted to offset the effects of the reassessment and ensure that the real estate tax base does not increase by more than 1% over the previous year. This rate is referred to as the effective tax rate. (Code of Virginia 58.1-3321) The Board of Supervisors can only increase the tax rate above the effective rate if they hold a public hearing.
What are our hours of operation?

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Phone Hours:
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Why am I receiving a reassessment notice?
The Stafford County code requires the Commissioner of the Revenue to reassess property every two years. Property is to be assessed at 100% of the fair market value. (Article X Sec. 2 Constitution of Virginia)
What happens if the county does not assess real property at or near fair market value?
A number of state funding sources are tied to the accuracy of property assessments. If assessments fall too far below market value state funding can be reduced or even withheld.

COVID-19 Drinking Water FAQs

Can the COVID-19 virus spread through drinking water?
No. According to information found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. 
Is my Stafford County drinking water safe?

Yes. Existing treatment requirements, water quality standards and design standards for construction of drinking water treatment systems and wells address viruses and microbial pathogens, including the COVID-19 virus.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the, "presence of the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies and based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low." Additionally, according to the CDC, COVID-19 is mainly thought to spread between people who are in close contact with one another and COVID-19 is not spread through drinking water. 

What is VDH doing to help protect my drinking water?

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) continues to enforce all regulations and treatment requirements for public water systems that prevent waterborne pathogens such as viruses from contaminating drinking water. During a pandemic, waterworks are required to maintain the same water quality standards. 

VDH has reached out to waterworks owners and operators to provide information and encourage owners and operators to prepare for potential future events. 

In addition, VDH is continually reaching out to waterworks owners and operators to discover if they are being impacted by COVID-19, for example, loss of operational staff, lack of supplies and chemicals, or loss of support services, such a water quality laboratory. 

Do I need to boil my drinking water?

Boiling your water is not required as a precaution against COVID-19.

Is tap water safe to use for hand washing?

 Yes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual. According to the CDC, washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

If I want more information about my drinking water or have concerns about it, who should I contact?

Contact Stafford County Utilities at (540) 658- 8616. If you have a private water supply, contact the local health department for more information.

CP - Training 2

When are little league football signups?
Little League football signups begin August 1st and end August 21st. Please Signup at our webpage or in our office at 201 e orchard st. Parks and Rec
When are soccer tryouts?
Tryouts are 2/18 and 2/19. Parks and Rec
When are taxes due this year?
Taxes are due June 5th and December 5th. Pay online at at the myStafford Customer Portal
When are little league football signups?
Little League football signups begin August 1st and end August 21st. Please Signup at our webpage or in our office at 201 e orchard st. Parks and Rec
When are soccer tryouts?
Tryouts are 2/18 and 2/19. Parks and Rec

Free Chlorine Flushing FAQs

What is free chlorine?

Free chlorine is a disinfectant that is used on a temporary basis to remove any residual bacteria and viruses that may be in the water distribution system. Free chlorine is the use of chlorine- only, which is a stronger disinfectant that chloramines which is a combined chlorine.

Why does the County convert from chloramine to free chlorine every few years?

In order to disinfect and kill germs and other contaminates, Stafford County adds chloramines to the water throughout the year. Every few years, Stafford switches to “free chlorine” to do a deep cleaning of all water mains throughout the drinking water distribution system to assure there is no bacterial growth once the water has left the treatment plant.

Is free chlorine safe?

Yes, free chlorine is safe and effective. Stafford County’s water quality has met or surpassed every state and federal requirement that safeguards public health. Stafford County monitors water quality regularly to provide residents with safe drinking water. Click here to view the latest Water Quality Report

Some people are more sensitive than others to chemicals. Individuals who have health concerns should seek medical advice from their healthcare providers.

How long will the "free chlorine conversion" last?

The length of this temporary process of “free chlorine conversion” will be approximately 30 days. Crews will continue the system-wide flush for an additional 30 days after the “free chlorine conversion” ends. In 2021 - The free chlorine conversion will take place from March 15 - April 16, 2021.

Will I notice a change in my water?

Some people may notice a slight change in the taste or odor of their water during the flushing period

Will the flushing cause cloudiness or sediments in my water?

When a hydrant is opened, there will always be temporary incidences of discolored water containing fine sediment particles making the water appear brown or rust-colored. In addition, fine air bubbles may be introduced into the water giving it a milky appearance. There is no health hazard associated with discolored water. Allow a few hours for discoloration to dissipate. To verify the water has settled, allow your cold water tap to run a few minutes. If the discoloration persists for more than six hours, please contact Stafford’s Department of Public Works at (540) 658-8695.

Where can I get more information?

General

What are the hours of operation?

The Stafford County Government Center is open Monday through Friday, 8:00AM - 4:30PM.

Individual departments may have differing hours. Please check their departmental webpage for accurate hours.

View Hours of Operation/Holidays
Where can I find the budget?
Stafford County’s budget is a financial guide for citizens and staff. The purpose of is to communicate the initiatives authorized by the Board of Supervisors and enacted by the County Administrator. This document accounts for the County’s anticipated income from various revenue sources and how these resources are to be used during the fiscal year. The reader will also find background information such as how the organization is structured and other pertinent statistical data about Stafford County. The Adopted Budget Document, developed for information and planning purposes, represents revenues and expenditures for the year beginning July 1, and ending June 30.

Open Adopted Budget (pdf)
Where do I pay a court fine/fee?
You may pay certain fines online or any court fines/fees in person by visiting the Stafford County Courthouse located at 1300 Courthouse Rd., Stafford, VA 22554 during regular office hours, 8:00 AM- 4:30 PM.
Where can I make an online payment?
Use myStafford Portal to Search, View and/or Pay your Stafford accounts in one convenient location. You may also make payments in person at the Stafford County Treasurer’s Office located in the George L. Gordon, Jr. Government Center, located at 1300 Courthouse Rd, Stafford, VA 22554.

Go to myStafford Portal
Where can I apply for a building permit?
Stafford County’s Department of Public Works handles the application and processing for all residential and commercial permitting. Public Works
Where can I file a complaint?
Please fill out a Citizen Request form or visit the George L. Gordon, Jr. Government Center, located at 1300 Courthouse Rd., Stafford, VA 22554.
How can I start or expand my business in Stafford?

Our Department of Economic Development is here to help you find what you need to get your business running. Visit our Economic Development page today to get started.

General Reassessment

Why am I receiving a reassessment notice?
The Stafford County code requires the Commissioner of the Revenue to reassess property every two years. Property is to be assessed at 100% of the fair market value. (Article X Sec. 2 Constitution of Virginia)
If my property value increased or decreased, does that mean my tax bill will do the same?
No. The Board of Supervisors through the tax rate determines what your tax bill will be through the tax rate. They will set the rate in April as part of the County budget process. The purpose of this reassessment is to determine the fair market value of the property, not to increase county revenue or your tax bill.
When will the Board of Supervisors vote on the tax rate?
The Board of Supervisors will vote on a tax rate in mid-April. Board of Supervisors Calendar
What happens if the county does not assess real property at or near fair market value?
A number of state funding sources for the County are tied to the accuracy of property assessments. If assessments fall too far below market value state funding can be reduced or even withheld. The best way to ensure that property is accurately assessed is to continuously verify and correct the data we have on all properties.
Should I appeal my assessment?
If you feel your assessment does not reflect the true market value of your property or is not comparable to similar properties, you may have a case to appeal your assessment. Please do not appeal if you think your property value changed by too large a percentage, or if you do not want to pay more in taxes. In these cases an appeal is not justified.
Does the Board of Supervisors have any influence over the assessment process?
No. While the Commissioner’s office does work closely with the Board on many issues, the assessment process is completely independent of the Board of Supervisors and county staff. The reassessment is conducted by the Commissioner of the Revenue who is an independently elected official. All concerns or appeals should be made directly to the Commissioner’s Office, not to your local supervisor.

Geographic Information System

Is the County's GIS information available to the public?

Yes, visit our Open Data Page to view Applications, Download/Query GIS Layers:  http://data-staffordva-gis.opendata.arcgis.com

Website
Can I download and view the GIS information?

Yes, visit our Open Data Page to view Applications, Download/Query GIS Layers:  http://data-staffordva-gis.opendata.arcgis.com

How do I request a map? How much does it cost?
Our most popular maps are already printed & updated as conditions change. The go to the GIS page select website link below. You may visit our office to pick up a printed map or have a custom one made. Cost can vary. Please email gis@staffordcountyva.gov for more information. Website

Human Resources

What is the Children's Services Act for At Risk Youth and Families (CSA)?
It is a 1993 Virginia Law that provided for the pooling of eight specific funding streams used to purchase services for high-risk youth. These funds are returned to localities with a required state/local match and are managed by local interagency teams. The purpose of the act is to provide high quality, child centered, family focused, cost effective, community based-services to high risk youth and their families.
How did it get started?
In 1989, the General Assembly became concerned because the cost of providing residential treatment to high risk youth was increasing at approximately 22% each year. Because of this, a study of children in residential care was conducted. Fourteen thousand records from four different state agencies were examined. Subsequent analysis showed that services were provided to only 4,993 individual children. In addition, 9 out of 10 of these children returned to their home communities where necessary changes in the child's community environment had not been made. The progress achieved in the residential facility was often lost.

At the point, it was decided that high quality, less restrictive, community based-services would be provided to these children if the funds were managed at the local level. There is a local case match required to access the state CSA funds.

Which Funding Streams were placed in the Funds Pool?
Department of Social Services
State and Local Foster Care
Foster Care Purchased Services
Department of Juvenile Services
286 Special Placements
239 Special Placements
Department of Education
Private Tuition
Interagency Assistance
Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services
Purchased Beds for Adolescents
Other
Interagency Consortium
Who Manages the Money at the Local Level?
Each locality is required to have at least two different interagency teams. They are the Community Policy and Management Team (CPMT) and Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT).
Who Participates on the Local Teams?
The Community Policy and Management Team (CPMT) is made up of at least one elected or appointed official or his designee and the agency heads or their designee from the local Department of Social Services, School System, Community Services Board (mental health), Court Services Unit (juvenile justice), local Health Department, a parent and, where appropriate, a private provider. This team has administrative and fiscal responsibility for the local funds pool, for developing local policies and procedures and appointment members of the Family Assessment and Planning Team.

The Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT) is comprised of the supervisory level staff from the same agencies as the CPMT as well as the parent and private providers. These teams work with the families to develop the Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP). If the services needed are beyond what is available in the participating agencies and there are no other family or community resources available, the team may choose to purchase them with local CSA pool funds.

Which Children may be Served by the Teams?
In general, the children who would have been served by one of the funding streams placed in the pool are targeted for services through the CSA. The children who would have been served by the education funds and/or the foster care funds placed in the pool are considered "mandated" for service. This is because there is "sum sufficient' language attached to them in the Federal law and/or the Code of Virginia. These special education and foster care children are the only populations state and local governments are required to appropriate sufficient funds to serve.
Are these the only Children who may be Served?
No! If funds are available, localities may choose to serve other children with emotional or behavioral problems, especially those with multi agency involvement. Parents will be required to contribute financially toward the cost of CSA-funded services.

In the County of Stafford, "non-mandated" funds are available for identified children. These funds are limited and the County of Stafford is not required to appropriate sufficient funds to serve this population.

How do Children and Families access the Teams?
Each locality develops its own policies and procedures governing how families access the teams. Some localities allow parents to self-refer, some allow any local agency to bring a case and many require that one of the agencies who serve on the team be the point of contact for the family.

Stafford County allows the Department of Social Services, Stafford County Public Schools, the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board, the Court Services Unit to make referrals for potential funding. Stafford County will accept a parental referral but requires one of the mandated agencies to case manage and be the point of contact between the FAPT and the family. For more information, please contact the CSA office staff at (540) 658-4622 or (540) 658-4619.

Online Permitting

Who can apply for a permit online?

Anyone who has the authority of the owner can apply for a building permit online.  Applicants that are not licensed to perform the work must provide an affidavit from a license contractor or an owner affidavit if applicable.

How do I register?

Contact us at eplans@staffordcountyva.gov to register for an online account.

What do I need to submit with my application?

Application requirements vary depending on the work being performed.  Please visit the Building section of the Public Works page to for an application specific checklist.

How do I upload plans?

Please see our ePlans User's Guide for Building Permits or our Quick Start Guide for information on uploading your plans.

Can I pay permit fees online?

You can pay fees online using an eCheck or credit card, payments made by credit card are subject to a convenience fee of 2% + $1.00.  You can also pay permit fees in person or by mail.  We are unable to process payments over the phone.

How do I amend a permit that was submitted online?

To amend a permit that was submitted online send an email to eplans@staffordcountyva.gov noting the permit number and describing the changes.  Our staff will edit your permit application and notify you when you need to pay fees and upload amended files.

I submitted my application in person, can I respond to comments online?

No.  Applications submitted online follow a different workflow process than those submitted on paper and are not interchangeable. 

Can I respond to review comments before all other reviews are complete?

While you do have the ability to see individual reviewers comments, you must wait until all reviews are complete before responding to comments.  This process is different than our paper submission process, where you respond to each reviewer separately.

How can my engineer see review comments?

You have the ability to add view-only users to your applications so that they can view review comments, these users will not have access to alter your application or resubmit plans for you.  To add them you simply enter their name and email address from your task page.  

Do I have to apply online?

No. You do not have to apply online; you can apply in person at the Community Development Service Center or by mail.

Parks and Recreation

Planning

Where can I find property/deed information?
Property deeds are recorded in the Clerk of the Circuit Court's Office. Call the Clerk's Office at (540) 658-8752 for more information.

Information about individual parcels of land located in Stafford County may be obtained from the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office at (540) 658-4124.

What is the process for Rezonings and Conditional Use Permits?
A preliminary conference with the planning staff of the Department of Planning and Zoning is required before making application for rezoning or conditional use permits. You may call (540) 658-8668 to set an appointment.

The location of the property to be discussed, identified by tax map and parcel numbers, is useful information you may want to supply when making an appointment for a conference.

The planner you meet with will inform you of the application procedures and deadlines, as well as tentative hearing dates. The first public hearing usually takes place within 3 months of the application submission deadline. The rezoning process generally takes 4 to 6 months to complete.

Please see online forms for updated fees and information on rezoning and conditional use permits.

Call the Department of Planning and Zoning at (540) 658-8668, if you have any additional questions.

Procurement

How do I register to receive a copy of future solicitations?

All vendors interested in doing business with Stafford County or Stafford Public Schools should register with the Commonwealth’s electronic procurement system, eVA to receive notices of solicitations. 

Complete guidance for Vendor Registration is available on the eVA’s Vendor Registration page or by calling eVA Customer Care at 1-866-289-7367.

Who do I contact to get a copy of a solicitation package?

Purchasing posts all formal solicitations on eVA, the Commonwealth of Virginia's electronic procurement portal.  You can download a copy from eVA or may pick up copies in person in our office.

What is Stafford's Tax ID & Duns number?
Tax ID #: 54-6001626.

Duns #: 08-900-5672

Do I need a business license?

Stafford County does not require a business license. However, there is a business registration process. For more information, visit

Economic Development.
Where can I get a W9?
For your convenience, you can download the W9 form here.

Public Works

Do I need a building permit?

Whenever you construct, reconstruct, enlarge, alter, or demolish a structure, a permit is required prior to starting the work. If you are unsure if your project requires a permit, please contact the Building Division at (540) 658-8650.

The following are examples of work that require a building permit (see USBC 108.1):

  • Alteration of any required means of egress

  • Building a new house

  • Building an addition onto an existing house or attached garage

  • Converting an existing deck or screened porch into a sunroom

  • Building an attached or detached garage or carport

  • Converting a garage to a habitable space or enclosing a carport

  • Building a porch, screened porch, deck, associated steps, ramp, pergola, portico, or gazebo

  • Building or installing a tool shed over 256 square feet in area- Please note that a zoning permit is required for all sheds.

  • Finishing off an unfinished attic, basement, or room over the garage

  • Installing a flag pole over 30’ in height, please note that a Zoning permit is required for all flag poles

  • Moving or removing a load bearing wall or partition

  • Retaining wall which support 3 or more feet of unbalanced fill

  • Bulkheads, piers, and docks

  • Repairing, altering, enlarging or modifying any structural element of the house, including any damaged structural element, such as load bearing stud walls, columns, piers, footings, foundations, floor joists, rafters, beams or girders

  • Replacing/adding fuel fired equipment

  • Enlarging or adding a door opening or window opening

  • Changing the use of the structure (example: change from residential use to business use)

  • Installing a pool, hot tub or spa greater than 150 square feet, 5000 gallons, OR 24" deep

  • Re-roofing commercial buildings

  • New electrical wiring or circuits

  • Movement of lot line that increases hazard or safety of existing structure

  • Removal or disturbance of any material containing asbestos for demolition or alteration of a building

  • Demolition of an existing structure The building code allows some work to be done without obtaining a permit. While a permit is not required, the work must be in compliance with the code.

 

Some examples of work that does not require a permit include (see USBC 108.2):

  • Making ordinary repairs and improvements, including, but not limited to:

    • Painting the inside or outside of the house or detached structures

    • Repairing drywall, plaster, exterior siding, etc.

    • Installing new floor coverings, such as vinyl, carpet, or hardwood 

    • Installing or refurbishing cabinetry

    • Repairing or replacing porch or deck flooring boards Please note a permit is required to repair or replace the joists or girders.

    • Repairing or replacing handrails on a porch

    • Installing or replacing doors and windows, including storm windows, where no structural changes are performed

    • Installing or replacing exterior siding

    • Residential re-roofing: Old shingle roof can be left in place provided that there are not more than two previous layers of shingles and that the existing shingles are not water saturated.

    • Installing or replacing gutters and downspouts

    • Repairing or replacing siding

  • Installing driveways or sidewalks

  • Constructing or installing a storage shed, playhouse, etc, 256 square feet or less in area Zoning permit required.

  • Adding a fence (which is not part of a swimming pool enclosure) and which is 6’ or less in height Refer to subdivision covenants (if applicable)

  • Building recreational equipment, such as swings, skateboard ramps, jungle gyms, etc.

  • Adding roof insulation

  • Installing any wiring or equipment which operates at less than 50 volts

  • Installing a security alarm system

  • Replacing existing electrical water heater with a new electric water heater

  • Replacing electrical fixtures, such as switches and receptacles •Installing or replacing a ceiling fan to a pre-wired switch

  • Replacing plumbing fixtures, such as sinks

  • Replacing or repairing existing mechanical appliances (of equal size and type) This exception is not applicable to gas and oil-fired appliances.

  • Temporary ADA ramps with less than 30” rise for residential properties

The neighbor started building something on his house without a permit; shouldn't they have one?
If the neighbor appears to be building without a permit, you can call the Department of Public Works Building Division at (540) 658-8650 and file a report. Someone from the County will follow-up and determine if a building permit is required and if one has been issued.
What happens if I build the structure without a building permit?
The responsible party will be required to submit construction documents showing the extent of the work, a building permit will be issued "after the fact", and an inspector will determine if any of the elements of the construction must be exposed to see if the work complies with the code. The responsible party may be required to expose any concealed portion(s) of the completed work to prove that the work meets code. After the work has been inspected and approved, the structure can be lawfully occupied.
Why does my permit need a plan review?

Construction plans are a critical aspect of the construction process. The complete construction drawings serve many capacities including but not limited to: •Outlining materials and methods of construction •Clarifying the scope of work for the understanding of all parties involved (contractor, owner/occupant, inspector, etc.) •Serve as an archived record of the proposed work (as required by the Commonwealth of Virginia) •Serve as a means of confirmation of structural adequacy by the plan reviewer correcting a deficiency after installation is often difficult and costly; a detailed set of plans greatly reduces the potential for this to occur. A good set of construction plans benefits everyone involved in the construction process.

When will my permit be ready?
This will vary depending on your project and our staff’s current workload. You may check the progress of your permit online by visiting http://hello.stafford.va.us/Build . You will need your A/P number to use this site. Economic and seasonal influences can effect review times significantly. It is our priority to review your plan quickly and efficiently. You will be notified when your permit has been approved and is ready to be issued.
Is there any way to expedite my plan review?
Applications are reviewed in the order in which they were received.

There are several reviews your application must go through before it can be approved, each of which are completed by a different department or division:

• Environmental
• Grading, Erosion and Sediment Control and Drainage
• Zoning
• Utilities or Health Department
• Application Review

Economic and seasonal influences can effect review times significantly. It is our priority to review your plan quickly and efficiently.

Can I submit my application before I have all the necessary information/attachments?
No. Because your application is simultaneously routed to several different departments for review, we need all the required information and documentation when you apply. Incomplete or inadequate information will result in failures and delays in the review process.
How long is my permit valid?
Generally speaking permits are valid for six (6) months from the date that the permit is issued. Every time an inspection is scheduled, the permit extends for an additional six (6) months. There are some exceptions and limitations to this that are outlined in the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC section 110.6, 110.7 and 110.8.)
I haven't completed any inspections on the permit that was issued to me for work to be done at my home. It has been more than six months; do I need to re-apply for a new permit?
If no work has been completed within six (6) months of the issuance of a permit, you must request an extension of the permit. If there has not been a completed inspection within six (6) months and the permit holder can demonstrate “substantive progress” the Building Official may allow work to continue without revocation. There is an administrative fee located in the fee schedule that must be paid in order to extend your permit. (see USBC 110.6, 110.7 and 110.8)
Do I have to hire a contractor?
If you meet the requirements for an exemption as outlined in The Code of Virginia TITLE 54.1-1101, you do not have to hire a licensed contractor. In most cases a homeowner would not have to hire a contractor. The permit holder is responsible for the work performed under that permit, and should have a clear understanding of code requirements and specifications and should come prepared to answer questions to clarify aspects of the project. An Affidavit of Owner will need to be filled out and notarized if you are the owner and will be applying for a permit. Affidavit of Owner
What building code does Stafford County use for residential projects?

2015 USBC, however applicants have the option of using the 2012 USBC until September 4, 2019.

VA Department of Housing and Community Development
How do I schedule an Inspection?
You can schedule your inspections by phone at (540) 658-4151 or online at http://hello.stafford.va.us. You will need your A/P number, password (located on your permit receipt), and the three digit inspection code.
Why can't I schedule my inspection for today?
The Building inspectors are assigned their workload in the morning. This can consist of inspections requested previously, training, court appearances and issuing enforcement notices. In order to balance their time the inspectors must arrange their workday before leaving the office each morning. You may schedule your inspections on our automated systems up until 11:00 PM for the following workday.
Why can't I get an exact time my inspector will be at my house for an inspection?

The Building Inspectors are able to give estimated arrival times. The inspector makes many stops at different job sites during the day; often problems occur where the inspector cannot leave the job site due to the permit holder having other questions, or there could be emergencies where an inspector must abandon the route set in the morning to attend to the emergency call. Rather than commit to an exact time when the inspector will be at your job site, and not be able to meet the commitment due to unforeseen circumstances, the Building Division will supply a two hour window of arrival. You can find your estimated arrival time on the IWR or by calling the inspections office at (540) 658-8950 after 7:30am the morning of your inspection.

What's my next inspection?
After your application has been approved and issued, our staff will provide you with a permit that includes a list of the required inspections for your project. See Minimum Inspections Required.
Do I need to pay the re-inspection fee before I can schedule another inspection?
Yes. All re-inspection fees must be paid prior to re-scheduling inspections.
My inspection report says "not ready". What does that mean and why didn't I get a full inspection?
When scheduling an inspection for your job, this signals to the inspector that you have completed all necessary and code required elements for the inspection type requested. Once the inspector is on site and begins the inspection, noting each code violation, there will come a point where it is obvious to the inspector that there are too many code violations for the inspection type to warrant a full inspection. In this case, the inspection will be stopped and the items noted thus far on the “field correction notice” along with stopped inspection, not a complete inspection, "NOT READY”. This signals to the requester that the inspection is not complete and there are too many items to list. The requester must “walk” through the job and make corrections prior to rescheduling the inspection. When applying for a permit, whether by a licensed contractor or a homeowner completing their own work, a degree of knowledge and expertise is expected and required in the work under the permit as part of the application.
The inspector did not show up to do my deck inspection. What happens now?
All inspections are, if possible, completed by the date they are scheduled. There are times due to number/ volume of inspections or personnel staffing where all inspections scheduled for a given day may not be completed. If the inspector sees they will not complete their inspection schedule for the day, the inspector will rank the inspections based on priority. The following project types may receive priority at the inspector’s discretion:

• Holdovers from the previous day
• Homeowners (as many take time from work to meet the inspector)
• Concrete pours as the concrete delivery is scheduled and anticipated
• Final inspections for new homes (as this affects closing dates and moving plans)
• Ditches/ trenches that pose a hazard
• Electrical service inspections that require power interruptions

As you can see there are many circumstances that require a sense of urgency. We appreciate your patience as we make every effort to provide efficient service to Stafford County residents and contractors.

RJDC

Can siblings or other relatives visit?

more info here

Treasurer

How much did I pay in taxes?

Use the myStafford Portal to view taxes paid online.  Once you search your Real Estate or Personal Property accounts, you can use the filters under the Invoice History section to view taxes paid for any given year.  Make sure you click Filter Results once you have made the year selection. Below is an example screen shot for your reference.
mystafford

The Stafford County Treasurer’s Office makes every effort to produce and publish the most current and accurate property tax information possible. No warranties, expressed or implied, are provided for the data herein, for its use, or its interpretation. Neither Stafford County nor the Treasurer’s Office assumes any liability associated with use or misuse of this data.

Click Here For Taxes Paid

When are Real Estate and Personal Property Taxes due?

Real Estate and Personal Property taxes are typically due each year on June 5th and December 5th. If the fifth falls on a weekend, taxes are due on the next business day.

Which bills can I pay online?

Real Estate, Personal Property, Water/Sewer bills and Dog Licenses may be paid online. Online we accept: MasterCard and Visa Credit/Debit, Discover, American Express and E-check.

*All credit card payments are subject to a convenience fee imposed by the provider

How is Personal Property Tax assessed?
Stafford County assesses vehicles at 40% of the NADA retail value. For example:

• NADA value of $20,000 = $8,000 in county assessed value
• NADA value of $1,000 = $400 in county assessed value

Vehicles that qualify for tax relief, as explained above, received a reduced bill. For vehicles with a NADA value of $1,000 or less ($400 county assessed value), the tax has been eliminated.

Which credit cards do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Credit online, in the office, or by phone. Pay online through myStafford Portal

Pay by phone: 1-844-817-9045 and follow the prompts.

*All credit card payments are subject to a convenience fee imposed by the provider

Mortgage Questions

I just paid off my mortgage; who do I need to contact regarding tax bills? If you just paid off your mortgage and would like the tax bills sent to your current address, please call the mortgage clerk at (540) 658-8700 or email lbroger@staffordcountyva.gov to update our records. Please include the property address or map number. Real Estate taxes are billed bi-annually; due dates June 5 and December 5. Tax bills are typically mailed the first week of May and the first week of November. 

Why did I receive my real estate tax bill in the mail when my mortgage company escrows for my taxes? If you received your real estate tax bill in the mail and you believe your mortgage company is responsible for payment, contact your lender, write your loan number on the bill and forward it to the mortgage company. You can contact the Treasurer’s Office at (540) 658-8700 to verify payment has been received.

What is Personal Property Tax Relief?
The Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998 provides tax relief for passenger cars, motorcycles, and pickup or panel trucks having a registered gross weight of less than 7,501 pounds. To qualify, a vehicle must
• be owned by an individual or leased by an individual under a contract requiring the individual to pay the personal property tax;
AND
• be used 50% or less for business purposes.
Motor homes, trailers and farm use vehicles do not qualify for tax relief.

If your vehicle is improperly qualified or you are uncertain whether your vehicle would be eligible for car tax relief because it is used part of the time for business purposes, contact the Stafford County Commissioner of the Revenue at (540) 658-4132 or email to commrev@staffordcountyva.gov.

When you pay your Stafford County taxes on qualified vehicles, you are certifying that personal property tax relief is given only to personal use vehicles.

What is my pin?

Your PIN can be found on your Personal Property or Real Estate tax bill. For further inquiry on Personal Property call (540) 658-8700 and for Real Estate visit Assessments Online.

What vehicles am I being assessed on?
Visit the myStafford Portal and register your accounts to view vehicles or other property for which you are being taxed.

You may also call the Commissioner of the Revenue at (540) 658-4132. myStafford Portal

How do I change my address?
Visit the myStafford Portal and register your accounts to change your address and request other tax account changes.

You may also call the Commissioner of the Revenue at (540) 658-4132. myStafford Portal

Why is my Utilities payment being mailed to Baltimore?

The Stafford County Treasurer’s office contracts with our bank to provide Lockbox services to accept paper remittances for Utilities payments.  Our lockbox provides 2 very important services to the County and our citizens:

1. Improved staff productivity by automating manual processes, allowing our staff to maximize their time in serving the public.

2. Disaster Recovery/Continuity of Operations; in the event of a natural disaster or state of emergency, through our partnership with the bank, we can ensure payments are still processed.

Utilities

How do I start water and sewer service?

A written application is required for any water and/or sewer service to be initiated at a property address. The application and required documents can be emailed, mailed or brought into our office.  The email address, mailing address and physical address are all listed at the bottom of this page.  Please make sure all required documents are provided. 

 Applicants need to provide the following:

  1. Completed and signed application.
  2. If leasing the property, you will need to provide either a signed copy of the lease that states you are responsible for utilities or the Owner Authorization Form (which needs to be filled out by the owner of the property).  A copy of the entire lease is not necessary. The page that lists the owners and renters, the address and the start date (usually the first page) and the signature page are both needed.  All names listed on the lease are required to be on the water and sewer account.
  3. If you are buying or own the property, you will need to provide proof of ownership. (A closing disclosure is an acceptable document.)  If you have owned the property for a year or more, we should be able to use Commissioner of Revenue records to validate your ownership of the property. 
  4. Please note all persons listed as property owners or as tenants must complete and sign the water/sewer application.

 There is an $170.00 fee required to obtain water and sewer service. This fee is not a deposit.  It covers the following:

$10.00 Administrative fee for water service (non-refundable).

 $10.00 Administrative fee for sewer service (non-refundable).

 $75.00 Water advance service fee.

 $75.00 Sewer advance service fee.

 The water and sewer service advance payments are applied towards your final bill.  The $75.00 advance service fees apply to 5/8" and 3/4" meters.  Larger meters will require higher advance service fees.

 The administrative fees will be on your first monthly bill. The advance payments will be divided equally amongst your first five monthly bills.

 Office Location:

1300 Courthouse Road, #249 Stafford, VA 22554
   Hours:    Monday          8:00am - 4:30pm
               Tuesday          8:00am - 4:30pm
               Wednesday     8:00am - 4:30pm
               Thursday         9:00am - 4:30pm
                Friday             8:00am - 4:30pm
Fax (540)658-4082

E-mail: utilcustservice@staffordcountyva.gov 

If you send the documents by email, you will receive a reply once the documents have been received.

How do I close my account?
Accounts may be closed by telephone (540) 658-8616 or in person. It is important to provide us with your forwarding address. Your water meter will be read on the date that you have requested your service to be terminated. A final bill will be sent to your new address. If your final bill is less than your advance payment, a refund will be sent to your new address. Please allow approximately three weeks for this to happen.
Where can I pay my bill?

You have several options to pay your bill:

GO PAPERLESS – CREATE YOUR mySTAFFORD ACCOUNT. Register your Utilities account to enroll in electronic notifications and view billing and payment history. Visit http://staffordcountyva.gov/mystafford. •Water and sewer bills may be paid by telephoning 1-844-817-9045 and following the prompts. Please note: Payments made will be posted to county records the following business day. •You may make your payment by bank draft at no cost to you. To obtain a Bank Draft Authorization Form, contact the Utilities Department at 658-8625 or 658-8616 or go to staffordcountyva.gov/departments/Utilities/forms to download the form. •You may make your payment by mail. (See bill for address). •You may make your payment at the Treasurer’s Office on the second floor of the Stafford Administration Center. A computer terminal is also available in the Treasurer’s office to make payments. If county offices are closed, you may place your payment in the drop-box located on the wall at the main entrance of the building. •You may make payments online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at: staffordcountyva.gov/treasurerPayments must be received in the Treasurer’s Office by 12:00 noon on the due date to be considered paid on time. Please allow for a few days for the delivery if paying by mail. Bills for water and sewer service are mailed each month and are due and payable when you receive them. They become past due 25 days from the billing date shown on the bill. A late payment, or no payment at all, will result in the following: •A penalty of ten percent (10%) will be applied to your bill. •Service may be discontinued if bills are not paid within the 60 days after the bill becomes past due. •If service is discontinued because the bill was not paid within the time limit, the amount the account is in arrears must be paid plus an additional fee of $30.00 to have service reinstated. An additional $25 fee is charged if water is required to be turned back on after 4:30p.m.

Why is my water consumption so high?
You may have a water leak. There are several ways to check for a leak. One way is to check the indicator on your water meter. Make sure you have nothing inside using water when you do this. If the indicator is turning, then water is flowing through the meter. This could indicate a leak in the water service line between the meter and your home or building. Or it could indicate that water is being used inside the home or building.

To determine if you have a leak in your water service line, close off the main valve to your house and look at your water meter. If the indicator on the meter is turning, this is an indication that you have a leak in the pipe between your water meter and the main valve (though it could also mean that the main valve is not shutting off the water completely).

If the indicator on your water meter was turning but stopped when you shut the main valve, this indicates that something inside is using water. With the main valve open (and the indicator on the meter turning), turn off the valve to individual fixtures (toilets, sinks, etc.) one at a time. Check the indicator each time you turn off a fixture valve to see if it stops turning. If it does, the last fixture turned off is the culprit!

Toilets can often be the cause of a "mystery" water leak. Open the cover on the tank. If the water level is above the overflow tube, there is a problem. The water level should be approximately 1/2- inch or so below the top of the overflow pipe. Adjust the float level, so that the water is turned off at that level. If the valve controlled by the float is leaking, it may need to be replaced.

Toilet leaks can also be due to a leak at the flapper valve that lets water flow into the toilet bowl. To test for this, put a drop or two of food coloring into the tank (not the bowl). Wait for about 10 minutes and see if the colored water shows up in the bowl. If it does, your flapper valve may need to be replaced.

What if I have an emergency after the office is closed?
Normal business hours are 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Should a water or sewer- related emergency occur during those hours, call 658-8695. Should a water or sewer-related emergency occur during the evening, on weekends, or on holidays, call the Stafford Emergency Communications Center at 658-4857. The Department of Utilities has a crew on call at all times which can be dispatched by the Emergency Communications Center to respond to your emergency.
Can I charge my water and sewer bill on my credit card?
Yes. The Treasurer’s Office will accept Discover, Master Card and Visa cards.
What do I do if my sewer backs up?
Call the Department of Utilities first! During normal working hours, call 658-8695. After normal working hours and on weekends and holidays, call 658-4857. We will send someone out to determine where the problem is. There is no charge for this service, and it may save you a plumber’s bill.
Where is my main water valve in case I need to turn my water off?
Usually the main water valve is located where the water supply pipe enters your home or office. It may be near your clothes washer or hot water heater. In some cases, it may be located under the house in the crawl space. Be sure to locate and mark the main water valve before you need it. That way, you will be able to find and close it quickly should a water leak occur.
Does my water contain fluoride?
Yes. Fluoride is added at the water treatment facilities. We try to maintain an average fluoride concentration between 0.7 parts per million. This is the level generally recommended to protect against tooth decay.
My water pressure seems high. What should I do?
The plumbing code requires a pressure reducing valve (PRV) if your water pressure is over 80 psi. The builder should have installed a PRV, if needed, in homes. If one was not installed, you will need to have one installed at your cost.

Periodic high pressure may be caused by a backflow preventer installed at your water meter or inside your building. As the water heater heats the water, the water expands. Since the expanding water can’t flow backwards through the backflow preventer, the water pressure increases. If the water pressure returns to normal shortly after turning on a faucet, this is most likely the cause of your high water pressure. You may need to reduce the temperature somewhat on your hot water heater and/or you may need to have an expansion tank installed. For more information, call your plumber or call us at 658-8695.

Are adjustments made for water leaks between my meter and my house?
Yes. We allow a maximum of one leak adjustment every three years. For the water portion of your bill, we charge you for no more than twice your normal water usage. If your water usage is less than twice your normal usage, we split the volume in excess of your normal water usage. Your sewer bill is adjusted to your normal usage, since none of the leak entered the sewer system.
Are adjustments made for water leaks due to a toilet leak?
Yes. We allow a maximum of one leak adjustment every three years. For the water portion of your bill, we charge you for no more than twice your normal water usage. The same applies to the sewer portion of your bill, since water from a toilet leak does enter the sewer system. If your usage is less than twice your normal usage, we split the volume in excess of your normal usage for both water and sewer.
Is there any adjustment to my bill for using water for my lawn, filling my pool, washing cars, or other uses where it does not go down the sewer?
Stafford’s water and sewer rates take outside water usage into consideration. The sewer portion of your bill is calculated based upon the lower of your actual usage or 120% of your November through April average water consumption. Therefore an adjustment would not be necessary.
When is the best time to water my lawn?
First thing in the morning. The air temperature is cooler, so less water evaporates. Also, the grass and other plantings can use the water to help withstand the hotter temperatures later in the day.
Can I draw water from a fire hydrant?
In general, it is illegal to draw water from a fire hydrant. However, arrangements can be made through our office to use a fire hydrant for some purposes. For additional information, call our office at 658-8616.
I am on well and septic and would like to know if I have access to public water and/or sanitary sewer.

Please call an Engineer at (540) 658-8630.

I am on well and septic and am having issues. Who do I call?

Please call the Health Department at (540) 288-9018.

Utilities Operations

What do I do if I see water coming out of my meter barrel?

Please call our office at (540) 658-8695 and we will send a crew out to inspect your meter.

I have a Sewer Back-Up, what do I do?
Call us first at (540) 658-8695, the Operations Office will send a crew as soon as possible. If it is after hours, please call the emergency line at (540) 658-4857.
Someone has painted my yard in different color paint. Are they going to be digging up my yard?

When a utility company is scheduled to perform work, the first thing they must do is call Miss Utility of Virginia notification system. This alert requires all utility companies to respond and locate their lines with paint. If you would like to know what work is going to be done on your property, visit the 811 website at http://www.va811.com, then go to ticket search and search by street address for more information. You may also dial 811.

My water pressure is so low, can you raise my pressure?
Low water pressure can be due to a water leak, flushing of the water main, a crimped water service line, or may simply be due to your home or building being situated at a high elevation. Customers whose pressure seems low should contact us to determine whether the low pressure is due to a piping problem or simply due to location. If the low pressure is determined to be due to location, you may need to have a water booster pump installed at your own cost
I have discolored water, why does this happen?
Naturally occurring minerals (primarily iron and manganese) flowing within the water are typically to blame for water discoloration. These minerals settle in water pipelines when water usage is low. When a water main breaks, the natural flow, direction and pressure of the system changes which stirs up the minerals and discolors the water. The Department of Utilities will flush the system to remove discolored water, however some discoloration can remain in your home’s water lines until you flush it out at the faucet.

If discoloration occurs to your tap water, run your Cold water for 5 minutes. Do not to run hot water tap because this pulls water out of your hot water tank. If the water fails to clear after 5 minutes, wait for two hours and repeat process above. If the water is still discolored, please contact the Utilities Operations Office
There is an Alarm going off on the Pump Station that is located close to my house, who should I notify about this

Please contact the Operations Office at (540)658-8695. We will notify the Maintenance Mechanics and they will respond as soon as possible to investigate the Pump Station for any problems

There is a pipe in my yard and I hit it with my mower now most of the damaged Lid is missing. Where can I get another lid?
This pipe is your sewer clean out pipe. It is very important this pipe remains covered at all times to prevent you from having a sewer backup. You can purchase a replacement cap at any hardware type store that carries pipe.
I see water bubbling up out of the ground, should I call to report this?
Yes, please call the Operations Office, we will send a Field Operations crew out to investigate for a water leak
I have a sewer odor inside my home, what should i do?
Check your home for a dry trap or drain. This could be a floor drain or bathroom in the basement you don’t use often. Put a pitcher of water in your floor drain, and flush your commode, run water in the tub and sink. You must keep all traps wet to prevent any sewer gas from coming into your home.
How do I get notifications for emergency repairs in my area?
Go to http://www.staffordalert.com to sign up and start receiving Alerts.

Zoning

When do I need a zoning permit?

Zoning permits are required for all uses, primary and accessory structures.   Refer to the main Zoning Page for zoning applications.   Zoning Ordinance Section 28-182 for more information concerning zoning permits.  

 Zoning Applications

How do I make a complaint?

Complaints are received by phone, walk-in or email.   Please contact the Zoning Department at (540) 658-8668.   Please note that all complaints are confidential.  Once a violation has been identified and an investigation is being performed Stafford County Zoning Office is the complainant. 

Violation Types

What is a Zoning Determination?

A Zoning Determination is provided on an application form requesting a determination from the Zoning Administrator as described in Section 28-295 of the Zoning Ordinance.  Zoning Ordinance Section 28-295 

Zoning Determination Application

House has junk and trash everywhere outside, what can I do?

Contact Citizens Assistance  (540) 658-4516 or the Zoning Department at (540) 658-8668 to report the address or location of concern.  

When should I make a complaint or tall grass involving a property in my neighborhood, who would I contact?
Grass over 12 inches tall for an occupied residence (up to a 1/2 acre in size, is required to be cut).  Grass over 6 inches for un-occupied or vacant property require remediation.  Once a violation is identified notice will be sent providing 10 days for cutting.  On the 11th day a compliance inspection is performed.  if the violation has not been abated, the grass will be scheduled for cutting by the County’s grass remediation contractor and billed to the property owner.  Chapter 24-17 - 20

Chapter 24 Vegetation

They make a lot of noise, who do I call?

The Sheriff’s department (540) 658-4400 Non-Emergency Number.  County Code Chapter 16 defines noise regulations.  

Chapter 16-Noise

What is a "Setback" and what are mine?

A setback is the line on a lot, parallel or symmetric to a lot line, located a sufficient distance there from to provide the minimum yards required by this chapter.  Each Zoning District has defined setbacks for each lot as outlined in the Zoning Ordinance Section 28-35.  To Identify your Zoning district please use the Zoning Map to locate your property and Zoning District or call (540) 658-8668.  The link below will provide you access to the interactive maps through GIS.   Please provide your parcel address or your tax map identification to locate your property.  

GIS Maps 

County Zoning Map

What is a commercial vehicle?

Zoning Ordinance Section 28-25.-Definitions of specific terms.  Vehicle, commercial;  Any truck-tractor, trailer, semi-trailer, garbage truck, dump truck, cement truck, or similar vehicles or equipment with any gross weight; or any vehicle with a gross weight of more than ten thousand five hundred (10,500) pounds which is not owned, leased, or operated by the occupant of the property at which it is parked.  

Section 28-25 Definitions of specific terms

Where can I build a shed or a detached garage and how big can it be?

Zoning Ordnance Section 28-38 (c)  No accessory building or structure shall be located within ten (10) feet of any property line on any lot greater than one acre; no accessory building or structure shall be located within five (5) ft of any property line on any lot of one acre or less; no accessory building and/or structure, except for walls, fences and signs shall be located in any front yard or street facing side yard.   Zoning Ordinance Section 28-38 - Performance Regulations (c).

Zoning Ordinance Section 28-25 Definition of Accessory use, building/structures/ A use, building or structured that is subordinate in area, extent and purpose to a principle use or structure.   

Section 28-38 (c)

Section 28-25

Can I build an addition or deck onto my home?

An attached addition will be required to meet the house setbacks in accordance with your Zoning District as outlined in Zoning Ordinance Section 28-35 table of uses and standards.  Please visit the online GIS Interactive Maps to identify your Zoning District of your property and then utilize the online Zoning Ordinance to access the setback requirements for your Zoning District. 

GIS Interactive Map

County Zoning Map

Can I make an apartment for my parents at my home?

Zoning Ordinance Section 28-25 Definitions, Dwelling, accessory; An ancillary dwelling unit limited to such uses as a family member apartment, guest house (for occasional visits by family or friends), or maids quarters and shall conform to the following:

  1. An accessory dwelling shall not exceed twenty-five (25) percent of the total gross floor area of the principle dwelling unit. 
  2. There shall be no more than one accessory dwelling per lot. 
  3. When an accessory building is located in the principal dwelling, the entry to the unit and its design shall be such that the appearance of the building shall remain as a single family residence. 
  4. An accessory dwelling shall have the same address as the principal dwelling. 
  5. This term shall not include carriage house. 
  6. An approved Accessory Dwelling affidavit and Residential Change Permit are required prior to work being done.   After approval and all inspections a certificate of occupancy permit is needed for legal use. 
Is it possible to have a daycare in my home?

Zoning Ordinance Section 28-25 Definitions, defines two types of family daycare uses.

  1. Family daycare home, group; A residence where child care is proved for more than five (5), but fewer than twelve (12) children under the age of thirteen (13), exclusive of the providers own children and any children that reside in the home as residential occupancy by a single family and which is subject to state licensing on a paid basis.  Please Contact Social Service in Richmond for licensing, www.dss.virginia.gov apply to Stafford County using the Home Daycare application located within the Building Department Page, Forms and Checklist .
  2. Family daycare home, small; an activity carried on by an occupant of a residence as an accessory use, in which childcare is provided for five (5) or fewer children under the age of thirteen (13), exclusive of the providers own children and any who reside in the home as residential occupancy by a single family on a paid basis.   

Application

Opening an Auto Sales Business:

Permitted with a Conditional Use Permit in the B2 Urban Commercial, M1 Light Industrial and M2 Heavy Industrial Zoning Districts.  

Zoning Ordinance Section 28-35 General District Uses & Standards lists such use as; Motor Vehicle Sales,   For additional information please contact the Zoning Department at (540) 658-8668.

What is RPA or CRPA?

RPA is an acronym for Resource Protection Area an CRPA is Critical Resource Protection Area.   Both consist of: 

  1. Tidal wetlands;
  2. Non-tidal wetlands connected by surface flow and contiguous to tidal wetlands or water bodies with perennial flow;
  3. Tidal Shores;
  4. A one hundred-foot vegetated buffer area located adjacent to and landward of the components listed in subsection 1-3 of this section, and is along both sides of any water bodies with perennial flow.  For further information, please refer to Chapter 27B Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area or call Department of Public Works (540) 658-5109.
What is an easement and how close can I build to it?

An easement is an interest of land that is in the possession of another, which permits a limited use of the land.  No building or structure shall be permitted within any public easement of right of way without written consent by the holder of the easement or right of way. 

Will Stafford County take down my neighbors dead tree?

Stafford County has no authority to remove trees from private property.  This would be a civil matter between the property owners. 

What do I need to Install a fence on my property?

A fence does not require a permit but has height restrictions in the front yard setback of the property.  The fence must be located on your property and out of any type of easement unless the easement holder grants permission of construction in writing.  Please see: Stafford County Zoning Ordinance Section 28-39 (a); Fences, walls and hedges.   

  1. A fence affidavit is required for fences. Fence Affidavit  
Where can I locate a pool on my property?

Above ground or in ground pools are considered accessory structures and must meet the minimum setback for your property.   To determine your setback you must identify your Zoning District from the online Zoning Maps link.   Once your Zoning District has been determined, please use the online Zoning Ordinance Section 28-38 Performance Standards (c) 

Can I put up a Yard Sale Sign?

Yes, however: No sign shall be located within the VDOT Right of Way, on utility poles, traffic signs, attached to vegetation.   Please reference Zoning Ordinance Section 28-121 through 131 for sign regulations. 

Article VII Signs

Sign Permit Application

2019 Bond

What is a referendum, and why are we having one?

A referendum is a general vote by the electorate on a single ballot question. The County is required by state law to obtain voter approval to issue its general obligation bonds. Voters will have an opportunity to vote YES or NO on the 2019 transportation bond referendum question during the General Election on November 5, 2019.

What is bond financing?

Bond financing is a long-term financial obligation used by most local governments to borrow money to pay for public facilities and infrastructure. Once issued, bonds require annual payments for the cost of debt service (principal and interest) by the County.

If the Bond passes, what will it cost?

The annual debt service on a $50 million bond would be approximately $4.2 million each year. The County has eight years to access the bond funding and will not issue all $50 million at one time. The selected project list could be completed with the bond amount in conjunction with other funding sources. Stafford County enjoys a Triple-AAA bond rating and, as a result, should be able to obtain competitive interests rates on its bonds. The debt payments associated with the bond package fit within the County’s current debt capacity.  The County has four revenue streams dedicated to transportation, including gasoline sales tax, state recordation tax, interest earnings and transportation impact fees.  If these funds are insufficient to pay the debt service, money would come from the General Fund. The debt service is spread out over several years based on the timing of construction, as the County only issues bonds as needed.  

Will the approval of this bond package affect the County's financial health?

Stafford is among only 47 counties in the nation that have the highest credit rating possible for a local government from Moody’s Investors Service Inc.; from Standard & Poor’s; and from Fitch Ratings. The County’s Triple-AAA bond rating lowers its borrowing costs. The County’s financial guidelines state that the annual debt service should not exceed 10% of General Government expenditures and total outstanding debt should not exceed 2.75% of the total market value of the taxable real property. The proposed bond package stays within these guidelines, maintaining a balance between operating expenses and long-term capital needs.

Once approved, can the bonds be used for other purposes?

Proceeds from the sale of the transportation bonds, by law, are authorized only for the transportation projects listed in the ballot question. The County did submit the ballot question to the Circuit Court without the Hope Road road-widening project listed. Hope Road is still listed on the 35 road-widening projects list. The County intends to complete the Hope Road project with alternative transportation funding sources, as bond proceeds cannot be used for this road. As for Woodstock Lane, the road was incorrectly mislabeled as Woodstock Road on the ballot question, but that does not affect that bond issuing status for the project.

How were the road projects included in the 2019 transportation bond referendum selected?

The projects were identified through an objective Comprehensive Road Study performed by Stafford County that studied roads most in need of improvement throughout the County, over and above the construction already planned by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) who is the primary entity responsible for roads construction and maintenance throughout the County.

What is the difference between major projects and safety widening projects?

Within the Comprehensive Road Study, road evaluations with traffic counts above 1,700 vehicles per day (vpd) were considered as major reconstruction candidates. Whereas, roads with counts under 1,700 vpd were considered for safety and widening improvements. As part of the evaluation, several factors focused on recommended improvements, cost estimates and the assessments of the practicality of implementation.

What steps were taken to arrive at the need for a transportation bond referendum?

The Comprehensive Road Study identified possible sources of funding. The Board of Supervisors felt that the amount of identified funding was insufficient and held several transportation work sessions to determine and evaluate multiple funding options. After narrowing down the final list of road projects, the Board came to a consensus to ask the citizens of Stafford County to consider a $50 million bond referendum on the November 5, 2019, general election ballot.

How were the road project costs determined?

The project costs are estimates derived from the Comprehensive Road Study (www.staffordcountyva.gov/roadstudy).  The County worked alongside the Virginia Department of Transportation, the agency responsible for building, maintaining and operating the state's roads, bridges and tunnels. These estimates also include preliminary engineering, right of way acquisition, utility relocation and the coordination of VDOT’s repaving schedule for road widening projects.

If the referendum passes, what are the next steps?

Stafford County bond packages are planned to fund specific road projects and are issued, as needed, in increments until 2027. These projects take a number of years to complete with the goal to complete them as quickly as possible. Prudent financial management dictates that the proportionate amount of bonds be issued to coincide with the annual cash flow requirements for construction costs associated with the respective capital projects.

Without the bond referendum, how is Stafford planning for future transportation improvements?

Stafford recently adopted its first Strategic Plan with a priority of achieving a “Responsible Transportation System.” This Board is dedicated to transportation system improvements.  If the bond does not pass, work on the road projects will not begin until a funding source is identified, which could delay some or all of them indefinitely.

What was accomplished with the 2008 transportation bond referendum?

From the 2008 transportation bond referendum, 15 projects were completed at a total cost of $140 million, which is an 80 percent completion rate of the proposed 19 road projects. Voters approved a bond amount of $70 million; only $24 million worth of bonds were issued. As bonds are only issued as the money is needed, which resulted in authorized but unissued bonds. Those remaining bonds are now expired. Approximately $100 million was leveraged from state and federal funds with $16.4 million from additional County funds outside of bond proceeds. Out of 55 total lane miles proposed for improvement, the County was able to complete 43.5 lane miles during one of the country’s worst economic recessions.

Over the last eight years, the County has initiated and helped fund 22 road improvement projects, including Youth Driver Task Force projects, with an investment of $57 million of County funds, which might never have happened without voter support for the 2008 referendum. The status of completed, current and future road projects may be found on the Transportation Projects page of the County’s website: www.staffordcountyva.gov/1549/Road-Projects.