Updated Zoning Ordinances
Residential Neighborhoods to Become Commercialized
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the modernization project which goes into effect on July 1, 2021. The new modernized regulations address certain residential uses, including accessory structures, accessory living units, home-based businesses, and flags. The goal of zMOD was to create a cleaner and more straightforward document that is more accessible to the general public in understanding the County's zoning regulations. However, understanding the regulations was not the problem. Fairfax County citizens are not stupid. zMOD was really designed to allow expanded use of the county’s residential neighborhoods for business activities which considerably increases the real estate taxes collected on these properties. Hope those who add an accessory structure, an accessory dwelling unit, or home based business are prepared to see their real estate taxes soar.
Notable changes include:
In Fairfax County, the abbreviation ‘ADU’ is used for a different use, affordable dwelling units. These are separate units dedicated under the County’s Affordable Dwelling Unit Ordinance, where an accessory living unit is a subordinate unit provided in conjunction with a single-family detached dwelling. The ‘ADU’ abbreviation should not be used when referencing accessory living units.
Wait and see but it is unlikely. Considering the increased real estate taxes that will be charged, the increase in landlord’s income taxes due to rental income, the construction costs to convert (providing all is done to code), and the increased insurance costs, these units will not be financially feasible to rent at affordable rates, only at competitive rates. If you only wish to rent a one bedroom/bath within your own home you can do so right now with little to no regulation.
Photo: Converted Garage turned into an Accessory Living Unit
Sightline Institute: Missing Middle Homes Photo Library, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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