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The Comprehensive Plan: A Vision for Prince William County

Virginia is a Dillon rule state, where any power enjoyed by a locality must spring from an express grant by the legislature. Localities are required to adopt a Comprehensive Plan and a Subdivision Ordinance.

The Comprehensive Plan is a vision document. It establishes land use policy and recommends development densities, parcel-by-parcel, for the entire county. Rezoning and special use permit applications that do not match the vision, as detailed by the reasonable policies and action strategies in the Plan, can be denied. However, as a vision document, it is not designed to be an ordinance, and cannot be administered or enforced as an ordinance.

The Comprehensive Plan is the foundation document of the land use process, which includes both legislative and ministerial (administrative) actions. Government staff is largely responsible for most ministerial decisions, which include site plans, site plan revisions and waivers to the County’s minimum standards, as authorized in the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance and Design Constructions and Standards Manual. Keep reading...

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