The Zoning Department is located in the Public Works Department and is responsible for the interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance, the Subdivision Ordinance, and Flood Plain information.
Any permits for new construction requires zoning approval. Permits issued in the Town of Iron Gate will require a letter of zoning approval from the Town’s Zoning Official stating compliance with their regulations. Please check with Town Officials for compliance with their regulations.
Anyone with questions regarding the zoning requirements, the zoning of a piece of property within Alleghany County, or setback requirements can contact the Zoning Department at (540) 863-6650, 9212 Winterberry Avenue, Suite A, Covington, VA 24426, or by e-mail at
Zoning: The Zoning regulations can be found in Chapter 66-Zoning of The Code of the County of Alleghany, Virginia. The Zoning regulations were first adopted in 1988 and at which time the entire County was zoned. There are seven zone classifications in Alleghany County. They are: Agricultural/Rural Residential AR; Residential R-1; Residential R-2; Business B-1; Business B-2; Industrial M-1; and Planned Unit Development PUD. Each zoning classification has individual setback requirements, acceptable uses, and uses requiring special use and special exception approvals.
Setbacks: Setbacks from property lines and roads/rights-of-way are required in each zone classification. Each zone classification has different setback requirements.
Minimum Lot Area: The zoning regulations for the County do specify the minimum lot size for newly created parcels. This minimum is based on the zone classification the property has been placed under. The minimum lot area is different for each zone classification. For example, if your property is zoned Agricultural/Rural Residential AR, you need to acquire at least 30,000 square feet of land. This is slightly less than an acre. An acre contains approximately 43,500 square feet. For R-2 Residential zone classifications, the minimum lot area is 8,000 square feet for lots served by public water and sewer. Keep in mind that if the property will be utilizing a private well or private septic system, a larger parcel may be needed to accommodate the well and septic
Special Use: For uses that require a special use, a completed application will need to be submitted to the zoning office for review and a fee is required. Once the application is filed with the zoning office, it will be forwarded to the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors for consideration. In certain instances, a Traffic Impact Analysis will be required and the compliance form is below. The Board will hold a public hearing on the request and decide to grant or deny the request. The Board can add conditions to the request if they choose.
Special Exception: For uses that require a special exception, a completed application will need to be submitted to the zoning office for review and a fee is required. Once the application is filed with the zoning office, it will be forwarded to the Alleghany County Board of Zoning Appeals. In certain instances, a Traffic Impact Analysis will be required and the compliance form is below. The BZA will then hold conduct a site visit, hold a public hearing, then make a decision to approve or deny the request. The BZA can add conditions to the request if they choose.
Variances: A variance is a reasonable deviation from the zoning provisions regulating the size or areas of a lot or a parcel of land, or a deviation from the size, area, bulk, or location of a building or structure when the strict application of the zoning requirements would result in an unnecessary or undue hardship to the property owner. The need for a variance should not be shared generally by other properties and should not be contrary to the intent of the ordinance. Variance requests are heard by the Alleghany County Board of Zoning Appeals. A completed application and fee need to be submitted to the zoning office. Once the application is received it will be forwarded to the BZA for its consideration. They will hold a site visit and a public hearing on the request and grant or deny the request based on the merits of the request meeting the defined criteria for granting a variance. This criteria is defined in Chapter 66-Zoning, of the Code of the County of Alleghany County, Virginia.
Rezoning: A rezoning is a change in the zone classification of a piece of property. A rezoning is utilized when a property owner wishes to utilize a parcel or structure for a use that is not an acceptable use in the present zone class, but is acceptable in another zone class. The Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission, or any other party with the written consent of the property owner, can initiate an application for a rezoning. Both the Alleghany County Planning Commission and the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors hear rezoning requests. A completed application and fee shall be submitted to the Zoning Office. In certain instances, a Traffic Impact Analysis will be required and a compliance form is below. The request is then forwarded to both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing first and then make a recommendation to the Board to approve or deny the request. The Board will then hold a public hearing on the request and either approve or deny the request.
Conditional Rezoning: A conditional rezoning is the same as a rezoning except that the applicant voluntarily provides “proffers” or “conditions” on their request. The property owner may want to offer conditions/proffers in order to make the use requested more compatible with the adjacent properties or uses, the zoning district, and the goals of the community. These conditions could make the project more feasible and more acceptable to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, as well as adjoining property owners. In certain instances, a Traffic Impact Analysis will be required and a compliance form is below.
Appeals: An appeal is made when someone is aggrieved by any order, decision, or determination made by the Zoning Administrator in the enforcement of the County’s zoning regulations. This may be an appeal for a violation, interpretation of a zoning map, or interpretation of the zoning ordinance. A completed application and fee must be submitted to the zoning office. Once the application for the appeal is received, it will be forwarded to the Alleghany County Board of Zoning Appeals for their consideration. They will hold a public hearing on the appeal and make a decision to support or oppose the interpretation that is being appealed.
Planned Unit Development (PUD): The purpose of a planned unit development is to provide for larger scaled development and cluster of residential dwelling units through design innovation to provide for a neighborhood with a variety of housing types and densities, neighborhood shopping facilities, parks, and playgrounds. PUD’s can only occur in AR and R-2 districts. PUD’s constitute an amendment to the zoning map and shall be handled the same as a rezoning request, however more detailed information is required. A completed application form, with the appropriate attachments, and a fee, shall be submitted to the zoning office for review. In certain instances, a Traffic Impact Analysis will be required and a compliance form is below. The request will then be forwarded to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for consideration.
Use Not Provided For: When an application or request is submitted for a use that is not addressed in the zoning ordinance or the Zoning Administrator determines that the use does not fit within any of the zoning districts, it shall be deemed a “use not provided for”. A “Use Not Provided For” application shall be completed and filed in the zoning office with the appropriate fee. The application is then forwarded to the Planning Commission who holds a public hearing and makes a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. The Board will then hold a public hearing and approve or deny the request.
Building Permit – Zoning Approval: Individuals applying for a building permit that involves new construction (new dwellings, accessory buildings, garages, porches, etc), will be required to complete a building permit/zoning application. The applicant is required to attach a sketch showing the property boundaries, the location of any existing and proposed structures, and their distances to the property lines. The County Planner or the Zoning Administrator will review the application. Effective September 1, 2007, approval for building and zoning permits will not be given the same day. Applicant should allow at least two working days for review. The review fee will be added to the building permit fee.
Business License – Zoning Approval: Individuals applying for a business license for a business that is located in Alleghany County, will be required to get approval from the Zoning Office. This approval is to verify that the type of business being conducted is an acceptable use in the zone where the business is located. The zoning regulations do allow for the use of “home occupations” in residential zones, with some restrictions. A completed application and review fee shall be submitted to the Zoning Office. Once the application is approved, the applicant can complete the process of applying for a business license. For information or questions regarding business licenses, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue Office at (540) 863-6640.
Comprehensive Plan: Alleghany County has a Comprehensive Plan that is updated every five years. The most recent plan was adopted on April 2, 2019. Copies of the complete plan can be obtained for a fee.
Complaints: Individuals wishing to make a complaint regarding zoning issues are required by County regulations to submit the complaint in writing. The complaint must be signed by the person making the complaint. Once the zoning office receives a completed, signed complaint form, an investigation can be made. Click here for the complaint form.