Legislative Land Use Review

Land Development Application Review Process 

All legislative land development cases including rezonings and special exceptions are handled by the Department of Planning and Zoning Legislative Land Use Review Division.

Pre-application Conference

All legislative land use applications require a pre-application conference. At the conference, you give staff an overview of your proposal and staff advises you of which application forms and materials you will need to submit, any issues you might encounter, application fees, and the typical process and timeline.

Application Submission

Applications are now accepted through online submission. All materials must be included at the time of the application submission, or the application review will be delayed. Refer to the checklists below for materials required with each application. 

  1. Application Type
  2. Checklist
  3. Legislative Land Use Application Forms

Checklist review

Once an application is submitted, staff has 15 days to review the application to ensure that all necessary information has been provided before officially accepting the application for review or rejecting the application pending submission of required materials. The following generally illustrates the review process. 

County Staff and State Agency Review

When an application is officially accepted, a project manager within the Planning Department is assigned the case and the application is sent out to relevant county staff, state agencies and town staff for review.

Referral Process

  • Referral agencies have 30 to 45 days to review the application and submit any comments to the project manager.
  • Project manager compiles and shares comments from referral agencies to the applicant.
  • Applicant responds to staff and agency comments.
    • Please note: applicants may request a meeting to discuss any questions or receive clarifications on referral agencies.
  • Applicant provides necessary changes and submits response, now a second referral.
  • Referral agencies review the response and prepare a second referral report outlining any remaining outstanding issues.
  • Applicant provides necessary changes and submits a response to the second referral.
  • The project manager then receives the applicant’s response and then prepares a staff report sharing any remaining outstanding issues and staff’s recommendation for the application.

Planning Commission and Board Review

After going through the referral process, the application is then sent to the Planning Commission.

  • Prior to the Planning Commission hearing, the applicant will be responsible for notification letters sent to adjacent property owners and for posting signs on the property (instructions are provided by staff).
  • The County is responsible for placing an advertisement in a local newspaper serving the area.
  • Project manager provides a brief overview of the application to the Planning Commission (PC) prior to the public hearing.
    • During the briefing, the PC may request additional information or ask questions to be answered at the public hearing. PC briefings are open to the public; however, the Commission typically does not comment from the applicant or the public at this meeting.
  • At the PC public hearing, staff and the applicant will provide a presentation of the project including additional information that may have been requested at the PC briefing.
  • During the PC public hearing, the Commission takes public comment, reviews the application, and may make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Often an application will be sent to a PC work session to discuss issues.
  • Once the Planning Commission makes a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, the project manager prepares a staff report for the Board of Supervisors public hearing. The process for the Board hearing is the same as the PC public hearing with the exception that the Board does not currently get a briefing from the project managers.
  • Generally the Board’s procedure is to not vote on an application at a public hearing, placing the application on a future BOS business meeting for action or sending the application to a future Standing Committee meeting for further discussion. However, the Board may make a motion to suspend the Rules of Order at the public hearing in order to bring the application to a vote at the public hearing.


Public Hearings for Applications

The county advertises public hearings for applications in Loudoun Now. For public hearing dates and times, view the Loudoun County Government Master Calendar

Notice Requirements

The applicant is responsible for completing items relating to disclosures, property posting, notification of proper parties, and certification of notice. View more information and instructions.

Other land use applications, such as boundary line adjustments, site plans and subdivisions, are reviewed in the Department of Building and Development.

Timeline Extensions

When two or more applications are processed concurrently, the longer timeline is followed. It is common for an application timeline to be extended for many reasons, including the applicant's desire to continue work on issues, delays in applicant response, or the application is sent to a committee at either the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors level of review. In any event, the applicant must grant the extension of time.

Additional Information

Information about specific land development applications may be found online through the Loudoun Online Land Applications system.

Contact the Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-777-0246.