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Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions and answers are to Fairfax County Zoning, Health and Fire regulations. Brookfield, on its own, does not have any enforceable rules and regulations that are based upon the original covenants.

Where can I file a complaint about a zoning or code violation?

You can file a complaint here.

Can I park my car on my lawn in Brookfield?
The Zoning laws for Fairfax County state that all vehicle or trailer parking in the front yard must be on a surfaced area, although temporary parking on an unsurfaced area for no more than 48 hours for only loading, unloading, or cleaning is permitted.

How large can my driveway be?
In Fairfax County neighborhoods zoned R-4 like Brookfield, surfaced area cannot be more than 25 feet long and 18 feet wide as stated in part 1 11-100 Section 8 part A of the municipal code.

How many people can live in a home in Fairfax County?
Occupancy of a dwelling unit is limited to either: (A) one family consisting of one or more persons related by blood or marriage with any number of children and up to two roomers or boarders; (B) four unrelated persons; or (C) two single parents or guardians with not more than a total of six of their children. Health Department regulations requires at least 50 square feet of sleeping space per person.

Can I work on my vehicles in Brookfield?
Yes.  Fairfax County zoning says that any inoperable vehicle, unlicensed vehicle, or vehicles with inspections stickers that have been expired for than 60 days on a lot must be stored in an enclosed structure (i.e. garage). In areas zoned R-4 through R-8 like Brookfield, structures are not permitted in the front yard of a home. On corner lots, this includes the side yard facing the side street. Cars must belong to the owner/renter of the property and the work cannot be part of an auto repair business.

Can I run a business from my home?
Certain businesses are permitted in a dwelling provided that there are no clients or customers; no signage; no display, storage or sale of stock in trade on the premises; and only one nonresident employee is allowed between 8AM to 5PM Monday-Friday.  The one exception is a school of special education, such as a piano or dance class, wherein the class size can not exceed more than four pupils at any given time and not more than eight pupils in any one day.  These businesses are licensed and regulated by the county.

Where can I store things outside of my house?
For items not stored in a shed, items stored outdoors must be located on the rear half of the lot, screened from the view from the first story window of any neighboring dwelling, and the total storage area cannot exceed 100 square feet.  (Firewood is not deemed outdoor storage.)

Can I put a shed in my front yard?
In areas zoned R-4 through R-8 like Brookfield, structures are not permitted in the front yard of a home. On corner lots, this includes the side yard facing the side street. Gazebo’s, and sheds, and tents are considered structures. To put a structure in your front yard you need a minimum lot size of 36,000 square feet.

What kind of vehicles can be parked in neighborhoods in Fairfax County?
The parking of garbage trucks, tractor-trailer trucks, dump trucks, cement-mixer trucks, or construction equipment, as well as vehicles over 12,000 pounds. on residential property, or in residential areas, is prohibited. This includes lawn care trucks/landscaping trucks with trailers attached. 

Can I add a second kitchen to my house?
Yes, but by permit only. If this violation occurs, the homeowner will have to remove the kitchen and all gas and electric lines all the way back to their connectors.

Can I leave my Christmas lights and decorations up all year long?
Sure, but not if you expect your property values and those of your neighbors to go up.

What does the county and zoning enforcement say about property maintenance?
The Property Maintenance Code is a set of regulations related to the upkeep and maintenance of residential dwellings. All structures must be kept in good repair and in sound condition both on the exterior and interior of the structure.  Common problems include broken windows, falling gutters, and missing siding. All residences must be kept in a clean and sanitary manner, with no hoarding—the mass accumulation of trash, garbage, and debris in a dwelling in such a manner that constitutes a safety hazard to the resident as well as the public and public safety staff, such as firefighters. Any structural damage done by insects and rodents must be repaired, but the presence of insects such as roaches or rodents is not regulated. Lawns must be maintained at a height of less than 12 inches.

What are the requirements for a room to be a bedroom/sleeping area?   
Each sleeping area must have a closet and have an emergency access window of a minimum area of approximately 6 square feet and a smoke alarm.

How many yard sales can I have?
County residents are allowed to hold only two yards sales a year at their home.  Also, residents are limited to selling items not specifically purchased for resale.

What kind of things do I need a building permit for?
In general, though, when you are adding to your home, i.e., a new room, a garage, a basement, etc.; or if you are building a wall that is higher than 2 feet tall; or a large shed in your backyard; you are required a apply for a building permit and to comply with the zoning regulations that apply to your neighborhood.  If you choose to ignore this requirement, and a neighbor makes a complaint, you could be forced to tear it all down.

What are the zoning laws on fences and walls?
The County's Zoning Ordinance regulates the location of fences and walls on a lot based on the height of the fence or wall.  On most residential lots, the Zoning Ordinance only allows a fence or wall of 4 feet or less on those areas of the lot that are nearer to any street or front lot line than the house.  In a side or rear yard, a fence or wall of not more than 7 feet is generally allowed. For specific information regarding your property and designation of the yards on your lot, please contact the Zoning Permit Review Branch of the Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-222-1082.  In many instances, a Building Permit is not required for a fence.  However, masonry fences and walls do require the approval of a Building Permit prior to construction.