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A variance is a relaxation to the terms or requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. A variance may be granted when conditions are unique to the property and not a result of the applicant’s actions. The applicant must show a hardship that restricts the use of the property in a way that is not generally shared by other properties in the same zoning district and vicinity. Please note that this is not applicable to the lists of generally and specially permitted land uses for each district.
It is strongly recommended that you either submit a conceptual plan or set up a pre-application meeting to review the application process and answer questions. You must submit an application package which includes:
Applications must be received at least five weeks prior to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) meeting. Meetings are usually held on the first Thursday of each month.Prior to the BZA meeting, staff will review your application, make a site inspection and verify the information on your application for compliance with County codes and ordinances. Staff will consider the impact of the proposed variance on surrounding properties and the public welfare. Staff will incorporate their findings into a report for the BZA. Staff may recommend that the BZA place conditions on your application regarding the location, character, or any other features of your proposal. These conditions attempt to protect the public interest and lessen any potential impacts caused by your proposal. Staff will notify you in advance of the meeting of any recommended conditions. You will receive a copy of the staff report, including any recommendations, in advance of the BZA meeting.The Zoning Division will:
Staff will present your request to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and give their recommendations, including any conditions. After staff’s presentation, you or your representative will have an opportunity to speak. Then the BZA will hold a public hearing where any citizen can speak about the application. After the public hearing is closed, the BZA will discuss the application and make their determination.If you are requesting a variance, the BZA will approve, deny, or defer your request. If the BZA does authorize a variance, it may place conditions on that approval. The BZA may condition any variance as it deems necessary to protect the public interest. These conditions may affect the location, character, or any other element of your proposal.If you are appealing a decision of the Zoning Administrator, the BZA will either uphold or overrule the Zoning Administrator.After the meeting, Zoning staff will notify you in writing of the BZA’s decision, including any conditions placed on your application.
Yes. You have 30 days to appeal the decision to the Circuit Court. Call the Clerk of the Circuit court at 757-564-2242 for information.
The person who the court appoints to administer the estate for the decedent is called an executor if specified in the will or a personal representative if no executor was specified. Executors and personal representatives are also referred to generically as administrators or fiduciaries. Other people involved in the administration of estates include the Commissioner of Accounts (a local person appointed by the circuit court to oversee the administration of estates), the circuit court clerk and his or her deputies, and the circuit court judges.
The will (last will and testament) is a legal document drawn up by a person and/or his or her attorney to specify how a person's property should be distributed and who should administer the affairs of the estate. The List of Heirs is a legal document prepared by the estate's administrator that lists the people specified by the will and/or by law who are eligible to receive distributions from the estate. A copy of a document is certified by a circuit court deputy clerk to indicate that it is a true and complete copy of the original. An exemplified copy also contains the official seals of the judges and clerk of the circuit court.
To probate a will is to officially prove it as the authentic and valid last will and testament of the deceased and admit it to record. Qualification and appointment of a personal representative may or may not accompany probate. If a decedent owns real estate in multiple jurisdictions in Virginia, the will should be probated in the jurisdiction where he or she resided and then a certified copy recorded in the other jurisdictions. If real estate is owned in another state, an exemplified copy of the will must be probated in that state.
There are other contingent beneficiaries set out in the Code of Virginia.
The probate process takes about 15 minutes if the paperwork has been completed correctly, no changes are made at the time of the appointment, or a surety bond is required. Please note each probate is unique and subject to specific factors which may prolong or decrease the time.
If there is a will, but no executor is named or the specified executor refuses or ceases to serve, the circuit court may grant administration to an alternate executor or a beneficiary of the will.
If there is no will, the surviving spouse is given preference in the appointment of a personal representative, followed by the other natural distributees (children, parents, etc.). Anyone having an interest in the estate may qualify after 30 days.
Whoever is appointed as an executor must take an oath to faithfully perform the duties required and must give bond in an amount at least equal to the value of the estate. If the will does not waive surety, surety must be given on the bond.
Fireworks are illegal in James City County. Professional fireworks displays are conducted with a permit issued by the Fire Marshal’s Office.
No. It is our policy that callers are not required to give their name when calling 911. As a part of protocol, the Emergency Communications Officer will ask you for your name. However, if you do not wish to provide your name, please inform the Emergency Communications Officer.
Unfortunately, health insurance premiums continue to rise regardless of whether or not a community decides to bill for EMS transports. Such factors as prescription drug coverage, litigation, technology improvements in the medical field and depressed insurance company investment returns have resulted in escalating health insurance premium costs. However, ambulance transport costs represent less than 1% of health care expenditures. Many other local governments in Virginia have implemented a revenue recovery program for ambulance transport fees, and they have reported no evidence that EMS billing increases health insurance premiums.
Existing records prepared by or in the possession of a public body or its officers or employees in the ordinary transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open and are withheld only if a specific exemption applies. You will be notified if any requested records are being withheld and the reason for the withholding of any records, including the appropriate authority (law or code section) which permits the City to withhold such records. Although the City strives to help you as much as possible, FOIA does not require that the City create records that do not already exist or answer general questions.
The County asks that the name and address of the requester be provided so that it can be determined to whom to send the information, but also so that the County can determine whether the person requesting the information is entitled to request records under the law. Your request must also be reasonably specific so that the records you are seeking can be identified and located.
You may request records in any format used by the County, such as paper, email or electronic means. The County can provide the records requested to you by mail or email, or you can arrange to personally retrieve copies of the records.
The Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council is a state agency that can answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be contacted by email at email@example.com, or toll-free by phone at 1-866-448-4100.
The text of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act is available online, or we can provide you with a copy upon request.
The Local Government Officials' Guide to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act is a 36-page printed booklet with more than 100 questions and answers about FOIA. We have purchased a limited supply and can provide you with one free copy for personal use.
You can pay County bills using our online payment system.
You can find job listings and submit applications through the
Read our guidebook for investing in the County's future and learn more about goals, capital projects and operational initiatives on our
There are several options to stop or start service:
If you are relocating and need to cancel or start your water or sewer service, call our Customer Service at 757-253-6800 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Deposits and stains are the results of naturally occurring minerals in our water. Although these minerals are in trace amounts, over time they can leave deposits on fixtures, toilets, sinks and tubs. Applying a commercial car wax so that the water runs off the fixtures and cleaning fixtures regularly will go a long way to reducing the deposits. Do not allow the water to evaporate leaving the minerals behind. Products found at hardware and grocery stores that are advertised as hardness stain removers are effective. A home treatment system like a water softener or reverse osmosis will remove the minerals that cause these stains, but water softeners can increase sodium levels. Stains and deposits do not mean that your water is not safe to drink.
Prevent frozen water pipes and breaks in your home during freezing temperatures by following these preparedness tips:
For more information on preventing frozen pipes, please visit our informational page.
Problems caused by waste from restaurants and other grease-producing establishments, have served as the basis for ordinances governing the discharge of grease materials to the sanitary sewer system. This type of waste has forced the requirement of the installation of preliminary treatment facilities, commonly known as grease traps and/or interceptors.
The terms grease trap/interceptor tends to be interchangeable. A grease trap is a small reservoir built into wastewater piping a short distance from the grease producing area. This is normally an under sink box-shaped fixture located in the kitchen, though they can be installed in the service area floor, but either way not larger than 20-30 gallons. Reservoir baffles retain the wastewater long enough to allow the grease to solidify and rise to the surface. Building staff can then remove and dispose the grease properly, either in a building exterior grease collection tub, or in the trash. Due to the nature of this system being so limited in size constant monitoring and maintenance an absolute must.
The maintenance schedule is largely dependent upon its usage. If a grease trap or interceptor is not maintained regularly it will not provide proper grease removal. Establish a specific cleaning schedule. All grease traps/interceptors need to have the grease cleaned out periodically. Running extremely hot water down the drain only moves the problem further down stream. It does not go away. Catch the grease at the source, as this is the most economical means to reduce all costs.
Parks & Recreation staff updates the field closing hotline on weekdays by 3 p.m. After this time and on weekends, cancellation is up to league officials. The hotline number is 757-259-3237.
Hiking trails are located at:
Mountain bike trails are located at:
There are walking trails at:
The Waller Mill Dog Park is located in the City of Williamsburg. It is operated by Williamsburg Parks & Recreation and is jointly funded by Williamsburg and James City. It is available to all Williamsburg and James City County residents.
Permits may be obtained and inspections scheduled online through PermitLink.
If you have all the information required including final site plan approval, it may take about 30 business days to review the plans and issue the permit (this time may vary depending on workload).
Please consult our Development Procedures page.
PermitLink enables you to search for development cases in multiple ways (by street name, tax map number, case type or number, and more) and lets you access basic case information, check on the status of review, and view agency comments related to the selected case.
James City County must advertise and post signs on the property for all rezoning and special use permit applications that will be heard by the Planning Commission. Try to write down the number on the sign or note the road the sign is on or a nearby landmark. Use PermitLink to search for the case by street or subdivision name or case number. Alternatively, you can either call the Planning Division to find out additional information or come into the office to view the case file and submitted plans.
Official survey plats are required as part of the building permit, conceptual plan, site plan, variance, rezoning, special use permit, and master plan application submittal packages. The Planning Division does not keep a copy of the recorded plat on file. If you are unable to obtain a plat from the current property owner (normally produced with property deed or land title) here are several options:
Applications must be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to a scheduled meeting to be placed on the Planning Commission agenda. The Planning Commission usually meets on the first Wednesday of each month. Please view the Planning calendar for the most current meeting schedule.
James City County designates all land to one of the 15 zoning districts outlined in the Zoning Ordinance. Certain land uses are allowed in each district, and the rules governing each zoning district vary.Sometimes, a parcel of land must have its zoning district designation changed to develop or use that land in a certain fashion. The process of changing a parcel's zoning district is called a rezoning. The rezoning procedure helps the Planning Division, Planning Commission, and Board of Supervisors take a closer look at a zoning change. This includes the proposed zone's compatibility with existing zones, surrounding development, and the County Comprehensive Plan.
Necessary county services, such as schools, police, and fire protection, are supported by tax revenue from the County. Real estate assessments are how localities fairly distribute the tax burden among all property owners. The distribution from the assessment is proportionally based on the market value of individual properties.
Assessments are determined using actual sales data from valid sales within a property’s neighborhood or comparable neighborhoods from homes that have sold over the past 2 years.Sometimes, there may be a substantial increase or decrease in the assessed value of a specific property when it doesn’t seem like there have been any meaningful changes to the property. Periodically, we review neighborhoods for accuracy and update our records accordingly. There is a chance that some information on a specific property was incorrect and has been updated.Additionally, the assessed value of a particular parcel may be more or less than the County average. This is because the County average takes into account all parcels in a neighborhood and how they relate as a whole. A specific neighborhood may move more or less than the County average amount based on sales.Your assessor can be contacted for specific concerns related to a particular property.
James City County does offer an exemption program for elderly and disabled property owners, provided that specific criteria are met. More information on this program can be obtained through the
Most property information can be found and printed via the James City County Property Information System website. Visiting the property information website is the best first step for finding property records information relating to a particular parcel. If you need assistance, please call the Mapping Office at 757-253-6650 or visit in person to get your information.
All deeds are stored at the James City County Courthouse. The courthouse is located at 5201 Monticello Avenue, Williamsburg, and the phone number is 757-564-2242.
Recorded plats are stored in the James City County Courthouse. The Real Estate Assessments Division has access to scans of these documents and can provide them assuming they are available through the Courthouse records. These scans are copies of legally recorded maps or surveys, they are not certified copies and not legal documents. To get a certified copy of the Legally Recorded plat, you will have to go through the courthouse. The courthouse is located at 5201 Monticello Avenue, Williamsburg, and the phone number is 757-564-2242.
We accept cash, check, or credit card. Payments can be made at either office or over the phone during business hours, or online anytime. EFFECTIVE 7/1/2016, a convenience fee of 2.95% will be applied to all credit / debit card payments. Fore more information, please visit our payment page.
No, properties sold for delinquent taxes are sold at public auction to highest bidder. No properties are sold “over the counter."
Properties are sold to highest successful bidder. If there is no bidder and taxes are not paid in the interim, property is available at next scheduled auction. To-date, no properties have failed to sell at first auction.
Our mailing address is PO Box 8701, Williamsburg ,VA 23187-8701. Both of our locations, 101 Mounts Bay Road, Building B, Williamsburg VA 23185, and 3127 Forge Road, Toano, VA 23168 are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Convenience center coupon books can be purchased in books of 5 tickets for $20 online, at the Treasurer’s Office, the Satellite Office, Freedom Park, and the James City County Recreation Center.
The Treasurer’s Office is now using a Lock Box program through the County’s bank to help with timely payment processing.
The County is on a fiscal year that starts July 1. The time period of July 1 and Dec. 31 is considered the first half of the fiscal year. The time period of Jan. 1-June 30 is considered the second half.