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Home Improvement Permits

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 Required Approvals & PermitsRestrictionsHistoric District • Application & Approval Process

What Approvals or Permits Are Required?

Many home improvement projects require Plan Review approval, Zoning Permits from the Town of Leesburg and/or Building Permits from Loudoun County. The table below outlines what approvals and permits are required:

   Leesburg Plan
Review Approval
Zoning Permit
Loudoun County
Building Permit 
 Home additions/expansions  yes*  yes  yes
 Accessory structures (detached garage,
 gazebo, shed, etc.)
yes*  yes  yes
 Decks, balconies and exterior stairs   no  yes  yes
 Driveways and patios  yes**   yes  yes
 In-ground swimming pool yes  yes  yes
 Interior or basement finish out no  yes  yes
 Masonry walls (retaining walls)  no  yes  yes
 Fences (see below) no no no

*If footprint exceeds 200 square feet
**If land disturbance exceeds 250 square feet

Fences do not require a zoning permit, however the guidelines in Article 10 of the Zoning Ordinance must be met. In brief:

  • Fences, walls and hedges in a front yard may not exceed 6 feet in height. If they exceed 42 inches in height, they must not obstruct visibility at street or driveway intersections.
  • Fences in side and rear yards may not exceed 7 feet in height, unless abutting non-residential property. Fences abutting non-residential property may not exceed 8 feet in height.
  • Prohibited fences and walls: No barbed wire, electrical elements or other hazardous materials may be used on fences or walls in a residential district.

Your Homeowners Association (HOA) may have additional restrictions.

In addition, if your property is located in the Old & Historic District, you must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior alterations to your property, including fences. For more information, please see our Historic District page

What Can You Build (or Not Build) on Your Property?

Your property's Zoning District determines what you can build and what you cannot build on your property. Each Zoning District contains standards for the number of residential units per acre, minimum lot sizes, minimum setbacks (how close to the property line you may build) and maximum building height. The Zoning District also determines what non-residential uses are allowed.

If you do not know your property's Zoning District, there are several ways to determine it:

After you have determined your property's Zoning District, check the Zoning Ordinance (Article 5, additions/expansions and Section 10.4.5, minimum yard requirements) for details about the zoning standards for accessory structures.

Old & Historic District

If your property is in the Old & Historic District, you will need to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness for any exterior alterations or additions to your property.

For more information, please visit the Certificate of Appropriateness Information page.

Application and Approval Process

Plan Review Approval

The following types of home improvements require the submission of a Site Plan Waiver:

  • Home additions or expansions with a building footprint of 200 square feet or more
  • Residential accessory structures with a building footprint between 200 and 950 square feet*
  • Driveways and patios, if the area of land disturbance exceeds 250 square feet
  • In-ground swimming pools

*Residential accessory structures with a building footprint larger than 950 square feet require the submission of a Mini Site Plan. For more information about these applications and the fees associated with them, please see the Plan Review Fee Schedule page.

Applications may be submitted at the Plan Review Counter on the 2nd floor of Town Hall, Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 5:00pm. Staff are available to assist homeowners with the completion of these applications and necessary documentation. Applications for these types of home improvements can be submitted along with your Zoning Permit; however, you will need to obtain Plan Review Approval before your Zoning Permit can be processed. 

Due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, our submission process has changed temporarily, please visit our Plan Review Homepage for additional information.

Zoning Permits

Once you have received Plan Review Approval (if necessary), to apply for a Zoning Permit, you need to submit:

  • Zoning Permit application
  • Exterior Alterations Only: A plat of the property, showing all existing and proposed structures, including driveways, decks, patios, pools and accessory structures, drawn to engineer's scale, printed no larger than 11"x17". If you need a copy of your plat, please contact us at 703-771-2765 to see if we have a copy on file.
  • Interior Alterations Only: A floor plan sketch, printed no larger than 11"x17".
  • $30 Zoning Permit fee (credit card, check or exact cash) 

Applications can be submitted in person at the Zoning Counter on the 2nd floor of Town Hall, Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 5:00pm.

Due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, our submission process has changed temporarily, please visit our Zoning Information page for additional information. 

Building Permits

All building permits in the Town of Leesburg are issued by the Loudoun County Department of Building and Development. You must receive a Town of Leesburg Zoning Permit before Loudoun County will issue your building permit.

For information about building permit requirements, please visit the Loudoun County Department of Building & Development website.