Zoning Ordinance


Chapter 40.1 of the Portsmouth City Code is the Zoning Ordinance. It is a set of regulations devoted to Land Use that defines:

  • How far buildings must be from the property lines
  • How far buildings on the same lot must be from each other
  • How many parking spaces are needed for a particular use type
  • Size and configuration parking spaces and lots 
  • Building heights
  • Sign regulations
  • Site plan review requirements
  • Use permit regulations
  • Other similar requirements

Zoning Ordinance (Municode link)

Zoning Ordinance Update

At the request of City Council, the City’s Zoning Ordinance was updated and subsequently adopted on December 8, 2020. The comprehensively rewritten Zoning Ordinance was designed to improve clarity and ease of use, streamline development regulations, ease nonconforming situations, protect existing neighborhood character, ensure compatibility with the Code of Virginia, and increase consistency with the City’s Build One Portsmouth Comprehensive Plan. 

Linked below is the newly adopted Portsmouth Zoning Ordinance. The new ordinance becomes effective on February 1, 2021.

Updated Zoning Ordinance Final Version

The Zoning Ordinance Update Briefing and the Zoning Ordinance Update Presentation linked highlight the major changes to the Zoning Ordinance.  

Please contact Julie Chop at chopj@portsmouthva.gov with any questions.

Zoning Ordinance Update Briefing

Zoning Ordinance Update Presentation

View presentations about the Zoning Ordinance update on the City's YouTube Channel.

Zoning Ordinance new cover