112 West Main Street
P.O. Box 111
Orange, Virginia 22960


Sec. 54-1. – Title.

The provisions contained herein shall officially be known, cited, and referred to as the Orange County Subdivision Ordinance, or “this Ordinance.”

Sec. 54-2. – Purpose.

The purpose of this Ordinance is to:

  1. Promote the public health, safety, convenience, and general welfare of the citizenry by providing comprehensive procedures for the orderly division and resulting development of land;
  2. Facilitate a clear, consistent, and unambiguous public record and chain of title;
  3. Ensure that all improvements and utilities associated with development are installed and maintained so as not to be an undue burden on the County and its citizens;
  4. Protect the functionality and integrity of the state primary and secondary road networks;
  5. Provide standards to ensure safe and reliable access to and from the state road network;
  6. Comport with good planning and zoning practice, and complement the Orange County Zoning Ordinance; and to
  7. Realize consistency with the vision, goals, objectives, and strategies set forth in the Comprehensive Plan.

Sec. 54-3. – Authority.

This Ordinance is adopted and administered pursuant to § 15.2-2240 et seq. of the Code of Virginia.

Sec. 54-4. – Applicability.

The provisions of this Ordinance shall apply to all property within the jurisdictional limits of Orange County, including any part of which that may be under water, unless specifically superseded by state or federal law. This Ordinance shall not apply to any property within the jurisdictional limits of the Town of Orange or the Town of Gordonsville.

Sec. 54-5. – Rules of Ordinance Construction.

The provisions contained within this Ordinance are intended to protect and promote public interests, and shall be liberally construed in furtherance of these interests and of the stated purpose. Additionally, the following rules shall apply to the construction of this Ordinance unless they would be contrary to the stated purpose or where context clearly indicates otherwise:

  1. All references to other regulations, guidelines, manuals, standards, etc. are to the most current version adopted or approved by the agency or body responsible for such.
  2. The word “current” means the point during which the matter is under consideration.
  3. The word “days” means calendar days, unless otherwise specifically stated.
  4. Distance and area measurements referenced herein shall be in the two-dimensional, horizontal plane.
  5. Standards for improvements that may be specified herein or referenced elsewhere shall constitute the minimum standards. Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed to prohibit exceeding of any minimum standard.

Sec. 54-6. – Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply in the administration of this Ordinance:

Alley. A travelway not intended for general traffic circulation which provides a secondary means of access to the rear and/or side of a property fronting on roads. An alley shall not be considered a road.

Applicant. Any person, including successors and assigns, submitting plats and other materials for review and approval pursuant to these regulations.

Block. A collection or grouping of lots within a common plan of development which are distinctly separated by roads or open space from other collections or groupings of lots within the development.

Board (of Supervisors). The Board of Supervisors of Orange County, Virginia.

Bond. A financial/performance guarantee in which the surety agent and/or obligor pledge a sum of money or other form of collateral as assurance that improvements will be completed as required by this Ordinance, or permit the County (the obligee) to collect the committed money/collateral from the surety agent and/or obligor should the obligor fail to construct the improvements or otherwise meet the terms of the contract.

Boundary line adjustment. Any realignment of property lines between contiguous lots that neither creates new lots or reduces the number of existing lots.

Boundary survey. A plat showing the metes and bounds of an existing lot of record.

Building. Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls, for the housing or enclosure of persons, animals, or property.

Circuit Court. The Circuit Court of Orange County, Virginia.

Code of Virginia. All provisions of Title 15.2, Chapter 22 of the Code of Virginia, as amended.

Commission. See “Planning Commission.”

Common area. Any property, which may include open space as defined herein, and accompanying physical improvements within a development which is owned by a property owners’ association for the use of residents/members as a shared amenity.

Common plan of development. Any site, including those consisting of several contiguous lots under common ownership, where multiple separate and distinct construction activities may be taking place at different times on different schedules, but still under a single plan. For the purposes of this Ordinance, this definition shall include any subdivision with shared infrastructure, such as a road.

Comprehensive Plan. The long-term planning document(s) adopted by the Board pursuant to the Code of Virginia.

Contiguous. Sharing a common boundary.

County. Orange County, Virginia.

County Code. The Code of Ordinances of Orange County adopted by the Board of Supervisors.

County Attorney. The Orange County attorney or his/her designee so hired by the Board.

Cul-de-sac. Any dead-end road with an outlet at one end and a circular turnaround at the other.

Dam break inundation zone. The area downstream of a dam, having been mapped as provided in the Dam Safety Act within the Code of Virginia, that would be inundated by or otherwise directly affected by the failure of the dam.

Dedicate; dedicated. The fee simple transfer of land, such as a road right-of-way, to public use and ownership pursuant to § 15.2-2265 of the Code of Virginia.

Development. All improvements and manmade changes made to a given site, including any land disturbance, paving, buildings and other structures, signs, and the like.

Division. See “subdivision.”

Double frontage. The characteristic of a lot which has frontage upon two parallel roads or upon two roads which do not intersect at the boundaries of the lot.

Driveway. A privately-maintained vehicular travelway not otherwise considered a “road” as defined herein, which serves no more than two (2) total lots.

Easement. A reservation or grant by a property owner, which is defined via an executed deed and/or plat, to either retain or provide to others the right to use a defined portion of the owner’s property for a specific purpose. This does not include a “license” which is otherwise revocable by a unilateral act of the grantor.

Engineer. A person licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia as a professional engineer.

Family, immediate. Any person who is a natural or legally-defined offspring, stepchild, spouse, sibling, grandchild, grandparent, or parent of a property owner.

Floodplain. Any portion of a property designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) as being subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event (or greater).

Frontage. The continuous uninterrupted distance along which a lot abuts an adjacent road, measured along the property line or at the required building setback distance.

Homeowners’ association. See “owners’ association.”

Land disturbance. Any activity involving the clearing, cutting, filling, excavating, or alteration of topography which is regulated by Chapter 26 (Erosion & Sediment Control) of the County Code.

Lot. A separate piece of land shown on a plat of record or described by metes and bounds or other legal description of record in the Circuit Court.

Lot, corner. A lot having two (2) frontages on abutting roads at their intersection.

Lot, pipestem. A lot whereby the majority of the property is set back from the road providing access, typically behind other lots which front on said road, and which receives access to the road via a narrow strip of the lot typically only wide enough to accommodate a driveway.

Lot, residual. The remainder of a lot after a subdivision has detached one or more lots.

Lot line, front. The boundary or boundaries of a lot common to the road right-of-way or easement from which the property is accessed. For corner lots, the front lot line for the purpose of determining orientation and access shall be whichever has the shorter frontage.

Lot line, rear. The boundary of a lot which is opposite of, and does not intersect, the front lot line. Irregular lots may have multiple rear lot lines, as determined by the Subdivision Agent.

Lot line, side. Any lot line which is not considered to be a front line or a rear line.

Monument. Any physical marker placed in or on the ground which indicates property boundaries.

Nonconformity, lawful. Any condition or situation pertaining to a piece of property that lawfully existed at a previous point in time, but due to amendment of the County Subdivision Ordinance and/or Zoning Ordinance or other action by a public entity, resulted in said condition or situation no longer conforming to the County Subdivision Ordinance and/or Zoning Ordinance.

Open space. An area containing water or land or a combination thereof that is unoccupied by building lots or roads, and which may be vegetated, developed with passive amenities for the benefit of the development, or left in an undisturbed state.

Owners’ association. An entity established pursuant to § 55-508 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, usually for the purpose of maintaining land or property owned in common by the owners of property in a subdivision.

Planning Commission. The Orange County, Virginia Planning Commission.

Plat. A schematic representation of a lot, subdivision, or other physical or legal condition of land drawn by a surveyor or engineer.

Plat, record. A plat prepared for recordation in the Circuit Court.

Plat, preliminary. A document, not prepared for recordation, containing a proposed subdivision plat and related improvements plans which depicts a planned subdivision and the accompanying development and improvement of the land.

Recreational area. Any common area of a development reserved for any active or passive outdoor activity or facility, including but not limited to sports fields; playgrounds; picnic areas; walking, horseback riding or bicycle trails; equestrian facilities; ball courts; fitness courses; fishing and boating facilities; swimming pools; and golf courses.

Right-of-way. A fee-simple piece of land dedicated to public use or owned by an owners’ association for the purpose of constructing and maintaining a road and other accompanying improvements such as sidewalks. This term shall be synonymous with “easement” when describing a right of access rather than a physical piece of property.

Road. A thoroughfare for vehicular traffic which serves three (3) or more lots, including all the area within an easement or right-of-way as the context may provide, and which may be interchangeable with other similar terms, but not “driveway” as otherwise defined.

Road, public. A road which is built to state standards (including, but not limited to, the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements, VDOT Road and Bridge Standards, and VDOT Road Design Manual) approved to be maintained by VDOT as part of the state system of highways, and which is encompassed by a right-of-way dedicated to public use.

Road, private. A road built to standards contained herein which is not approved to be maintained by VDOT as part of the state system of highways, and which is maintained by individual owners/users of the road at no public expense, and which is contained within an access easement or private right-of-way owned by an owners’ association.

Serve or Served. As used in relation to roads and vehicular access, a lot shall be considered “served” by a given vehicular travelway if the lot is capable of accessing said travelway directly or via an easement.

Sidewalk. A paved pedestrian way built to prescribed standards which is typically adjacent to a road.

Subdivider. Any individual, partnership, corporation, or group, owning or having an interest in land, or representing the owners of any land proposing to subdivide such land.

Subdivision. The partition of any lot into two or more lots.

Subdivision Agent. The Director of Planning & Zoning, or other person so appointed by the Board, who has been vested with the authority to administer these regulations on behalf of the Board.

Subdivision, family. A division of a lot for the purpose of sale or gift to a member of the immediate family of the property owner.

Survey. A plat drawn based on current field observations for the purpose of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of lot corners and boundary lines and/or physical improvements.

Surveyor. A person licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to survey land and prepare plats.

Turnaround. An area reserved at the terminus of a dead-end road for vehicles to reverse movement and proceed in the opposite direction.

VDH. The Virginia Department of Health.

VDOT. The Virginia Department of Transportation.

Zoning Ordinance. Chapter 70 (Zoning) of the County Code.

Sec. 54-7. – Amendments to this Ordinance.

  1. The procedure for amendments shall be pursuant to § 15.2-2251 and § 15.2-2253 of the Code of Virginia, provided that no amendment shall be adopted by the Board without a reference of the proposed amendment(s) to the Commission for recommendation, nor until sixty days after such reference, if no recommendation is made by the Commission.
  2. Prior to adoption of any amendment by the Board of Supervisors, public notice shall be given in accordance with § 15.2-2204 of the Code of Virginia.

Sec. 54-8. – Conflicting Regulations.

Whenever any section or provision of any federal or state statute or other County ordinance or regulation imposes higher standards than are required by this Ordinance, the provision of such statute, ordinance, or regulation shall govern. This shall also apply to conflicting provisions within this Ordinance.

Sec. 54-9. – Severability.

Should any section or provision of this Ordinance be decided by the courts to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the Ordinance as a whole, or any part thereof, other than the part so held to be unconstitutional or invalid.

Sec. 54-10. – Pending Applications.

Any application for plat review submitted prior to April 25th, 2018 shall be reviewed pursuant to the adopted Subdivision Ordinance in effect at the time of submittal. However, if the submittal is deemed incomplete and the applicant fails to make the submittal complete within twelve (12) months of the County notification thereof, Sec. 54-21 shall be invoked and a new application along with new fees shall be required.

Sec. 54-11 – 54-15. – Reserved.