Zoning Ordinance


Chapter 40.2 of the Portsmouth City Code is the Zoning Ordinance. It is a set of regulations devoted to Land Use that defines:

  • What uses are permitted in a zoning district
  • How far buildings must be from the property lines
  • How many parking spaces are needed for a particular use type
  • Size and configuration parking spaces and lots 
  • Building heights
  • Sign regulations
  • Landscaping requirements
  • Site plan review requirements
  • Use permit regulations
  • Other similar requirements

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 became effective on February 1, 2021.

Portsmouth Zoning Ordinance - Updated Oct 12, 2021

The Zoning Ordinance can also be accessed online via Municode.

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

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

Introduction to Planning and Zoning Training Presentation

Click the link below to download a basic training presentation on the basis of Planning and Zoning.

Planning and Zoning Training Presentation

Interactive Zoning Map

Click here to access the interactive, online Zoning Map

The City’s Zoning Ordinance consists of text and a zoning map. Click on the map image to download a PDF of the Zoning Map.

Zoning Map