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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.
Unfortunately many of the items that residents were previously putting in their cart were not supposed to go in there in the first place (on average 25% of what we put in our cart is not recyclable). We are cleaning up the recycling stream with this new program and all of our outreach and education. Consumers need to do their part by knowing what is and isn’t recyclable rather than just “wishful recycling” that clogs up the waste stream, breaks equipment and makes recycling more expensive.
Here's what you can put in your cart:
Visit our accepted recyclables page to search for ways to recycle and dispose of waste items.
Unfortunately, yogurt cup containers are no longer recyclable. This is a repercussion of the international trade restrictions that were recently enacted because those items used to be sent overseas for recycling and there is no longer a market for them. Hopefully, domestic markets will open up and we will be able to add those items back into our recycling stream. For now all we can do is focus on reducing and reusing!
Use our new Recyclopedia tool to search for other waste items, and we'll tell you how to recycle or dispose of them.
Shredded paper is not allowed in the curbside cart with one exception–if the shredded paper is in long strips (not crosscut into short strips or confetti) it can be placed in a paper bag and put into the curbside recycling cart. Otherwise it needs to be disposed of in the regular trash.
We accept only #1 and #2 plastic bottles and jugs. This includes water bottles, sports drink bottles, laundry detergent containers, shampoo bottles and any other plastic container with a neck. However, those numbers on the bottoms of containers can be misleading so the best way for consumers to recycle correctly it to pay attention to the shape. The majority of plastic bottles and jugs are #1 and #2.
Plastics #3-7 are not accepted at this time. Unfortunately the chemical makeup of these items leads them to be unmarketable to the manufacturers that are making new items out of recycled materials. Several Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) have accepted these items for the past few years, but there isn't a market for them at this time.
Numbers 3-7 will not be accepted. Unfortunately, the chemical makeup of these items lead them to be unmarketable to the manufacturers that are making new items out of recycled materials at this time. Many Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) have been accepting these items for the past few years (County Waste included), but unfortunately there just isn't a market for them and so they sit in bales on the MRF property waiting for a buyer. The only market at this time seems to be waste-to-energy (i.e. burning trash to make electricity). However, it is important to the County that everything we collect for recycling from our residents is actually being recycled and not burned for energy so we have removed that item from our list.
The only items that are being excluded (that were included before) are plastic containers such as yogurt cups and clamshells because there simply isn’t a market for those materials at this time. The good news is that these are a small percentage of our recycling stream. All of the items that we currently accept have always made up the majority of the items in the cart.
We are simply asking folks to pay attention to the shape of the plastic rather than the number to keep it simple and minimize confusion. We accept any plastic bottles and jugs (water bottles, sports drink bottles, laundry detergent containers, shampoo bottles and any other plastic container with a neck). This does include #1 and #2 plastics but those numbers on the bottoms of containers can be misleading and were created by the plastics industry to identify the chemical compounds that the materials are made of. The best way for consumers to recycle correctly it to pay attention to the shape.
Plastic bottles and jugs are the only ones that are marketable for recycling. The recycling industry is working hard to look for new markets so as they become available, we will definitely be adding more materials back into the stream.
The number of plastics with a neck that are not #1 and #2 are minimal so the Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) can easily weed them out. Here is the technical explanation:
Plastics #1 and #2 with a neck are the only plastic containers that hold any value on the recycling commodities market at this time. Bottles with a neck are blow molded and melted at a certain temperature. Plastic bottles without a neck are injection molded and melted at a different temperature. When the two different types of materials are mixed in the recycling stream they create a contamination problem because there is no market for the injection molded plastics #1 and #2 at this time and they do not melt down together. To streamline the response we simply leave the numbers out of the conversation and tell folks that we accept any plastic bottle with a neck. The small number of plastics with a neck that are not #1 and #2 are easier for the MRF to weed out.
The County accepts the same materials at the convenience centers as we do in our curbside recycling program – we no longer accept the additional plastics at the convenience centers as of July 1.
Personal property and real estate taxes are both due June 5 and Dec. 5 of each year. If the fifth of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are due on the next business day. Additionally, supplemental billings may be created throughout the year for personal property that moves into the County during the year, or real estate improvements.
Yes! The County now has an online payment system that allows citizens to see their invoices as well as pay with credit/debit card or e-check. Convenience fees apply for online payments. To access the system, visit the ePayment webpage.
We accept cash, check, credit or debit cards. Payment can be made at the Government Center or Satellite Services, online or by telephone at 855-329-4498. A convenience fee will apply for all credit/debit card and e-check payments.
Our mailing address is PO Box 8701, Williamsburg, VA 20187-8701. The main office is located at the County Government Center at 101 B Mounts Bay Road, Building B, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Real estate is assessed at $0.84 per $100 of assessed value. Personal property is assessed at $4 per $100 of assessed value. Personal property tax relief is offered on personal use vehicles. The relief percentage is adjusted annually.
The County works on a fiscal year that starts July 1 and ends June 30 each year. For real estate taxes, the time period of July 1 through Dec. 31 is considered the first half of the fiscal year, and Jan. 1 through June 30 is the second half. Personal property taxes are assessed based on the calendar year.
Both personal property and real estate taxes are paid in arrears. Taxes due June 5 cover assessments from Jan. 1 through June 30. Taxes due Dec. 5 cover assessments from July 1 through Dec. 31.
The Treasurer’s Office is now using a lockbox program through our bank to help with more efficient payment posting. The closest lockbox facility for the bank is located in Boston. Payments can still be mailed to the local office at PO Box 8701 Williamsburg, VA 23187-8701.
Payments postmarked on or before the due date are considered on time. We also have drop boxes located in the Government Center parking lot, at the front of the main office, and at the Satellite Office. These boxes are cleared at 8 a.m. daily and considered the previous day’s mail.
The Treasurer’s Office experiences high payment, high call and high in-person volumes during peak tax season. Please allow 2-3 weeks for the processing of any payments sent to the local address during the June 5 and Dec. 5 tax seasons.
Yes! Visit the Property Information webpage, search for your property and navigate to the Taxes tab.
Yes, lists are available in both hardcopy and electronic format. Please email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org with the preferred format. The list will not identify the status of any property.
The Treasurer determines what properties are to be sold and oversees the process. Taxes must be delinquent on Dec. 31 following the second anniversary of the due date to begin the litigation process. The James City County Treasurer has retained the services of Taxing Authority Consulting Services, P.C. (TACS) to represent the County during the collection and sale process. For more information on the process, or to sign up for notifications of upcoming tax sales, visit the TACS website. TACS can be reached at 804-545-2500 or email@example.com.
Dog licenses go on sale Nov. 1 and are due by Jan. 31 annually. The current rate is $5 per year for spayed or neutered dogs and $8 per year for male or female dogs. The County currently offers a multi-year dog license based on the expiration of the dog’s rabies vaccination. For more information, please visit the Dog License webpage.
Coupon books, containing 5 coupons each, can be purchased for $20 at the Treasurer’s Office, Satellite Services, Freedom Park, and the James City County Recreation Center. Payments by credit/debit card (additional convenience fees apply) can be made on site at the convenience centers or online.
If you recently paid off your mortgage and would like the real estate tax bills mailed to you, please call our office at 757-253-6705 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to update your records.
If you received your real estate tax bill in the mail and you believe your mortgage company is responsible for payment, contact your mortgage company or forward the tax bill to them immediately.
Payment agreements can be set up with a collections staff member. These are established on a case-by-case basis. For more information, please contact our office at 757-253-6705.
As of Jan. 1, 2019, the Treasurer’s Office is no longer able to accept payments for water bills. Please call JCSA customer service at 757-253-6800.