Retaining Walls

To apply for a retaining wall in a residential district applicant shall submit the following in person:

  • Three (3) copies of a house location survey plat to scale;
  • Processing fee in cash, check, or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Discover) in accordance with the current Fee Schedule.
  • Retaining walls over two (2) feet in height shall be permitted under the requirements of the Design and Construction Standards Manual, and if greater than four (4) feet in height, shall meet the following setbacks:

Minimum Required Setbacks

Lot Size Front Side Rear
 (a) Less than 10,000 sq.ft. 15 feet 5 feet 8 feet
 (b) 10,000 sq.ft. to one acre 25 feet 6 feet 10 feet
 (c) Greater than one acre 35 feet 10 feet 15 feet

To apply for a retaining wall in a commercial district:

  • Written authorization from the Department of Public Works, Watershed Branch is required if the retaining wall is constructed in a Resource Protection Area (visit the GIS County Mapper to view RPA and other overlay districts) and must be obtained prior to application for zoning approval. The Department of Public Works, Watershed Branch is located at 5 County Complex Court, Suite 170, Prince William, VA 22192. The Branch may be contacted at 703-792-7070;

  • Applicant is to show height and location, and provide an elevation of the retaining wall to scale on the house location survey plat;

  • Approval may also be required from the Development Services Department, Building Development Division, after obtaining zoning approval.
    • Plan approval is required to be obtained from Development Services; The plan shall include the height, location, and elevation; For more details as to the minimum plan submittal requirements contact the Development Services Department at (703) 792-6830 (TTY: 711) or email [email protected];
    • Applicant to provide a building permit release letter and three copies of the approved plan to the Zoning Counters;
    • Processing fee in cash, check, or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Discover) in accordance with the current Fee Schedule;
    • Approval may also be required from the Development Services Department, Building Development Division, after obtaining zoning approval.

For more information on retaining walls, call the Zoning Counters at (703) 792-6830 (TTY: 711) or email [email protected].