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Environmental Overlays

There are two (2) zoning overlay districts in Smithfield in which most improvements are either forbidden or only permissible following a successful application for an exception of some kind.

Floodplain Overlay

The Floodplain Overlay (FPO) is the Town’s localized version of the National Flood Insurance Program, and includes the area of Town that would be flooded in the event of a base flood, or a flood that has a one-percent (1%) chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.

The FPO is regulated through Smithfield Zoning Ordinance (SZO) Article 3.O.  According to the SZO, the purpose of the FPO is to “prevent the loss of life and property, [the] creation of health and safety hazards, the disruption of commerce and governmental services, the extraordinary and unnecessary expenditure of public funds for flood protection and relief, and the impairment of the tax base.”

Exceptions allowing improvements within the FPO are unusual and only permissible following the granting of a variance by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).  An application for BZA review and decision is accessible HERE.

For a preliminary determination* as to whether or not your property (or a portion thereof) may be located within the FPO, please undertake the following steps:

  • Access the Isle of Wight County Geographic Information System.
  • Select “I agree,” “OK,” and enter your address or Tax Parcel Identification Number into the search bar.
  • Select the “layer list” icon on the left side of the screen.
  • Select the “one-hundred (100) year flood zones” layer.
  • If the resulting red area covers all or part of your property, it is located (or partially-located) within the FPO.

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Overlay

The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Overlay (CBO) is the Town’s localized version of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (CBPA) of 1988, and includes all areas of Town located one-hundred feet (100’) landward of non-tidal wetlands, vegetated wetlands, or an area equal to 1.5 times the mean tidal range, whichever concludes the farthest upland.

The CBO is regulated through SZO Article 3.P.  According to the SZO, the purpose of the CBO is “to protect and improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, buffer areas, and other sensitive environmental lands by minimizing the potential adverse effects of human activity upon these areas.”

Exceptions allowing most improvements within the CBO are unusual and only permissible following the granting of a CBPA Exception by the Planning Commission.  An application for Planning Commission review and decision is accessible HERE.

Certain improvements within the CBO may be administratively approved, but these, much like CBPA Exceptions, are exceptionally rare, are required to meet all applicable local and state criteria, and must be the absolute minimum necessary to afford relief.  Like all localities located east of the fall line, the Town is queried on its administration of the CBPA each year by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

For a preliminary determination* as to whether or not your property (or a portion thereof) may be located within the CPO, please undertake the following steps:

Contact

Should any part of your property fall within these overlays, it is imperative that you contact Town staff as early as possible in the planning phase of your project.

For questions concerning development within the CBO and/or the FPO, please contact Tammie Clary, Interim Community Development & Planning Director at 1-(757)-365-4200.

For questions concerning the Town’s septic tank pump out program, please contact Chesley Daughtrey, Compliance Administrator at 1-(757)-365-4200.

*The Town holds that an exhibit, plan, plat, or survey, prepared by a Virginia-licensed DPOR professional within the last two (2) years, shall serve as the definitive resource as to the precise location(s) of the CBO and/or FPO on any given property.