Land Use Guidance

Downtown Winchester


Throughout the years, the City of Winchester has drafted a number of guidance documents that seek to inform the general public. Please review the areas of interest.

Installing a fence?

Fence Requirements

A  Zoning Fence Permit is required for the installation or replacement of any fence or wall in the city of Winchester. Before installation, determine the type of lot you have based on the graphics below and review the regulations associated with each section of the lot (A-E). Set-back requirements, fence height and opacity vary depending on the lot layout. Additional permits or Certificates of Appropriateness may be required based on the purpose of the fence on the property (i.e. pool enclosure, retaining wall, etc.), or if the property is located within the Historic Winchester (HW), Corridor Enhancement (CE), or Floodplain (FP) district(s).


  • Make sure the contractor or business you choose to install your fence is aware of and follows these fence regulations and they must have a current Virginia contractor's and City of Winchester business license.
  • Contact Zoning staff for help with completing the permit application, 540-667-1815.

Lot Layouts

There are four types of lots in the City's Zoning Ordinance. 

  • Corner Lot
  • Traditional Lot
  • Additional Front Yard Lot
  • Double Frontage Lot

Corner Lot:

Corner lot layout

Traditional Lot:

Traditional Lot layout

Additional Front Yard Lot:

Additional Front Yard Lot layout

Double Road Frontage Lot:

Double Road Frontage Lot layout


A & B:

  • Fences and non-retaining walls up to eight feet in height above surrounding grade, may be installed in any required rear yard (A) or non-corner side yard (B).


  • Fences up to four feet in height above surrounding grade which are at least 25% open (Example: picket, chain link, rail, etc.) and non-retaining walls up to three feet in height above surrounding grade may be installed in any required front (C) or corner side yard (C), except as per 18-12 of the Zoning Ordinance (Visual Obstructions).


  • On double-frontage residential lots, fences up to six feet in height above surrounding grade may be installed in the non-primary front yard (D) which is situated between a public street and the rear elevation of the main building provided that they are set back from the public right of way at least three feet plus one additional foot of setback for every one additional foot of fence height above four feet:
    • ORANGE = Fence height: between 5-6 ft.
    • DARK YELLOW = Fence height: between 4-5 ft.
    • YELLOW = Fence height: 4 ft. or less


  • Fences and walls (both retaining and non-retaining) up to five feet in height above surrounding grade may be permitted in non-required front yard (E) and corner side yards (E), except as per 18-12 of the Zoning Ordinance and provided that any retaining wall over three feet in height shall include a railing, fence or hedge at least thirty-six inches high along the top to protect persons from injury due to falling.

Printable Fence Regulations(PDF, 241KB)

Additional Permits May be Needed (i.e. Board of Architectural Review, Corridor Enhancement, floodplain development). 

A separate building permit may be required if:

  1. The fence is a required pool enclosure.
  2. The fence is required for pedestrian safety.
  3. The retaining wall has 3 feet or more of unbalanced fill.

Materials Needed

Two (2) copies of a scaled drawing/plat illustrating proposed location, height, and opacity of the fence. Please note that the applicant is responsible for researching and indicating whether or not any easements exist on the subject property.


Planning Department Approvals

Below are a number of educational documents that seek to better inform applicants of the approvals and permits that fall under the responsibility of the City of Winchester's Planning Department:

Site Plans


Rezoning Brochure(PDF, 741KB)

Major Subdivisions

Major Subdivision Brochure(PDF, 751KB)   Subdivision Checklist(PDF, 205KB)  

Historic District 

Historic District Webpage

Corridor Enhancement District

Corridor Enhancement District Webpage

Zoning Department Approvals

Below are a number of educational documents that seek to better inform applicants of the approvals and permits that fall under the responsibility of the City of Winchester's Zoning Department:

Minimum Zoning Standards

Minimum Zoning Standards(PDF, 78KB)

Minor Subdivision 

Old Town Outdoor Dining