Site and Lot Grading

Site grading plans must be submitted with all types of development plans and must be approved prior to the issuance of a Site Permit. Final lot grading plans are then submitted for each individual building along with the Building Permit Application, reviewed and approved, prior to the issuance of the occupancy permit. This applies to Subdivision, Site and Minor Site Plans.

Individual Lot Grading plans for vacant lots, when there is no active bonded plan, must be submitted for review with a building permit application.

As a prerequisite to the issuance of building permits, site or lot grading plans, prepared in accordance with the following subsections are required for all new single-family dwellings and additions to existing single-family dwellings where the generated disturbed area exceeds 2,500 square feet. For additions where disturbed areas are less than 2,500 square feet, a non-engineered plan may be submitted showing the land to be disturbed. The plan must locate the disturbed area by offsets to the property, show appropriate erosion control, and contain a signed statement by the owner that appropriate erosion control devices will be provided.

To simplify the processing and review of grading plans for residential dwellings, the following items must be included on all plans:
  • Lot grading plans shall be to a scale of one (1) inch equal to thirty (30) feet, or less on lots with areas of less than one (1) acre. A scale of one (1) inch as equal to fifty (50) feet is the maximum that will be allowed for lots of areas of one (1) acre or greater. All plans will have two (2) feet contours defining lot grading and must show the dimensions of the structures, lot dimensions, distances from structures to property lines, building restriction lines, and all other proposed changes at the time the plan is submitted.
  • Spot elevations are required to be shown at all building entrances, at driveway entrances, and at all changes in grade of the driveway. Spot elevations should be shown at each building or house corner.
  • Walkout basements should be indicated on the plans, showing the entrance and the appropriate spot elevations.
  • The minimum size allowed for a driveway culvert is fifteen (15) inches and the inverts for the pipe must be shown. All culverts must be designed to pass the ten (10) year storm. Culvert computations must be submitted with the grading plans.
  • For single family dwelling units, the minimum and maximum allowable driveway slopes are 2% and 15% respectively. The minimum driveway width is twelve (12) feet. A parking pad with a minimum of 360 square feet and twenty (20) feet wide and eighteen (18) feet deep shall be provided on all driveways for parking. The minimum and maximum grade on the parking pad is 2% and 5% respectively for houses that do not include a garage or carport for two or more vehicles. Where the driveway length is less than forty (40) feet, driveway entrances shall be aligned with garages and carports. The width of the CG-9D entrance shall be increased to provide proper access to the parking pad.
  • The lead walk and all risers must be shown on the plan and the elevations at all landings must be specified.
  • In developments where yard lights are required, their locations must be shown on each individual lot.
  • The grading of the front of the lot along with whatever cuts and fills are proposed must be shown, in as much as they define the ditch line and the location of the driveway culvert.
  • Erosion controls are required for any land disturbance over 2,500 sf. If located within an actively working development project existing erosion controls will be evaluated at the time of permit issuance.
  • All existing (platted) storm drainage and sanitary sewer easements will be shown.
  • The perimeter area immediately adjacent to a proposed dwelling should be graded in such a manner as to lead water away from the building. The slopes in this area must be no less than 2% and no greater than 10%. This slope transition area must be at least ten (10) feet wide in sites where cut or fill slopes are greater than 3:1.
  • Slopes steeper than 3:1 (where permitted) must be provided with special stabilization and the type of stabilization specified on the plan. Where feasible, benches or diversions shall be provided on slopes 3:1 and steeper, when the vertical height of slope exceeds fifteen (15) feet. Slopes steeper than 2:1 are not permitted.
  • Any proposed swales on a lot must be at a minimum of 3%. Any swale with steep longitudinal slope must be properly stabilized in accordance with the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook.
  • All retaining walls with a difference in grade on either side in excess of 24 inches will be required to have a separate building permit in accordance with requirements of VUSBC. All handrails shall meet VDOT or VUSBC requirements where applicable.
  • Due to the erosive soils in the City the maximum allowable watershed area for a surface swale in residential communities (Single family, Townhouses or Residential Condominiums) shall be (.8) of an acre or less.
Provide the following information on individual lot grading plans.
------300------ : Existing Contour
____300____ : Proposed Contour
90.5 : Existing Spot Elevation
90.5+ : Proposed Spot Elevation
_____ _____ : Proposed Clearing Limit
: Straw Bale Barrier
: Diversion Dike
: Silt Fence
: Yard Light

The storm drainage system plans for pipes, inlets, etc. (which are approved as a part of the street construction plans) are based upon a storm drainage plan showing the areas contributing to flow at various inlets. 2 foot interval contours for overlot grading plans should delineate the drainage divide lines to insure the originally approved drainage plan is followed, or notation should be made on the plan that it conforms to the approved overall drainage plan.

Designs for lot grading, and the siting and elevation of houses, shall be provided for protection of the house against flooding from storms exceeding the capacity of the normal design storm for which the pipe system is sized. Overland relief shall be provided for all dwellings with a minimum of 1 foot freeboard. Plan submissions must clearly delineate potential flooding will be 18” below the first floor elevation of the dwellings.The same requirement applies to houses located adjacent to street sags where, in the event of a storm greater than the design ten (10) year storm, water would tend to flood out the street and flow overland. Where overlot grading and house location plans do not appear to meet this requirement, the Development Services will require that hydraulic calculations be submitted proving the adequacy of the proposed plan to thus dispose of the design flood.