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A Brief History of Arlington County

Arlington County is a jurisdiction of 25.8 square miles located across the Potomac River from Washington D.C.  The County was originally part of the ten-mile square surveyed in 1791 for the Nation’s Capital. From 1801 to 1847, what are now Arlington and a portion of the City of Alexandria were known as Alexandria County, District of Columbia.  In 1847, at the request of the local residents, Congress retroceded Alexandria County to the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

In 1870, Alexandria County and the City of Alexandria were formally separated and regular elections were held by a post-Civil War government. Subsequently, in 1920, Alexandria County was renamed Arlington County to eliminate the confusion between these two adjacent jurisdictions. The name “Arlington” was chosen because General Robert E. Lee’s home of that name is located in the County, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

By law, there are no cities or towns located within the boundaries of the County. In 1922, the Virginia Supreme Court held that Arlington is a continuous, contiguous and homogeneous entity which cannot be subdivided nor can any portion be annexed by neighboring jurisdictions. 

The Arlington County government exercises both city and county functions, one of the few urban unitary forms of government in the United States. Arlington’s form of government, the County Manager plan, was implemented in 1932. Arlington was the first county in the United States to choose this form of government. Arlington had an estimated population of 211,700 as of January 1, 2012.  The County is almost fully developed; there are no farms and little remaining vacant land. 

Arlington County Government

Since 1932, a five-member Board elected at large for staggered four-year terms (with two board members serving the same term) has governed Arlington County. The Board selects a Chairman from among its members to serve for a one-year term.  The County Board appoints the County Manager, who serves as chief administrative officer.  There is also a five-member elected School Board, whose members likewise serve staggered four-year terms and select their Chairman. The School Board appoints the Superintendent of Schools as the chief administrative officer for the County’s public school system.  The School Board has no taxing authority or authority to issue debt and receives its spending authority from the County Board.

In addition to the County and School Boards, there are five elected “Constitutional Officers.” These are the Treasurer, Commissioner of Revenue, Sheriff, Commonwealth’s Attorney and Clerk of the Circuit Court.  All constitutional officers serve four year terms, with the exception of the Clerk of the Court who serves an eight year term. Arlington is represented by three State senators in the 30th, 31st, and 32nd Senate Districts and by four State delegates in the 45th, 47th, 48th, and 49th House Districts. Senators appear on the same ballot as Constitutional Officers. Delegates must run every odd numbered year. 

Other elected state officials are the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. They are elected for four-year terms (current terms expire December 31, 2013).

General Information

Residential Parking Permit Program

Certain streets and addresses in Arlington are designated residential permit parking zones. Verify whether your address is eligible for permit parking

Any vehicles parked on residential permit parking streets during the restricted hours are required to display a residential zone parking permit or pass. Vehicle-specific permits are only issued to vehicles that are registered with the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office at the zoned address and that have a County decal. More on registering your vehicle with the County.

Order a free residential parking program brochure.

Questions? Send email to the parking program.

Arlington County Parking Meters

Arlington’s meter rates vary from 50 cents per hour to $1.25 per hour, with the most prominent rates being $1.25 per hour for short-term (4 hours or less) and $1 per hour for long-term meters. Please pay the rate shown on your meter.

The County has three different payment options located Countywide:

  • traditional single-space meters
  • multi-space pay stations
  • iPark

More on parking meters.

Moved To Virginia

Virginia Vehicle Registration

If you're moving to Arlington from out of state, you'll need to register your vehicle with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles within 30 days of move-in. More on registering your car in Virginia.

Virginia Driver’s License

If you're moving to Arlington from out of state, you need to apply for a Virginia driver’s license within 60 days of move-in. Exceptions include military personnel, out-of-state students, and temporary nonresidents.

If you hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), you must obtain a Virginia CDL within 30 days.

More about applying for a Virginia driver’s license.

Arlington County Vehicle Registration

All vehicles regularly parked or garaged in Arlington County must be registered for personal property tax with the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office within 60 days of moving into Arlington or acquiring a vehicle that will be located in Arlington. All vehicles registered in Arlington County must display an Arlington County decal on the front windshield at all times.

Owners of vehicles garaged in Arlington but displaying out-of-state license plates will be assessed a $100 annual fee.

More on registering your vehicle.

Questions? Call 703-228-3135 or contact vehicle@arlingtonva.us.

Moved Within Virginia

Virginia Vehicle Registration

If you're moving to Arlington from another part of Virginia, you will need to notify the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. They will need your full name, customer number, title number, and the last four digits of your VIN to update their files.

More on updating your VA DMV files.

Driver’s License

If you're moving to Arlington from another part of Virginia, you will need to notify the DMV within 30 days of your move. For no fee, you can request an address card showing your new address that you must carry with your license. As an alternative, you can purchase online or in person a new driver's license with your new address.

More on updating your DMV address.

Arlington County Vehicle Registration

All vehicles regularly parked or garaged in Arlington County must be registered for personal property tax with the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office within 60 days of moving into Arlington (or 60 days after acquiring a vehicle that will be located in Arlington). All vehicles registered in Arlington County must display an Arlington County decal on the front windshield at all times.

After you move, be sure to return your old decal to the Commissioner of Revenue of your old locality. This will prevent the old locality from assessing personal property taxes on your vehicle(s).

More on registering your vehicle with Arlington County.

Questions? Call 703-228-3135 or contact vehicle@arlingtonva.us.

Connecting Your Utilities — Single-Family or Duplex Property

For general inquiries, call 703-228-6570 or send email.

Water/Sewer/Refuse/Refuse/Recycling

Call 703-228-6570, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to set up a new utilities accounts for these County services. There is a $25 water turn-on fee for new accounts, which is reflected on the first quarterly bill. If applicable, consider putting your spouse or significant other’s name on the utility account. Only named account holders may make future changes. If you're renting a house in Arlington and wish to have the account in your name,  have the owner's name, telephone number, and mailing address ready when you call to set up the account. For changes to existing accounts only, use the online name change form.

  • Billing and rate details — For water, sewer, refuse, recycling services
  • Trash collection details — What's accepted, bulk pickup, carts and weight limits, report missed or partial pickup, cart repairs.
  • Recycling details — What's required and accepted, how to recycle, what happens to recyclables, report missed or partial pickup, cart requirements. 

Connecting Your Utilities: For a Multi-Family Property

For general inquiries, call 703-228-6570 or send email.

Utility Accounts (Water, Sewer, Refuse/Recycling): Contact your landlord, HOA, or other management agency for information on paying these utility fees.

Refuse: Contact your landlord, HOA, or other management agency for information on proper refuse disposal.

Refuse & Recycling Collection: Contact your landlord, HOA, or other management agency for information on refuse and recycling collection. All multi-family properties are required to recycle the following materials:
  • Aluminum cans
  • Cardboard (no size restrictions)
  • Glass (bottles and jars)
  • Metal household items (large household appliances, bicycles, cabinets, doors, grills, iron furniture, etc.)
  • Metal cans
  • Mixed paper (cardboard, magazines, newspapers, office paper, etc.)
  • Plastic

More details on recyclable materials, including Christmas trees.

Electricity/Telephone/Cable/Gas/Alarms

  • Electricity: Dominion Virginia Power provides electricity to Arlington homes and businesses. Visit the Dominion website or call 1-888-667-3000 (TTY 800-552-4015).
  • Phone: Verizon provides and maintains the telephone network to which your home or business is connected. Visit the Verizon's website.
  • Cable Providers:
  • Gas: Washington Gas delivers natural gas to your home or business and responds to any emergency involving your gas service. For more information, please click here or call 703-750-1000 (TTY 703-750-7975).
  • Alarm System Registration: Security alarms must be registered with the Police Department. Use this online form to register your alarm.

Other Services

For general inquiries, call 703-228-6570 or email swbcustserv@arlingtonva.us

Refuse Special Pickups & Recycling Drop-Off Centers: Arlington County does not own, operate, or maintain a dump or transfer station. All refuse must be disposed of through curbside trash collection or a pick-up request. Schedule a special pick-up.

All recycling must be recycled through curbside recycling or dropped off at a Drop-off Center. Arlington County operates two recycling Drop-off Centers that are available to residents 24/7:

Recycling center guidelines & details. |  Center locations.

Mulch: Free leaf and wood mulch is available for pick-up to all Arlington County residents. The mulch can also be delivered for a fee. Details on mulch delivery or pickup.

Leaf Collection: The County collects and recycles leaves every year through two different methods: biodegradable bags and vacuum truck passes. Leaf bags are collected on the next business day after your regular trash collection day. Paper leaf bags are available at most hardware stores. Free leaf bags are also available at several County locations on a seasonal basis. Find out details and collection guidelines.

Snow Removal: Arlington County clears snow from County-maintained roads, and County and Schools property. VDOT clears state roads. During snowfall, snow crews concentrate only on keeping main arteries passable for emergency vehicles and public transportation. After snowfall, snow crews concentrate on clearing snow from all streets for general public use as promptly as possible. Neighborhood streets are cleared last. Details on snow-clearing at the Snow & Ice Central website.

The County also has a Snow Removal Ordinance that requires all Arlington property owners to clear snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property within a designated time period. Details on the Snow Ordinance.

 


 

IMPORTANT NUMBERS

For all emergencies: 9-1-1
Police: 703-558-2222
Fire: 703-228-3362
Fire (TTY): 703-228-4611
Poison Control: 202-625-3333
Water/Sewer Emergencies: 703-228-6555


Last Modified: October 22, 2013
2100 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA 22201 Tel: 703-228-3000 TTY: 703-228-4611