County Board Sets Public Hearing on Parking Policy Recommendations fo

Published on October 21, 2017

  • Proposed policy guidelines would apply to Metro corridors

  • Would standardize guidance to developers on parking requirements

  • Would allow developers more flexibility to build fewer parking spaces

The County Board today set a public hearing for its November 18 meeting on a proposed off-street parking policy for multi-family residential projects approved by special exception in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Jefferson Davis Metro Corridors. If approved, the policy would guide County review of the amount of parking that a builder proposes for these projects.

Over the next decade, the County projects that about 9,100 apartment and condo units will be added to the Metro corridor's existing stock of 56,700 units.

Parking is an element of Arlington's multimodal transportation system and an important aspect of new development in Arlington. The amount of parking included in new construction projects is governed by the Zoning Ordinance's "by-right" requirements as well as the Board's discretion when approving projects through the site plan process.

In recent years, the practice has been for projects in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Jefferson Davis corridors to be approved with less parking than in the past, based on the increase in transportation options in those areas, as well as guidance in the County's comprehensive plan and sector plans.

The Board voted unanimously to set the public hearing for November.

Policy aims to clarify existing practice

To standardize guidance, in 2013 the County Board (based on an earlier Parking Working Group's recommendation), directed the County Manager to initiate a study of parking requirements in residential site plan developments. The Manager was to recommend how County staff should consider parking proposals in multi-family residential developments approved through two kinds of special exception process.

In September 2016, the County Manager appointed a Residential Parking Working Group to explore alternatives and work with staff, to reach out to the public to create a clear and consistent methodology to evaluate site specific, off-street parking ratios for residential site plans and use permits within both Metro corridors.

The proposed policy includes:

  • Lower parking minimums closer to Metro station entrances than for areas farther from those entrances.

  • Minimum parking requirements for committed-affordable units that are relatively lower than for market-rate units in the same location.

  • A requirement that developers pay a mitigation fee or arrange their garages in a certain way if they build more than 1.65 spaces per unit.

  • Allowances for developers to substitute bike parking, carsharing, or investments in Capital Bikeshare for a few parking spaces.

  • Dedicated visitor parking rules.

  • Encouragement of shared parking between uses on a site (like office and residential) and between buildings.

  • Guidance on when to allow developers to build fewer parking spaces if there are site conditions, like underground Metro tunnels, that make providing that parking unfeasible.

More flexibility to build fewer parking spaces

The recommended policy would allow developers more flexibility to build fewer parking spaces if they assess that resident demand can be met with fewer parking spots, and especially if the building includes amenities like ample bike parking and carsharing, which are likely to attract car-free households. Market demand will remain a significant factor and the developers will not be compelled to achieve the minimums. The Board approval process, to which all of these future projects would be subject, will still allow the Board to consider the particular circumstances of a specific location.

Any existing building would not be affected if the Board adopts the proposed policy. To read the Board report, which describes the proposed policy, and provides background information, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item No. 45 on the Agenda for the October 21 Regular County Board Meeting.

To learn more about the project and review documents and past presentations, visit: