Arlington Reduces Required Parking for Child Care Centers

Published on July 16, 2019

The Arlington County Board today voted to reduce the parking requirements for child care centers, in keeping with the County's Child Care Initiative to promote the expansion of accessible, available, high-quality child care throughout the County.

"Arlington continues to take important steps to remove barriers to providing high-quality child care options," Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. "The Board's action today will make more locations viable for child care centers and reduce costs associated with maintaining unneeded parking. Taken together, these steps can reduce operator costs and make child care more affordable."

The Board voted unanimously  to adopt a Zoning Ordinance amendment changing the parking ratio for child care centers from one space per eight children to one space per 10 children. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 61 on the agenda for the Tuesday, July 16, 2019 Recessed County Board Meeting.child care instructor reading to four kids on the floor

The adopted parking ratio was developed using employee commute data collected by the County's child care center survey in the summer of 2018 and the newly-adopted teacher-child ratios from County Code Chapter 52. Data showed that 60 percent of child care employees commute to work by driving alone in a car, showing that the County's previous parking ratio of one space per employee was too high, but that employee parking remained essential to accommodate demand. The ratio adopted by the Board accommodates staff parking and pick-up/drop-off of children.

At the request of a child care center, the Board may consider modifying the required parking ratio.

Family day care homes with nine or fewer children to operate by-right

At its Saturday, July 13, 2019 Regular County Board Meeting the Board approved an ordinance formalizing its March 2019 action to allow family day care homes with nine or fewer children to operate by-right. The family day care centers will still be required to meet all applicable licensing provisions. The Board's action is meant to reduce the administrative burden for small family day care homes and was recommended in the County's Child Care Initiative Action Plan.


In March 2019, the Board adopted changes to the Zoning Ordinance and local child care codes to improve the availability, accessibility, affordability and quality of child care in Arlington. The changes were recommended in the Child Care Initiative Action Plan that the Board accepted in July 2018 after a year-long community engagement process.

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