Planning Commission Bylaws

Arlington County Planning Commission

Adopted Bylaws

October 5, 2020

Article I – Purpose

  1. The Arlington County Planning Commission (“the Commission”) was established on March 3, 1956 by resolution of the Arlington County Board (“County Board”).
  2. The Commission’s purpose is to promote the orderly development of Arlington County (“the County”) and its environs and to advise the County Board on that subject.
  3. The Commission is governed by the Code of Virginia.

Article II – Members

  1. The Commission shall consist of up to 15 members.
  2. Membership shall be consistent with the Code of Virginia.
  3. Members shall be qualified by knowledge and experience to make decisions on questions of community growth and development.
  4. Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the County Board for a term not to exceed four years.
    The County Board may reappoint members for additional terms.
  5. When a term is not completed and a vacancy on the Commission results, it shall be filled by County Board appointment for the unexpired portion of the term only.
  6. The County Board may remove members for malfeasance in office. The County Board also may remove members without limitation in the event that a member is absent from any three consecutive meetings of the Commission or is absent from any four meetings of the Commission within any 12-month period.

Article III – Officers

  1. There shall be two officers of the Commission, a chair and a vice chair.
  2. Election of officers shall be held at the final regular Commission meeting of each calendar year.  The newly elected officers shall take office on January 1 of the succeeding year.
  3. Elected officers shall serve in this capacity for one year.
  4. The Vice Chair shall preside in the absence of the Chair.  In the absence of both, the members shall elect an acting Chair from among those members present.
  5. If the Chair vacates the office prior to completing his or her term, the Vice Chair shall assume the office and serve the remainder of the term.  A new Vice Chair shall then be elected at the next regular meeting to fill out the remainder of the term for that year.

Article IV – Meetings

  1. The Commission shall hold at least one regular meeting every two months and may schedule one or more special meetings or work sessions each month.
  2. Special meetings of the Commission may be called by the chair or by any two members upon written request to the Chair. Notice of a special meeting shall be given in accordance with Section 15.2-1418 of the Code of Virginia. Written notice of a special meeting is not required if the time of the special meeting has been fixed at a regular meeting or all members are present at the special meeting or file a written waiver of notice.
  3. The Commission shall prepare and adopt an annual schedule of regular meetings at its first meeting following the meeting at which the County Board adopts its annual schedule. The Commission’s schedule shall be coordinated with the County Board’s schedule so referrals of reports and plans to the County Board can be timely.
  4. A quorum shall be required for the Commission to hold an official meeting and to take action on any matter before it. A majority (one-half plus one) of the members entitled to vote shall constitute a quorum. No action of the Planning Commission shall be valid unless authorized by a majority vote of those present and voting.
  5. In the absence of a quorum, the members present may discuss matters on the agenda and report the discussion to the Commission for action.
  6. The right of the permanent or acting Chair to vote, if he or she so desires, shall not be questioned.
  7. No member shall vote on a subject in which he or she has a financial interest or other conflict. The State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act applies to all members.
  8. In the case of major differences of opinion among members, the minority shall have the right to file a separate report to accompany the majority recommendation or action.

Article V – Committees

  1. The Commission shall have three standing committees: the Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC), the Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) and the Zoning Ordinance Committee (ZOCO).
  2. The Chair of the Commission shall appoint all standing committee chairs.
  3. The Planning Commission may create additional committees, as it deems necessary.
  4. For matters that come before the Commission where committee jurisdiction is not obvious, the Commission Chair shall assign these matters to the Committee of his or her choice.
  5. The SPRC shall review and advise the Commission on all site plans, major and minor site plan amendments and other requests for special exception. The SPRC shall provide a public forum for reviewing and commenting on specific site plans, major and minor site plan amendments and other requests for special exception.
  6. The LRPC shall advise the Commission on matters coming before the Commission related to land use, urban design, long-range plans, the Comprehensive Plan, and the General Land Use Plan.
  7. The Zoning Ordinance Committee (ZOCO) shall review and advise the Commission on all proposed zoning ordinance amendments.
  8. At the option of its chair, a committee of the Commission may draw upon one or more citizens of Arlington County who are qualified to help with particular assignments.

Article VI – Records

  1. All meetings of the Commission and its committees are subject to the Freedom of Information Act and the Public Records Act. A record of the transactions shall be kept of all meetings of any type. After approval by the Commission, these records shall be entered in the Commission’s Book of Minutes and placed on the Commission’s website, as a public record. When a scheduled meeting is held and a quorum is not present, the discussions shall form a report only and shall be filed with the other Commission material.
  2. The votes of the members shall be recorded by name.

Article VII – Publicity

  1. No release to the public media shall be made unless it has the Commission’s approval or unless the Commission has authorized the Chair to make an appropriate release to the public.

Article VIII – Amendments

  1. Pursuant to its authority under Article VIII, section 1 of its by-laws, the Planning Commission amends Article I, section 2 of its by-laws dated July 2013 to add the words “and equitable” to read: “The Commission’s purpose is to promote the orderly and equitable development of Arlington County (“the County”) and its environs and to advise the County Board on that subject.”

Article IX – Parliamentary Authority

  1. In all matters of parliamentary procedure not specifically governed by these Bylaws or otherwise required by law, the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised) shall apply.