Zoning Ordinance Amendments

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The County Board amends the Zoning Ordinance for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Adjusting for changes to the Code of Virginia or prevailing case law
  • Ensuring that land use a development meet community needs
  • Eliminating outmoded regulations
  • Correcting errors

In 2013, the Zoning Ordinance was updated to make it easier to use, understand and administer. The following amendments are divided between amendments made to the original ordinance established in 1950 as well as amendments made to the ordinance that was updated in 2013. 

Amendments to the 2013 Ordinance

2021

N-FBC-11: Form Based Code Transfer of Development Rights Multiplier 

Adopted March 23, 2021 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment to the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Form Based Code (N-FBC) reinstated Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) provisions which had expired via sunset clause in 2020. The provisions enable a density bonus at receiving sites for N-FBC development projects of three times the amount of dwelling units which are preserved as Committed Affordable Units (CAFs) at the sending site. The density bonus can be used on other receiving sites outside of the Columbia Pike corridor for two times the amount of dwelling units which are preserved as CAFs.

ZOA-2021-01: Affordable Housing Building Height

Adopted April 17, 2021 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

Sections 12.3.7 and 15.5.9 were amended to enable the County Board to modify the maximum building height standards for the RA14-26, RA8-18, and RA6-15 zoning districts for multifamily residential development projects which would provide 100% of the dwellings as low- or moderate-income housing. The Board may approve up to 60 additional feet in height beyond the maximums provided in the Zoning Ordinance, subject to the establishment of effective transitions with surrounding development.

ZOA-2021-02: Clarendon Revitalization District Height Map

Adopted June 12, 2021 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment revised a small portion of the maximum height limit map in the Clarendon Revitalization District specified in §9.2.5 to reflect changes in building height and form which were associated with a proposed amendment to Site Plan #438 (Clarendon West). The amendment replaced maximum heights between 55 feet and 110 feet with a 1:3 taper plane graduating the height differential with reduced graduated heights of 55 feet, 75 feet, and 95 feet without a taper plane. The maximum height limit map amendments were focused on the subject property for Clarendon West, located at 3251 and 3275 Washington Boulevard as well as 1227 and 1239 N. Ivy St.

ZOA-2021-03, FBC-25 and N-FBC-12: Columbia Pike Form Based Code Ground Story Uses

Adopted November 13, 2021 (view amended text(PDF, 706KB) )

Effect January 12, 2022

The County Board adopted several amendments to the Columbia Pike Form Based Codes (Commercial and Neighborhood Codes) to implement increased flexibility for ground story uses as recommended in the 2019 Columbia Pike Commercial Market Study. This flexibility is intended to enhance the commercial retail market along Columbia Pike as it continues to transition from an auto-oriented suburban corridor to the Main Street, walkable experience envisioned in adopted plans.

Among other amendments, the Board’s action added breweries, distilleries, urban agriculture, and shared commercial kitchens as new, permitted land uses for the ground stories of Form Based Code projects. Uses which were already permitted by County Board use permit approval along the FBC’s main street frontages, such as art galleries and offices, are now permitted by-right. Minimum transparency standards were modified to suit the privacy needs of day cares and medical offices, and “legacy sites” – existing commercial properties which have not yet redeveloped using the FBC development standards – are now eligible for the same ground story uses as FBC projects.

2020

ZOA-2020-01: Elder Care Uses in the Clarendon Revitalization District

Adopted January 25, 2020 (view amended text)
Effective January 25, 2020

Staff wrapped up the elder care zoning study with this follow-on work which clarified that elder care uses (assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities) are permitted within the Clarendon Revitalization District as shown on the General Land Use Plan on lots designated as Medium Density Mixed Use.

N-FBC-09: Height and Setback Requirements near R- and RA-zoned Properties 

Adopted January 25, 2020 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment to the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Form Based Code (N-FBC) enacted editorial changes to the Neighborhood Manners section of the code to clarify the existing standards for N-FBC development that occurs adjacent to existing residential uses. The clarifications aligned the narrative setback standards with existing visual depictions already within the N-FBC, intended to require certain setback and maximum building height requirements for development next to lots which are zoned with a R-district or RA-district that have either 1) a single-family detached dwelling or 2) no improvements or permitted land use at the time of development approval.

N-FBC-10: Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) Cash Contribution for Commercial Uses

Adopted July 21, 2020 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

The Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Form Based Code (N-FBC) predominantly enables redevelopment of existing multifamily residential properties along Columbia Pike that are outside of the commercial centers. When redevelopment occurs, the N-FBC requires the developer to provide on-site affordable housing units in exchange for increased building height and residential density.

In limited instances, the N-FBC permits nonresidential development at predetermined intersections along Columbia Pike to complement surrounding development governed by the Commercial Form Based Code (C-FBC). This amendment closes a loophole in the N-FBC that permitted the nonresidential portion of a N-FBC project to forgo required and desired contributions to affordable housing. The amendment incorporated a cash contribution requirement to the AHIF for the nonresidential portion of the project using the same formula utilized for site plan projects in §15.5.8.C.4 of the Zoning Ordinance.

ZOA-2020-02: Nonconforming Two-Family Lots and Dwellings in RA Districts

Adopted Sept. 12, 2020 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment applied to lots with one of four different zoning designations (RA14-26, RA8-18, RA7-16, or RA6-15) which have a nonconforming two-family dwelling on the lot. Such dwellings can now be expanded by-right, subject to the lot’s established zoning standards for height and setbacks.

ZOA-2020-03: Outdoor Cafes in the R-C District

Adopted Dec. 12, 2020 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment enabled the establishment of outdoor cafes as an accessory use to an already established restaurant in the R-C district.

2019

ZOA-2019-01: Child Care Initiative (Phase 1)

Adopted March 16, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective July 1, 2019

Staff conducted a zoning study focused on reducing and eliminating land use barriers to opening, expanding and operating child care programs in Arlington. The study was associated with the Arlington Child Care Initiative (CCI) – an effort begun in 2017 to develop an inclusive, integrated child care system that effectively serves all Arlington County families and prioritizes the needs of the County’s most vulnerable populations. This initiative spans multiple County departments and community partners, whose work aims to increase and enhance the accessibility, availability and quality of child care in Arlington through the implementation of the Child Care Initiative Action Plan.

This amendment was adopted concurrently with amendments to County Code Chapters 52 and 59, which contain provisions governing the licensing and regulation of family day care homes, child care centers, and similar uses.

ZOA-2019-02: Special GLUP Study Fee Refund

Adopted April 23, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment added the fees collected for Special General Land Use Plan (GLUP) Studies and Special GLUP Study Plus projects as those eligible for reimbursement should an accepted application for a full Special GLUP Study or Special GLUP Study Plus be withdrawn prior to the commencement of staff’s review.

ZOA-2019-03: Parking Modifications in the R-C District

Adopted April 23, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment removed a provision in the R-C: Multiple-family Dwelling and Commercial District which limited the County Board’s ability to approve parking reduction requests concurrent with a site plan approval for a development project within a R-C district. The limitation in §7.3.5.E. which prevented the approval of a residential parking amount below 1 space per dwelling unit was eliminated with this amendment.

ZOA-2019-04: Height for Large Media Screens

Adopted April 23, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment increased the maximum sign height for large media screens, when located in urban regional shopping centers, from 40 ft. to 55 ft. The amendment included formatting and editorial changes to bring further clarity to the zoning regulations for large media screens.

ZOA-2019-05: Parking Modifications for Social Service Institutions

Adopted April 23, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment enables the County Board, through the special exception use permit process, to modify the number of required parking spaces for social service institutions which can demonstrate that their parking demand would be lower than the minimum number of parking spaces required by ordinance.

ZOA-2019-06: Relocatable Classrooms

Adopted June 15, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

To support Arlington Public School’s management of rising school enrollment, staff conducted a study to create an administrative review and approval process for relocatable classrooms. Administrative reviews replaced the need to amend school use permit amendments simply to change a school’s number of relocatable classrooms.

The study resulted in Zoning Ordinance amendments that categorize school relocatables as short-term uses to be reviewed and approved administratively, subject to general standards for all temporary uses as well as placement standards to prevent conflicts with middle school and high school athletic fields, mature trees and applicable setbacks. Relocatable classrooms can be approved for a three-year term with an option for one three-year renewal.

ZOA-2019-07: Detached Accessory Dwellings

Adopted May 18, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective July 1, 2019

This amendment permitted the construction and establishment of new detached accessory dwellings, provided additional flexibility for property owners to convert their existing accessory buildings into detached accessory dwellings, and clarified existing standards for nonconforming one- and two-family dwellings located in residential zoning districts.

This amendment expanded upon a previous amendment adopted in Nov. 2017 that permitted accessory dwellings within existing detached accessory buildings.

ZOA-2019-08: Child Care Center Parking

Adopted July 16, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment modified the parking ratio for child care centers from 1 space per 8 children to 1 space per 10 children.

ZOA-2019-09: Elder Care Uses (Initial Phase)

Adopted Sept. 21, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment increased the number of zoning districts where assisted living facilities and nursing homes may be permitted by site plan approval. The amendment incorporated standards for height, lot size and floor area ratio (FAR) for these uses in the RA8-18 district.

ZOA-2019-10: Bonus Density

Adopted Nov. 16, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

Staff conducted a zoning study to update and clarify standards which allow maximum height and density requirements to be surpassed when development applicants elect to comply with incentive zoning provisions. The incentive provisions, for example, include commitments to provide affordable housing, community facilities, energy efficient building materials/systems and transportation infrastructure. The resulting changes to the Zoning Ordinance reorganized and restructured the bonus provisions in §15.5.9 to permit bonus height and density as specified in approved area plans, sector plans, Phased Development Site Plans, or similar County Board-approved planning policies.

This amendment was adopted concurrently with GP-349-19-1, which amended the General Land Use Plan to reference height and density bonuses which are granted on a case-by-case basis as part of the special exception site plan approval process.

ZOA-2019-11: Elder Care Uses

Adopted Dec. 17, 2019 (view amended text)
Effective immediately

This amendment permits the establishment of assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities in an additional 14 zoning districts. The amendment created new definitions for undefined terms in the Zoning Ordinance, updated the parking requirements for elder care uses, added site plan criteria and findings for use during the site plan review process, and updated the terminology used in Article 12’s household living and group living residential use categories.

2018

ZOA-2018-01: Nonconforming Lots and Dwellings

Adopted October 23, 2018

This amendment addressed issues with modifications to nonconforming one- and two-family dwellings. The study allowed lots with less width and/or less area to be occupied by any use permitted in the residential districts listed in §16.1.1. The amendment also enabled expansions to one- and two-family nonconforming dwellings in the R2-7 zoning district, as long as the expansion meets the established standards for the dwelling’s zoning district. It also enabled interior-structural alterations to nonconforming one- and two- family dwellings in the remaining excluded R districts (i.e., R10T and R15-30T) and all RA districts, as well as additional technical updates to improve organization and promote ease of use.

ZOA-2018-02: Community Swimming Pools

Adopted October 23, 2018

This amendment encompassed changes to §4.1.2 and §12.4.8 that now authorize the County Board to modify fencing, coverage and placement standards for community swimming pools through the use of the permit process. The Board adopted additional changes to §12.4.8. to correct references and improve clarity.

2017

ZOA-2016-13: Accessory Homestay Revisions

Adopted January 28, 2017

When the County Board adopted provisions in December 2016 to allow short-term rental of residential dwellings, it also authorized advertisement of some revisions to broaden the applicability of the regulations. This amendment allowed accessory homestay in dwelling units used by either the owner or a renter as his/her primary residence, and removed limitations on the number of contracts allowed per night.

ZOA-2017-01: Sign Area for Projects with Retail

Adopted June 17, 2017

This study was prompted by several issues brought forth by the development community, the Economic Development Commission, the Chamber of Commerce and the County’s Business Improvement District and Partnerships. They included: consider revising the calculation of aggregate sign area to account for properties that include retail-facing plazas and retail on the second story. Sign area in commercial/mixed-use zoning districts is allocated to properties based on the amount of linear building frontage, allowing 1 sq. ft. of sign area for each foot of linear building frontage (plus additional sign area for tenants with less than 60 feet of frontage), measured as a straight line from one corner of the building to the next corner, not accounting for offsets, such as plazas. This amendment revised the formula for calculating allowed sign area in commercial/mixed-use districts to account for configuration of retail on the property, specifically when retail is fronting planned parks and plazas that are open to the public, and/or when retail directly accessible from the street is located on the second story.

ZOA-2017-02: Technical Updates

Adopted October 21, 2017

The Zoning Ordinance was comprehensively amended and updated in four phases in 2011 through 2015 to update the sign regulations, reformat the ordinance, introduce a use classification system and codify administrative practices. Through use of the amended ordinance, errors are discovered periodically that were inadvertently introduced as part of the comprehensive update. This is the seventh of such amendments, to correct technical errors, which are edits and corrections that do not implement any changes to policy. This set of amendments updated incorrect or missing references and copy-paste and typographical errors, inserted regulations from the 1950 ordinance that were inadvertently deleted in the update, updated and clarified inconsistent terminology and made corrections to use tables.

ZOA-2017-03: Courthouse Square Plan Implementation

Adopted October 24, 2017

These amendments to the C-O zoning district added provisions for development projects in a proposed Courthouse Square Special District on the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) allowing for approval of additional building height and density in exchange for furtherance of the Plan’s priority concept recommendations. New provisions included incorporation of a building heights map and reference to building step-backs in the Courthouse Square Plan to facilitate the vision of the Courthouse Square Plan adopted by the County Board on September 21, 2015. The amendments were considered by the Planning Commission and County Board concurrently with amendments to the General Land Use Plan and Master Transportation Plan.

ZOA-2017-04 Outdoor Cafes on Private Property

Adopted November 18, 2017

As an accessory use to a restaurant, outdoor cafés are allowed by-right if they are located on private property and comply with Zoning Ordinance standards for design and operation. Prior to this amendment, only restaurants in site plan-regulated buildings/projects had the flexibility to request that the County Board modify a private property outdoor café standard. This amendment expanded County Board authority to modify private property outdoor café standards by use permit, also possible by site plan, creating new flexibility for restaurants that are not in site plan-regulated buildings/projects. While the Zoning Ordinance previously enabled the County Board to modify any private property outdoor café standard by site plan, the amendment clarified that only those standards related to seating capacity and operating hours for piped-in music and entertainment may be modified by use permit or by site plan. The amendment also restructured the private property outdoor café standards for clarity.

ZOA-2017-05 Accessory Dwelling Revisions

Adopted November 27, 2017

An accessory dwelling is a second dwelling with kitchen, bathroom and separate entrance on a single family lot. The Affordable Housing Master Plan identified accessory dwellings as an existing tool to help meet the goals of having an adequate supply of housing to meet community needs and support older adults aging in place. It recommended review of the regulations, originally adopted in 2009, to encourage greater use. This amendment revised the accessory dwelling regulations as follows:

  • To allow detached accessory buildings to be used to create accessory dwellings, only where the building existed prior to November 27, 2017, and where only interior alterations may be conducted to convert to an accessory dwelling. It added other restrictions related to height and footprint.
  • To allow accessory dwellings up to a maximum size of either 750 sq. ft. or 35% of the combined area of the main and accessory dwelling, whichever is smaller, except with no limitation on the size of accessory dwellings wholly within a basement
  • To remove limitations on location of the door to an accessory dwelling and to restrict exterior stairs to a second-story accessory dwelling to frontages not facing a street
  • To continue to require a deed covenant be filed on the land records and that the owner sign an affidavit of compliance
  • To continue to require owner-occupancy, but allowing the property to be occupied by no more than one family if the owner does not occupy the property as his/her primary residence
  • To remove the annual limit on total number of accessory dwellings that may be approved per year
  • Minor revisions to parking requirements, use of home occupations and accessory homestay in accessory dwelling, with an increase in the maximum size of a family/caregiver suite
ZOA-2017-06 Establishment of a Housing Conservation District

Adopted December 16, 2017

In April 2017, the Arlington County Board directed staff to develop a “Housing Conservation District” to encourage the retention of affordability in areas designated to include market-rate affordable housing. The proposed Housing Conservation District advanced the County’s policies to encourage the construction and preservation of affordable rental housing and to make every reasonable effort to prevent the loss of market-rate affordable rental housing.

ZOA-2017-07 Historic District Designation Standards

Adopted December 19, 2017

Arlington County’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board and Historic Preservation Program staff have documented and proposed properties for local historic district designation by the County Board since 1976. Local historic district designation requests have been considered by the County Board based on HALRB recommendations, neighborhood requests, individual requests and on the Board’s own motion. At the request of the County Board, the HPP staff, in collaboration with Zoning and other CPHD staff, developed a number of amendments to the local historic designation requirements called out in § 11.3 of the Zoning Ordinance. The Historic Preservation Overlay District Ordinance (Section 11.3 of the Zoning Ordinance) previously allowed a designation request to be filed by any person for any number of properties. Previously, no background materials or forms were required to be filed; all requests were accepted by the HPP office. The changes to the ordinance were intended to create a uniform and predictable process for historic preservation overlay district requests. The amendment defined who may apply for multi-property and single-property designations, changed the time frame required to inform a property owner of an historic preservation overlay district study request, and tied the notification to the acceptance of a completed application.

2016

ZOA-2016-12: Height, Setbacks and Parking for Schools in S-3A Districts

Adopted December 10, 2016

This amendment gave the County Board authority to modify Zoning Ordinance provisions for height, setbacks and parking for elementary, middle, and high schools within the S-3A zoning district through the special exception use permit process.  This study was prompted by several Arlington Public Schools (APS) proposals reviewed by the Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) for the Wilson, Stratford and Thomas Jefferson schools, whereby proposed concepts did not comply with the Zoning Ordinance with respect to height and setbacks.  One purpose of the study was to add flexibility to the Ordinance, applicable to school sites throughout the County, which vary in size, location, adjacent land uses and proximity to public transportation. The amendments include four findings related to modifying height and setbacks, and revised findings the County Board is required to make in order to modify parking requirements.

ZOA-2016-11: Accessory Homestay

Adopted December 10, 2016

Legislation considered by the 2016 Virginia General Assembly has brought attention to consideration of how online short-term residential rental services are regulated. Short-term residential rental has become increasingly common in Arlington and nationwide over the past several years, and can be described as online services whereby an individual can rent out his/her home, or portion thereof, on a short-term basis to guests who pay a fee, for lodging purposes. In consideration of the advent of new technology, the rise of the sharing economy, known short-term rental activity in Arlington County, and the recent actions by the Virginia General Assembly, the County Board, adopted a Zoning Ordinance amendment to define and create standards for this type of use. The amendment defined a new home occupation use called “accessory homestay,” allowing it as accessory to a residential dwelling. Standards for accessory homestay were designed to allow an occupant to rent out his/her dwelling on a short-term basis, with limitations that protect the character of neighborhoods where this type of use occurs, ensure that basic health and safety measures are in place, and regulate and limit the use in a manner consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

ZOA-2016-10: Rosslyn Sector Plan Implementation

Adopted October 15, 2016

These amendments to the C-O Rosslyn zoning district revised the provisions for additional building height and density, removed the landscaped open space requirement and retail and streetscape provisions, and made other changes for consistency, and to facilitate the vision of the Rosslyn Sector Plan adopted by the County Board on July 23, 2015. The amendments were made concurrently with amendments to the General Land Use Plan and Master Transportation Plan.

ZOA-2016-09: Regional Shopping Center Signs

Adopted November 5, 2016

These amendments provided enhanced sign regulations for the County’s regional shopping centers based on their unique characteristics.  The impetus for the amendments was identified in the Arlington County Retail Plan (ACRP), which was adopted by the County Board in July 2015, and recommended amending the Zoning Ordinance, as warranted, to allow for creativity and flexibility in order to facilitate opportunities to reposition and redevelop Arlington’s aging regional shopping centers. The County’s regional shopping centers include Ballston Quarter and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.  The amendments introduced sign regulations for regional shopping centers, addressing sign type, area, size and placement, including the following:

  • Increase in sign area and methodology for calculation of sign area;
  • Expansion of sign types to include freestanding signs and temporary projected image signs;
  • Small changes in sign placement; and
  • Allowance for certain sign characteristics generally prohibited by Ordinance.
ZOA-2016-08, FBC-23, and N-FBC-7: Columbia Pike Form Based Code Administration Regulations

Adopted October 15, 2016

These amendments revised the Administration regulations in  §11.1, in the Commercial Centers FBC (Appendix A), and the Neighborhoods FBC (Appendix B), in order to incorporate several minor policy changes and also to provide a similar organization and format for Administration regulations between the commercial centers FBC and the Neighborhoods FBC.   Additionally, the Purpose statement in §11.1 was revised to be identical to the purpose stated in the FBC, Section I (consistent with the structure used in §11.2 and the Neighborhoods FBC), and §11.1.8 Administration regulations was replaced with a reference to FBC Section II, Administration, in order to reduce duplication within and add clarity to the Zoning Ordinance.  Additional minor policy changes to the Commercial Centers FBC and Neighborhoods FBC included updates to submission requirements and review processes, established a term limit for by-right development, and incorporated criteria and processes for major/minor amendments and administrative changes.  An applicability statement was added to and the purpose statement revised in the Commercial Centers FBC to clarify intent. Within the Neighborhoods FBC, partial infill development was specifically listed as a type of development that requires use permit approval.  These amendments also updated references to the County’s Traffic and Street Lighting Specifications in each Code, and revised alley regulations in the Neighborhoods FBC to allow locations to be adjusted through the development review process.

ZOA-2016-07: Comprehensive Sign Plans Adopted Prior to July 24, 2012

Adopted October 15, 2016

This amendment introduced additional flexibility for properties subject to comprehensive sign plans that were adopted by the County Board prior to the update of the sign regulations on July 24, 2012, and which may include legally nonconforming signs.  The amendments allow the Zoning Administrator to approve administrative changes to comprehensive sign plans that include nonconforming signs approved prior to July 24, 2012 to 1) add additional signs, so long as the aggregate sign area does not exceed that allowed by the current regulations; and/or 2) substitute a new sign(s) allowed by the current provisions for an approved nonconforming sign(s) on a square foot for square foot basis.

 ZOA-2016-06: Sign Amendments Related to Recent Case Law

Adopted June 18, 2016

On June 18, 2015, the United States Supreme Court (Court) ruled in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona (Reed), that a municipality’s sign regulations restricting non-profit directional signs more stringently than signs with other noncommercial messages (specifically, political signs), were content-based regulations of speech.  In making this ruling, the Court adopted a standard which fundamentally changed how the Fourth Circuit court determines whether the text of a sign ordinance is content-based.  While the 4th Circuit previously looked at the government’s intent to make this determination, now the standard is based purely on whether the government is differentiating between types of noncommercial signs. In light of this decision, amendments to the Zoning Ordinance were adopted to remove content-based regulations not consistent with this decision. Also included in this set of a amendments, are revisions to the banner system provisions that allow certain noncommercial signs systems in the public right-of-way under the County Manager’s authority, to allow a broader range of sign types under this provision. Finally, as part of the comprehensive review of the sign regulations, these amendments included organizational updates, clarifying edits and resolution of conflicts.

ZOA-16-05: Car Rental

Adopted June 18, 2016

This amendment added “vehicle sales, rental, or leasing facilities” as an allowed use, subject to use permit approval within the RA4.8, R-C, RA-H-3.2, MU-VS, C-R and C-TH districts. This amendment also added new use standards for these additional districts, that encourage an “urban model” by which vehicles are parked within a structured or underground garage and the rental retail facility occupies space approved for retail uses. This amendment allows for car rental facilities throughout the County’s major planning corridors, providing additional transportation options for intercity travelers and short-term use of a vehicle for those who forego car ownership. New use standards for these zoning districts include restricting use to rental facilities and vehicle showrooms only (car dealerships are not allowed); restricting deliveries of multiple vehicles from trucks; and prohibiting on-site vehicle maintenance, except, washing and vacuuming.

ZOA-16-04: Open-Air Markets

Adopted May 14, 2016

This amendment added “open-air markets” as an allowed use, subject to use permit approval within residential (R), multi-family (RA), and certain mixed-use/commercial (C) districts (RA4.8, R-C, RA-H, and RA-H-3.2). This amendment also revised use standards for open-air markets to address these additional districts and to mitigate potential issues related to traffic generation, parking availability, and other possible impacts to abutting properties and the surrounding neighborhood, including:

  • Restricting open-air markets to sites occupied by public, civic, or institutional uses (this category includes uses such as recreation centers, religious institutions, colleges, government facilities, parks and open space, schools, etc.). These sites are generally larger, and have sufficient public access and parking availability.
  • Restricting open-air markets to sites that have frontage on streets designated as principal arterial, minor arterial, or local principal street as designated in the Arlington County Master Transportation Plan in order to ensure sufficient vehicular access and mitigation of potential traffic circulation issues; and
  • Amending the buffer requirement to such that no open-air market may  be located within 100 feet of an abutting R district property (a modification can be approved by the County Board if it is demonstrated that there will not be an adverse impact on the surrounding community).
ZOA-16-03: Technical Updates

Adopted April 16, 2016

This amendment corrects a number of errors introduced through the final phase of the Zoning Ordinance update adopted on February 21, 2015, and through other recent and past amendments.  These amendments were technical only, and did not make any changes to policy.  The amendments updated incorrect references, copy-paste and typographical errors, deleted duplicate regulations, updated inconsistent terminology, corrected allowed uses consistent with the 1950 Ordinance, and included two revisions to the sign map (13-1) for consistency with the underlying zoning.  Staff report.

ZOA-16-02: Historic Preservation Overlay District and CoA Amendments

Adopted March 15, 2016

This amendment, in preparation for the pending local historic district designation of the Stratford School, created a process whereby Certificates of Appropriateness (CoAs) for all Arlington Public Schools(APS)-owned or ground-leased properties designated as local historic districts after January 1,2016, are reviewed solely by the County Board. The process for all other local historic districts has the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) as the body charged with sole authority to approve or deny CoA applications, except in the case of an appeal.  This amendment changed the process for APS-owned and ground-leased properties only, so under the new process, while the HALRB provides comments on proposed CoA applications for APS properties (designated after January 1, 2016), it is the County Board (after a public hearing) that reviews and approves, denies, or approves with conditions, the CoA application.

ZOA-16-01: Western Rosslyn Area Plan Implementation

Adopted February 20, 2016

The Western Rosslyn Area Plan, adopted in July 2015, identified several short-term action steps to be implemented by staff in order to achieve the Plan’s vision, including Zoning Ordinance amendments. In order to facilitate redevelopment of properties within the Western Rosslyn Coordinated Redevelopment District, consistent with the Western Rosslyn Area Plan, amendments to the Zoning Ordinance: 1) Added a provision to the S-3A district to give the County Board authority to approve a school with height up to 175 feet within the Western Rosslyn Coordinated Redevelopment District; 2) Amended the RA4.8 district to add provisions setting parameters for when the County Board may approve additional density, above 3.24 FAR, to achieve the goals of the Area Plan, such as additional affordable housing, for properties located within the WRCRD and designated “High-Medium” Residential on the GLUP; and 3) Amended the C-O district with reference to provisions in §9, to allow height and density, above that permitted in C-O, for properties located within the WRCRD and designated “High” Office-Apartment-Hotel on the GLUP. Associated amendments to the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) and Master Transportation Plan (MTP) were also adopted as part of this action.

2015

ZOA-15-04: Clarendon Revitalization District Maximum Height Limit and Block Structure

Adopted October 20, 2015

This amendment made revisions to the eight Clarendon Revitalization District maps (Maps 1-8, §9.2.5 – §9.2.12) to reflect the block structure and building heights proposed with the Clarendon West site plan, which was concurrently adopted.  These changes allowed the site plan to provide a building and block configuration different from that shown in the concept plan in the Clarendon Sector Plan, but in a manner consistent with the vision, goals and objectives of the Plan.

ZOA-15-03: Technical Updates 

Adopted September 19, 2015

This amendment corrects a number of errors introduced through the final phase of the Zoning Ordinance update adopted on February 21,2015, and through other recent amendments.  These amendments were technical only, and did not make any changes to policy.  The amendments updated incorrect references, copy-paste and typographical errors, deleted duplicate regulations, updated inconsistent terminology, and corrected allowed uses consistent with the 1950 ordinance.

ZOA-15-02: Short-Term Indoor and Outdoor Events and Activities and Other Technical Updates

Adopted April 18, 2015

This amendment is a follow-up to the amendments adopted on February 21, 2015, in three areas. First, this amendment extended the duration of allowed short term indoor and outdoor events and activities, including signs for such uses; allowed for renewal by the Zoning Administrator when a site plan amendment has been filed; and removed a limitation on number of consecutive days for which a short term accessory outdoor café may be approved. Second, this amendment made clarifications, consistent with practice, to dry-cleaning and laundry uses throughout the Ordinance (Articles 3, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 18 and Appendices A and B). Finally, the amendment corrected two errors introduced through the comprehensive reformat of the Ordinance adopted May 18, 2013, including an omission of lot coverage for the R-10T and R15-30T districts and an incorrect minimum lot area per dwelling unit in the RA-H district.

(Note: the short-term use amendments were advertised as part of the action by the County Board on amendment ZOA-15-01.)

ZOA-15-01: Use Classification System, Use Standards and Definitions

Adopted February 26, 2015

The final phase of a comprehensive update to the Zoning Ordinance that previously included updates to the sign regulations, a reformat of the Zoning Ordinance, and codification of selected administrative practices, this series of amendments added a use classification system to the Zoning Ordinance, updated use tables and use standards consistent with that use classification system, added new short term and accessory use standards, and updated definitions.  Also included in this update were amendments to allow by-right interior alterations to nonconforming one- and two-family dwellings, and provisions to allow the County Board to approve off-site parking as part of a use permit approval for day care uses.

2014

FBC-18 and N-FBC-2: Columbia Pike Form Based Code Amendments

Adopted November 15, 2014

Amendments to Articles 11.1, 11.2, and Appendices A and B, to the Commercial Nodes and the Neighborhoods Form Based Codes to address technical corrections; provide parallel regulations with polices or regulations applied elsewhere in the County; provide consistency across both Form Based Codes; and make site-specific adjustments.  Specific amendments modified bicycle parking ratios; added hotel parking ratios, including provisions for hotels with conference facilities; modified clear height dimensions (Commercial Nodes FBC); and made adjustments to the Western Subarea Regulating Plan (Neighborhoods FBC) to change the buildable area based on the limits of a Resource Protection Area identified through recent detailed surveys, and to expand the area eligible for bonus height.

ZOA-14-03: Signs Placed Above 50 feet in Rosslyn Central Place

Adopted July 19, 2014

This amendment to the sign regulations in §13 removed a provision, previously adopted in 2007, that prohibited signs above a height of 50 feet within the Central Place area in Rosslyn. Additionally, this amendment revised Map 13-1, which indicates where signs located above a height of 40 feet may face the Monumental Core or residential neighborhoods zoned R or RA, to modify the location of Line A in relation to the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, and to modify the location of Line A and B with respect to properties associated with recent rezonings. Concurrently, the County Board adopted site plan amendments to the Central Place and 1812 N. Moore St. site plan projects, which were approved in 2007, to remove condition language requiring a site plan amendment to consider signs above a height of 35 feet and prohibiting signs on buildings above a height of 50 feet.  These Zoning Ordinance and site plan amendments allowed buildings within the Central Place area to be subject to the same sign regulations as other buildings in the County.

ZOA-14-02: Administrative Practices and Other Updates

Adopted June 14, 2014

The third part of a comprehensive update to the Zoning Ordinance that previously included updates to the sign regulations, and a reformat of the Zoning Ordinance, this series of amendments included codification of administrative practices and Zoning Administrator determinations related to lot coverage, placement of accessory buildings; measurement of height of buildings that include dormers; placement of mechanical and other equipment; encroachments allowed for porches, stoops, steps, stairs, eaves and bay and oriel windows.  Additionally, this amendment included minor updates on a range of topics, including authorization for the Zoning Administrator to refund certain zoning fees upon withdrawal of applications; addition of religious institutions and home day care uses to certain zoning districts; updates to nonconforming use provisions for consistency with Virginia Code; and other updates for clarity, consistency and to reflect current practices.

ZOA-14-01: Technical Updates

Adopted February 22, 2014

A reformatted Zoning Ordinance was adopted by the County Board on May 18, 2013, and became effective on July 1, 2013. On October 19, 2013, the County Board adopted an amendment to correct some technical errors introduced through the reformat. This amendment was the second Zoning Ordinance amendment to correct an additional small set of errors introduced through the reformat and through other recent amendments. These corrections were technical in nature and did not implement any changes to policy or practice.

2013

ZOA-13-07: Large Media Screens

Adopted December 17, 2013

The County Board adopted a comprehensive revision to the sign regulations in the Zoning Ordinance on July 18, 2012.  The adopted sign regulations provide limited allowances for changeable copy signs in specific locations, allowing up to a maximum of 12 sf for signs where copy changes no more than once per 24 hours, and up to 4 sf for signs where copy changes no more than once per minute.  During discussions leading up to adoption of the revised sign regulations, interest was expressed in continuing to allow signs like the media screen currently installed in Rosslyn to display the WJLA news and ticker at 1100 Wilson Boulevard.  While zoning language was advertised along with revisions to the sign regulations, to allow such signs, it was not adopted in order to provide additional time to study the issue.  On December 17, 2013, the County Board adopted a Zoning Ordinance amendment to define large media signs, and to allow them subject to special exception approval by the County Board, in commercial/mixed-use zoning districts within ¼ mile of transit stations, and within P-S zoning districts.  Proposed large media screens will also have to meet a range of standards related to size, placement, context, luminance, and traffic safety, among other standards.

ZOA-13-06: Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Form Based Code

Adopted November 16, 2013

One of the efforts of the Neighborhoods Area Plan implementation focused on Planning and Zoning tools including the preparation of a new Form Based Code.  Throughout 2013, staff reviewed draft materials primarily with the Form Based Code Advisory Working Group (FBC AWG) which included members from civic associations, Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO), several advisory commissions and developers, as well as with the Zoning Committee of the Planning Commission (ZOCO).  The resulting Neighborhoods Form Based Code was adopted by the County Board on November 16, 2013.  The first amendment to the Neighborhoods FBC was also adopted on December 14, 2013, completing updates to the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Policy and Zoning Language in the Code.

ZOA-13-05: Technical Updates

Adopted October 19, 2013

A reformatted Zoning Ordinance was adopted by the County Board on May 18, 2013, and became effective on July 1, 2013.  Through use of the Ordinance, some errors were identified. The County Board adopted an amendment to correct these errors on October 19, 2013. These corrections were technical in nature and did not implement any changes to current policy or practice.

ZOA-13-04: Outdoor Cafes on Private Property

Adopted May 18, 2013

Outdoor cafes have greatly increased in number in Arlington in the last decade or two.  The Zoning rules for outdoor cafes in the Zoning Ordinance were previously limited, and did not include a definition of “outdoor café”.  As a result, a number of administrative practices  had developed over the years, but had not been formalized until recently.  This had caused confusion among business owners and citizens.  This amendment to the outdoor café provisions in the zoning ordinance codified these longstanding administrative practices into regulation, including a new definition for outdoor cafes.   This amendment addressed outdoor cafes on private property only, it did not amend regulations for outdoor cafes on public sidewalks, which are regulated by use permit.

ZOA-13-03: Zoning Ordinance Reformat

Adopted May 18, 2013

This amendment is a comprehensive reformat of the Zoning Ordinance, with an effective date of July 1, 2013.  The new Ordinance is reorganized and reformatted, but does not incorporate any changes to policy. The purpose of the amendment was to clarify, update and improve the usability of the ordinance to improve comprehension, administration and compliance. Features of the revised format include (staff report):

  • Reorganization to remove the “pyramid” structure of the Zoning Ordinance and to create individual use lists for each zoning district
  • Reformatting to include an updated look and to standardize presentation of regulations
  • Inclusion of graphics and tables to clarify and summarize key regulations
  • Incorporation of live links to improve ease of navigation of the ordinance

  

  

 

 

Amendments to the 1950 Ordinance 

2013

ZOA-13-03: Zoning Ordinance Reformat

Adopted May 18, 2013

This amendment is a comprehensive reformat of the Zoning Ordinance, with an effective date of July 1, 2013.  The new Ordinance is reorganized and reformatted, but does not incorporate any changes to policy. The purpose of the amendment was to clarify, update and improve the usability of the Ordinance to improve comprehension, administration and compliance. Features of the revised format include (staff report):

  • Reorganization to remove the “pyramid” structure of the Zoning Ordinance and to create individual use lists for each zoning district
  • Reformatting to include an updated look and to standardize presentation of regulations
  • Inclusion of graphics and tables to clarify and summarize key regulations
  • Incorporation of live links to improve ease of navigation of the ordinance
ZOA-13-02: R-C Purpose Statement

Adopted February 23, 2013

The purpose of this amendment was to address an issue with the purpose paragraph language for  the “R-C” zoning district that presented an inconsistency between the County’s overall planning framework and the zoning tools best suited to implement that framework. As written, the purpose paragraph could have presented issues for future rezoning to “R-C” of property outside a one-quarter mile radius from a Metrorail station entrance.  The properties facing such an issue are those designated “High-Medium Residential Mixed-Use” and generally located in West Ballston, including several sites located in the North Quincy Street Plan Addendum area that are currently or recommended for such designation.  The County Board’s intent for the use of “R-C” zoning was not to be so limiting, as evidenced by earlier rezoning for property in the County that did not meet this strict standard of one-quarter mile radius from Metrorail station entrances.  Therefore, this amendment clarifies the original intent of the zoning district consistent with previous County Board actions to facilitate the potential future rezoning and development consistent with the established planning goals of the County. Specifically, this amendment permits the rezoning to “R-C” of any property currently designated “High-Medium Residential Mixed-Use” on the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) or expressly identified to be replanned or rezoned to the aforementioned GLUP or zoning categories in adopted County plans.  In addition, the amendment limits the application of “R-C” zoning to properties located within Metro Station Areas as identified on the GLUP and within one-half mile radius from Metrorail station entrances.

ZOA 13-01: Parking Requirements for Elementary and Middle Schools and Recreational Uses

Adopted February 23, 2013

Through the conceptual planning processes for several public facilities identified as part of the 2013-22 Capital Improvements Program (CIP), including an aquatics facility at Long Bridge Park, a new elementary school at the Williamsburg campus and an expansion to Ashlawn Elementary School, it was identified that the number of parking spaces required per the Zoning Ordinance would present unique challenges for site design and that parking requirements in the Zoning Ordinance may need updating for consistency with County policy.  The County Manager subsequently directed staff to review current Zoning Ordinance parking requirements for elementary and middle schools, and for the planned aquatic center.  The study resulted in amendments to the Zoning Ordinance that revised parking requirements for elementary and middle schools, as well as gave the County Board the authority to modify parking requirements through the use permit process, for schools and recreational uses.

2012

Sign Regulations Update.  Adopted July 24, 2012.  ZOA-12-01.  The sign regulations in the Zoning Ordinance (Sections 20, 20-Appendix A, 31A, 34 and 37) were reorganized, reformatted and amended.  Changes include refinement of current regulations to incorporate additional flexibility, facilitate creativity and innovation.  This amendment allowed administrative approvals for most signs; codified consistent administrative practices not previously reflected in the Ordinance; and incorporated new standards and technologies.  This revisions was the first part of a two-phased updated to the Zoning Ordinance articulated in a December 2010 work plan accepted by the County Board.  Goals of this revision included improving comprehension of the Ordinance, enhancing ease administration and compliance, incorporating best-practices and Arlington-specific practices, and reducing the frequency with with sign approvals require County Board attention.  This comprehensive revision to the sign regulations originated with the County Board chairman’s  Small Business Initiative, through which discussions identified a number of concerns related to sign allowances and the ease of obtaining sign permits for small businesses. Staff report.

2011

Sidewalk, Umbrella, Parking Signs  – Adopted December 10, 2011. (ZOA-11-04).  An amendment to Section 34, that allows for the first time, signs on umbrellas (up to 4 sf per umbrella) and temporary sidewalk signs (A-frame or sandwich board signs) with a maximum height of 3.5 feet and sign area of 7 sf on each side.  Adopted standards for sidewalk signs require that a minimum clear walkway width of six feet exist on the sidewalk on which the sign is placed, and allow the sign to be placed within the landscape and utility zone (the area between the curb and the landscaping area), or within the area immediately adjacent to the building.  Placement of the sign must maintain any required clear walkway.  This amendment also allows parking signs consistent with Arlington way finding standards on parking garages that provide public parking during defined hours.  Staff Report.  Supplemental Report.

New C-O Crystal City Zoning District – Adopted December 10, 2011.  (ZOA-11-03).  Amendments to create a new zoning district and update several other districts to support the implementation of the Crystal City Sector Plan. “C-O Crystal City” was newly adopted as Section 25C. of the ordinance, to codify permitted uses, use limitations, special exceptions, and other regulations governing land use for properties within the “Crystal City Coordinated Redevelopment District” depicted on the General Land Use Plan in a manner consistent with the Sector Plan vision. Also includes amendments to: Section 1 to add new terms included in “C-O Crystal City”; Section 2.B to add “C-O Crystal City”, “C-O Rosslyn”, “Columbia Pike Form Based Code”, and “Mixed-Use Virginia Square” to the list of districts in the County; and Sections 25B.E.1 and 36.H.7 to clarify that the provisions of 36.H.7 shall not apply to the “C-O Crystal City” or “C-O Rosslyn” districts. Staff Report.

Large Format Sales Establishment – Adopted October 15, 2011.  (ZOA-11-02).  This amendment  defines the term “Large Format Sales Establishment” as a use for which the primary activity is the sale of any combination of food, merchandise and/or personal and business services, and for which a single certificate of occupancy is provided; and requires special exception use permit approval by the County Board for “Large Format Sales Establishments” that have either a gross floor area of 50,000 sf or more on any level or that propose to provide 200 or more parking spaces.  County-wide, commercial uses classified as “large format sales establishments” within “C-1” zoning districts, and by reference, within “C-3″,”MU-VS”, “C-O-A”, “C-M”, “M-1” and “M-2” zoning districts, are subject to this provision. Staff Report.

Regulating Farmers Markets as Open-Air Markets – Adopted June 11, 2011.  (ZOA-11-01).  Historically, farmers’ markets were regulated as vegetable and fruit stands, but due to the extent and range of products currently sold at the County’s farmers’ markets, all are more appropriately classified as open-air markets, which incorporate regularly occurring outdoor markets selling goods to the public.  This Zoning Ordinance amendment facilitates regulation of farmers markets as open-air markets, consistent with regulation of other outdoor markets selling goods to the public.  The amendment permits open-air markets are subject to use permit approval, in all commercial, industrial, public, and special districts.  Staff Report.

FBC New Local North-South Street – Adopted April 16, 2011.  (FBC-13).  This amendment amended the Master Transportation Plan Map to add a new street segment between 11th Street South and 12th Street South.  Additionally, the Columbia Pike Form Based Code Town Center Regulating Plan was amended to incorporate this new north/south street with a “Local” designation and associated Required Building Lines.  The new street will facilitate improved site circulation to and from the redevelopment planned for this block, allow for an urban arrangement of townhouse buildings and open spaces, and will promote good urban design principles envisioned in the Form Based Code. Staff Report.

FBC 32′ Height Limit – Adopted April 16, 2011.  (FBC-12).  The FBC establishes Building Envelope Standards for all building sites within the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District. The Building Envelope Standards set the basic parameters governing building construction, including height, depth, and placement of buildings, as well as other required elements, such as balconies, stoops and street walls. Within each Building Envelope Standard, height is generally limited to 32 feet where any part of the site is within 40 feet of a Building Envelope Standard lower in the hierarchy, or an existing single-family house. This amendment modified the 32-foot height limit to allow additional height in such areas between Form Based Code developments of different frontage types, and reduced the height where new development is within 40 feet of an existing single-family house, in order to ensure an appropriate transition up in height from single-family houses; to establish transitions between different FBC frontage types that balance urban design goals established in the FBC with the goal of providing increased light and air; and to avoid unintended design impacts resulting from  modification of architectural elements. Staff Report.

Criminal Penalties
 – Adopted January 22, 2011.  (ZOA-10-03).  Amendment to Section 37.F, Violations and Penalties, Criminal Penalties, to make it unlawful for a firm, corporation, owner, agent or occupant to violate Section 37.G. of the Zoning Ordinance (any violations treated as criminal penalties), and it clarify that the party responsible for causing or, with knowledge, permitting the three specific types of criminal violations as set forth in Section 37.G. can be cited and held liable for that violation.  Staff Report.

2010

Height in Residential Districts– Adopted June 12, 2010.  (ZOA-10-02).  Amendment to Section 5. “R-20” One-Family Dwelling Districts to allow height up to 55 feet on sites of 100 acres or greater, subject to special exception use permit approval. Staff Report.

FBC Stoop, Stacked Flats, Finished Floor Elevation, Clear Heights – Adopted May 25, 2010.  Amendments to the Columbia Pike Form Based Code Building Envelope Standards and Definitions.  These amendments were studied in response to concerns about the requirement that all Local non-live/work units be elevated 36 to 60 inches above grade and concerns regarding the proliferation of stoops related to the construction of stacked flats.  The amendments provide greater clarity as to what is permitted in Local site development, to better regulate the design and impacts of such development and to remove a barrier to accessibility on Local sites unique to the Form Based Code, as follows: Permit construction of  non-live/work Local street buildings either zero (0) to five (5) inches above grade, in order to provide accessible entry, or at 36 to 60 inches above grade; clarify that stacked flat development is permitted on Local sites, while multifamily development is not;  allow no more than one stoop or porch per Local street building, plus an additional entry for English basements; and allow no more than two entries per stoop or porch; eliminate the parking waiver for Local sites under 20,000 square feet in land area when more than two units per local street building are provided. Staff Report.

FBC Corners – Adopted May 25, 2010..  The FBC establishes a Building Envelope Standard for all building sites within the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District.  The BES set the basic parameters governing building construction, including height, depth and placement of buildings, as well as other required elements, such as balconies, stoops and street walls.  There are four different BES used throughout the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District, specifically designated on the Regulating Plan, each of which establish different parameters.  In some cases a single development site may require development under more than one BES.  In such cases, where the BES changes along a site, the FBC permits one Building Envelope Standard to be extended up to 50 feet in either direction.  This amendment clarifies that a BES may also be extended where two BES meet at a corner. Staff Report.

Section 31A Historic Preservation Districts Appeals Standard – Adopted May 22, 2010. (ZOA-09-10A).  Amendments to Section 31A. Historic Preservation Districts.  December 12, 2009, the County Board adopted a comprehensive rewrite of Section 31A. Historic Preservation Districts (see ZOA-09-10 below). However, at that time, the County Board deferred consideration of the provisions for County Board review of appeals of Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) decisions.  This amendment is the result of additional review of the appeals standard within the Historic Preservation Districts Section, by the HALRB, the Planning Commission and the County Board.  The amendments alter the responsibilities of the HALRB regarding Historic District Design Guidelines, amend the Historic District Designation Process for Historic District Design Guidelines, and alter the adoption process for Historic District Design Guidelines. Staff Report.

Vehicle Service Uses – Adopted April 27, 2010.  (ZOA-10-01/FBC-9).  Amendments to Sections 1, 16, 18, 19, 20 (and its Appendix A), 21, 25A, 26, 28, 32A, 33 and 34 to: 1) delete “automobile service station,” “public garage” and “tire shop” and replace with a new term, and single definition for “vehicle service establishment,” which includes vehicle fueling sales, accessory retail sales and vehicle service and repair uses; 2) permit vehicle service and repair as provided for in the “vehicle service establishment” definition, by use permit approval,“C-1” Local Commercial Districts, “CP-FBC” Columbia Pike Form Based Code Districts and “C-O-A” Commercial Office Building, Hotel and Apartment Districts; 3) create a new definition for and update references to “vehicle body shop” as a use that includes both repair uses and vehicle body work, painting and upholstering; and 4) update usage of automobile-related terms throughout the Zoning Ordinance.  Staff Report.  Supplemental Report.

FBC Streetscapes – Adopted January 23, 2010.   (ZOA-09-11/FBC-8).  Amendments Form Based Code Section II. Definitions, Section III. Regulating Plans, Section V. Streetscape Standards and Section VI. Architectural Standards.  As final landscape plans for approved projects under the Columbia Pike Form Based Code (FBC) and preliminary FBC proposals have been  reviewed, staff reexamined the FBC regulations for quantity and placement of benches, bike racks, and other streetscape elements.  These amendments modified the street tree alignment line; reduced the quantity of required bicycle parking spaces, equivalent to that required for site plan projects; reduced the required quantity of benches, and modified placement of benches; and added and removed specific species from the Street Tree List. Staff Report.

2009

Rewrite of Section 31A Historic Preservation Districts – Adopted December 12, 2009.  (ZOA-09-10).  Amendments to Section 1. Definitions, Section 2. General Regulations and Section 31A. Historic Preservation Districts.  This comprehensive rewrite of Section 31A was recommended in the Historic Preservation Master Plan, adopted in December, 2006.  The changes include both legal and policy changes, in response to the growing scope of the HALRB, and reflects the language in Virginia’s enabling legislation.  Section 31A was previously substantially updated in 1983, and thus the ordinance was out of sync with current County policies and practices dealing with historic preservation review, and with certain elements of Virginia enabling legislation. Staff ReportSupplemental Report.

Nonconforming Apartments in “RA” Districts – Adopted October 24, 2009.  (ZOA-09-08).  Amendments to Sections 12, 13, 14 and 15 (Apartment Dwelling Districts) to permit the County Board, when a building is nonconforming, to modify regulations by use permit approval, subject to provision of affordable housing.  Density may not be increased beyond that already lawfully existing on the site and height may not be modified. Staff Report.

Child Care Centers  – Adopted July 14, 2009.  (ZOA 09-07).  Amendment to Section 3. “S-3A” Special Districts to allow child care centers and other uses licensed under Chapter 52 of the County Code, subject to Use Permit approval. Staff Report.

Use Permits for Businesses providing classes to children – Adopted July 11, 2009.  (ZOA 09-06).  Amendments to Sections 20, 26, 26A and 27A to require, in commercial zoning districts, that businesses providing classes to children be subject to use permits if 20% of the total enrollment is children under the age of 18, or if there are ten or more children enrolled in classes at any one time. Staff Report.

Zoning Fees, FY 2010 – Adopted April 28, 2009 (effective July 1, 2009). (ZOA 09-03).  Amendments to Sections 1. Definitions,  34. Nameplates, Signs and Other Displays, or Devices to Direct, Identify and Inform and 36. Administration and Procedures.  This amendment removed the zoning fee schedule from the Zoning Ordinance and replaced it with a reference in subsection 36.M. to indicate that fees will be charged according to a schedule adopted by the County Board.  Future Zoning fee changes will continue to require adoption by ordinance, and it is expected that changes to such schedule will continue to be heard annually as part of the budget cycle. Staff Report.

FBC Signage – Adopted April 25, 2009. (ZOA 09-05).  Amendments to Section 20 and Section 20 (Appendix A) “CP-FBC,” Columbia Pike – Form Based Code Districts, Section IV.F. Signage, to 1) establish maximums of 3 wall or window signs per tenant, 1 building plaque per building, 1 blade sign per tenant, 1 graphics sign and 1 additional wall or window sign and 1 additional blade sign for corner tenants; 2) to modify the size, dimension, placement and lettering size regulations for signs in the Form Based Code; 3) to clarify the relationship between the Form Based Code and Section 34, and 4) to allow the County Board to modify signage requirements in the Form Based Code by Special Exception. Staff Report

Clarendon Sector Plan Implementation – Adopted April 25, 2009. (ZOA 09-04).  Amendments to Sections 1, 19, 26, 26A, 27, 31 and 36 to create a new zoning tool for the edge areas of Clarendon: a Special Exception, Unified Commercial/Mixed-Use Development (UC/MUD) option applicable to areas zoned “C-1”, “C-2”, “C-3” or “C-TH” that are planned for “Service Commercial” uses on the General Land Use Plan and within the “Clarendon Revitalization District”, in order to ensure consistency with the goals and policies set forth in the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan.

Civil Penalties – Adopted February 21, 2009.  (ZOA 09-02).  Amendment to Section 37. Violations and Penalties, and Section 31A, to expand use of Civil Penalties in the Zoning Ordinance.  This amendment decriminalizes the entire Zoning Ordinance, except for those violations that are required by State code to be criminal penalties.  All fines and appeal times were updated based upon maximums allowed by Virginia  Code.  Staff Report.

Acquisition of Property and Nonconforming Use – Adopted January 27, 2009.  (ZOA 09-01).  Amendment to Section 2. General Provisions and Section 35. Nonconforming Buildings and Uses to allow for the creation of nonconforming conditions due to acquisition of property by the county for a public purpose subject to conditions as the County Board may approve, so long as the County Board finds that the acquisition is in the public interest and that the nonconforming conditions created will not be detrimental to adjacent properties or change the character of the zoning district.  Nonconforming conditions created under this provision are subject to the nonconforming building and use regulations in the Section 35 of the Zoning Ordinance.  Staff Report.

2008

Board of Zoning Appeals Use Permits (Section 36.E) – Adopted November 15, 2008..  Amendment adopted on December 9, 2006, authorized the Board of Zoning Appeals to grant special exception use permits that modify requirements contained in the Zoning Ordinance with respect to physical requirements of improvements on a lot or parcel of land, including setback and other placement requirements, coverage, and height.  This amendment was scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2008.  This amendment readopted this code with no expiration date. Staff Report.

Fort Myer Heights North – October 22, 2008..  Amendment to Section 13. “RA8-18” Apartment Dwelling Districts and Section 15. “RA6-15” Apartment Dwelling Districts to implement the vision in the adopted 2008 Fort Myer Heights North Plan.  The adopted amendment adds new items to the list of special exceptions in order to achieve the community’s goals of preserving affordable housing, historic buildings, open space, significant trees and neighborhood scale through a strategic balance of preservation and redevelopment within the Fort Myer Heights North Special District. Staff Report. Supplemental Report.

Kiosks – Adopted July 19, 2008.  Amendments to Sections 1, 3, 18A, 19, 22 and 31 to define the term kiosk and to allow for the operation of kiosks within public and private plaza areas greater than 5,000 square feet, with a special exception use permit in certain commercial zoning districts and within the “S-3A” zoning district.

Accessory Dwellings and Family/Caregiver Suites – Adopted July 19, 2008..  Amendments to Section 1. Definitions, Section 5. “R-20” One-Family Dwelling Districts and Section 31. Special Provisions to allow: A) accessory dwellings (a secondary living unit) within single-family homes, under a strict set of guidelines. Up to two persons, who may be unrelated to the homeowners, could be housed in the accessory dwelling. The homeowner must live in the main or accessory dwelling and must have lived there one year before approval of an accessory dwelling. and non-relatives to live in family/caregiver suites in single-family homes.  This ordinance becomes effective on January 1, 2009.  Effective immediately, amendments to the family suite provisions, to allow up to two persons unrelated to the homeowner (one of whom is a caregiver) to live in a family/caregiver suite in a single-family home, to provide care or assistance to a child, elder or person with disability living in the main building. Staff Report.

Signs Identifying Public Parking Garages – Adopted June 17, 2008..  Amendments to Section 34. Nameplates, Signs, and Other Displays or Devices to Direct, Identify, and Inform, Subsection J. Signs Permitted in Specified Areas With Permits. In the Rosslyn Metro Station Area only, allows up to one building sign or projecting sign per garage entrance, to identify public parking garages.

Zoning Fee Increase, FY 2009 – Adopted April 19, 2008..  Amendments to Section 34. Nameplates, Signs and Other Displays, or Devices to Direct, Identify and Inform and Section 36 Administration and Procedures to implement a 3.3% increase in zoning fees to adjust for inflation.

Clarendon Sector Plan Implementation – Adopted April 19, 2008.  Amendment Section 27. “C-3” General Commercial Districts to add Special Exception Site Plan regulations for properties designated “Medium Density Mixed-Use” and within the “Clarendon Revitalization District” on the General Land Use Plan, to ensure consistency with the goals and policies set forth in the 2006 Clarendon Sector Plan.

Publicly owned Civic Buildings – Adopted April 19, 2008. .  Amendments to Section 20 “CP-FBC,” Columbia Pike – Form Based Code Districts (Appendix A) of the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance to move the provisions for publicly owned “Civic Buildings” in Section II.  Definitions, to a new provision, with modifications, in Section III. Regulating Plans, in order to allow publicly owned Civic Buildings, publicly owned Public Art, or Civic Buildings with public uses on County property to have relief from the prescriptions of the Form Based Code. Other Columbia Pike Form Based Code related information.

Ground Floor Retail – Adopted March 15, 2008.  Zoning Ordinance Amendment to Section 16. “RA4.8” Multiple-Family Dwelling Districts to permit street-level commercial uses by site plan approval.

Dinwiddie Street Required Building Lines – Adopted January 26, 2008..  Amendment to Section 20 (Appendix A) “CP-FBC,” Columbia Pike – Form Based Code Districts, Section III. Regulating Plans: to modify the distance between the Dinwiddie Street Required Building Lines from 91’ to a dimension of 80’ south of 9th Street and 65’ north of 9th Street South. Other Columbia Pike Form Based Code related information.

2007

For Sale/For Lease/Construction Signs – Adopted December 18, 2007. .  Amendment to Section 34. Nameplates, Signs, and Other Displays or Devices to Direct, Identify and Inform, Subsection 34 F. Signs Permitted in All Districts, Unless Otherwise Specified, With Permits, to permit up to three (3) construction or rental/leasing signs for buildings in “C”, “M” and “RA” districts subject to a limitation of one hundred twenty (120) square feet on total sign area; to permit for up to six (6) months, lettered window signs in buildings in which retail uses are allowed, subject to limitation at twenty (20) percent of the window area; and to update reference to the source of County statistics required to verify the vacancy rate of office buildings qualifying for advertising availability of space for rental or lease.

Arlington Mill Community Center – Adopted December 15, 2007..  Amendment to Section 20 (Appendix A) “CP-FBC,” Columbia Pike – Form Based Code Districts, Section III. Regulating Plans to: 1) Redraw the Columbia Pike Revitalization District boundary to include Arlington Mill Drive and the northern portion of the County-owned Arlington Mill Community Center property; 2) Designate a portion of the Dinwiddie Street frontage that is 250’ from the centerline of Columbia Pike to the north along the east side of South Dinwiddie Street and within the Revitalization District as an Avenue Site; and 3) modify the distance between the Dinwiddie Street Required Building Lines from 91’ to a dimension of 80’ south of 9th Street and 65’ north of 9th Street. Other Columbia Pike Form Based Code information.

Realignment of RBLs along South Highland Street – Adopted November 13, 2007..  Amendment to Section 20 (Appendix A) “CP-FBC,” Columbia Pike – Form Based Code Districts: to modify Section III (C) – Regulating Plans for properties located in the Town Center to show a revised alignment of the Required Building Lines along South Highland Street, between Columbia Pike and 11th Street South. Other Columbia Pike Form Based Code information.

Section 36. Administration and Procedures — Adopted November 13, 2007..  Zoning Ordinance Amendment to correct and clarify three references within Subsection 36.H.7., which address the County’s provisions for bonus density for site plan projects that provide affordable dwelling units.

Zoning Fee Increase (Creation of Enterprise Fund) — Adopted September 18, 2007..  Amendment to Section 36. Administration and Procedures, to increase application fees for Rezonings, Compliance Letters, Variances, Use Permits, Site Plans, Building Permits and Certificates of Occupancy.

Section 1. Definitions, and Section 32. Bulk, Coverage and Placement Requirements — Adopted June 9, 2007.  The purpose of this amendment is to clarify the definition of street as including any public interest in land, e.g., fee or easement, for street purposes, to clarify that the side line of a road, easement, or other right of way is the street right of way line, and to clarify the distance structures must be set back from street right of way lines.

Section 25B. “C-O Rosslyn” Commercial Office Building, Retail, Hotel, and Multiple-Family Dwelling Districts – Adopted May 5, 2007.  Amendment to 25B “C-O Rosslyn” of the Zoning Ordinance to allow additional height (up to a maximum of four hundred ninety (490) feet above sea level) and include other requirements such as rooftop sign limitations for properties within the boundaries of Central Place, defined as the blocks bordered by 19th Street North, North Lynn Street, Wilson Boulevard, and Fort Myer Drive.

Zoning Fee Increase, FY 2008 – Adopted April 21, 2007..  Amendments to Section 34. Nameplates, Signs, and Other Displays or Devices to Direct, Identify, and Inform, and Section 36. Administration and Procedures to increase zoning application fees for Signs, Rezonings, Compliance Letters, Variances, Use Permits, and Site Plans.

Section 27A. “C-R” Commercial Redevelopment Districts – Adopted February 24, 2007.  Amendment to 27A C-R of the Zoning Ordinance: 1) Confirm through clarifying language the County Board’s discretion in rezoning any property designated on General Land Use Plan and within one quarter mile of Metrorail station as Medium Density Mixed Use to “C-R”; 2) Confirm through clarifying language that the County Board, by site plan, may vary requirements of “Subsection F. Physical Requirements”, pertaining to compatible exterior appearance of buildings adjacent to residential areas; and 3) Confirm through clarifying language the County Board’s authority to modify regulations, by site plan, regarding maximum permitted density, maximum height permitted by-right, and tapering requirements for structures near residential properties.

2006

Board of Zoning Appeals Use Permits (Section 36.E) – Adopted December 9, 2006.  Authorizes the Board of Zoning Appeals to grant special exception use permits that modify requirements contained in the Zoning Ordinance with respect to physical requirements of improvements on a lot or parcel of land, including setback and other placement requirements, coverage, and height. Supplemental Report

Section 29A. “P-S” Public Service – Adopted December 9, 2006..  Amendments to Section 29A. “P-S” Public Service Districts of the Zoning Ordinance to allow for publicly owned or controlled recreation buildings, aquatic centers, and properties located on sites designated “North Tract Special Planning District” on the General Land Use Plan, to be constructed to a height not to exceed one hundred (100) feet.

Section 20. (Appendix A) “CP-FBC,”Columbia Pike – Required Building Lines – Approved November 14, 2006.  Amendment to Section 20 (Appendix A) “CP-FBC,” Columbia Pike – Form Based Code Districts of the Zoning Ordinance to change Section III (C) – Regulating Plans to modify the width of the street space for South Glebe Road and South Walter Reed Drive in the Town Center area of the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District.

Section 36. Administration and Procedures Subsection 36 H. Site Plan – Major Site Plan – Approved October 14, 2006.  Amendment to Section 36. Administration and Procedures. Subsection 36 H. Site Plan Approval of the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance to change the definition of a Major Amendment to include projects that change (increase or decrease) density by more than five (5) percent and/or building height by more than that change (increase or decrease) density by more than five (5) percent and/or building height by more than twelve (12) feet. Supplemental Document

Section 34.F Construction and Leasing Signs Permitted – Adopted September 16, 2006..  Amendments to Section 34 F. Signs Permitted in All Districts, Unless Otherwise Specified, With Permits, of the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance to permit construction and rental/leasing signs for buildings in “C”, “M”, and “RA” districts, subject to limitations on the overall area of signage; and to allow the Zoning Administrator to approve additional signs for sites with multiple buildings, subject to limitations on the overall area of such signage.

Split Lot – Adopted July 8, 2006.  Amendments to Section 1. Definitions, Section 31. Special Provisions, and Section 35. Nonconforming Buildings and Uses (1) to clarify, by amending the definition of lot, that the requirement for minimum street width necessary to build structures on lots is 30 feet of public right-of-way and that lots fronting on a public right-of-way that is less than 30 feet wide may not be built upon; (2) to clarify, by amending the regulations in Section 31.A.15., that a prerequisite to the creation of by-right split-lots is to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Zoning Administrator that the property proposed to be subdivided into split-lots would meet the definitions and all subdivision and zoning requirements necessary to create one interior lot and one pipe-stem lot with a minimum frontage of 40 feet, and (3) to change the time within which property owners are permitted to restore nonconforming uses from one year to two years as called for by the Code of Virginia.

Clarendon Sector Plan – Density Increases for Historic Preservation. Adopted June 10, 2006..  Amendment to Section 36. Administration and Procedures of the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance to establish density increases for proposals in the “Clarendon Revitalization District” on the General Land Use Plan that include historic preservation of structures identified for preservation in adopted Clarendon Policy Directives. This amendment is proposed in order implement Policy Directives for historic preservation in Clarendon, in order to encourage economic development initiatives that provide desirable employment and enlarge the tax base, to facilitate creation of a convenient, attractive, and harmonious community, and to protect against encroachment on historic areas.

Clarendon Sector Bulk, Coverage and Placement Requirements Clarendon Sector Plan – Bulk. Adopted May 20, 2006.  Amendments to Sections 32 for bulk, placement and coverage, to establish the following for properties zoned “C-3” and located in the “Clarendon Revitalization District” on the General Land Use Plan: increased building setbacks; screening requirements for parking; the location of parking; and a requirement for minimum distance between functioning entry doors.

Unified Residential Development – Pedestrian connectivity – Adopted on April 22, 2006.  An amendment to Section 31. Special Provisions, Subsection A. of the Zoning Ordinance to clarify that the intent of the Unified Residential Development provision provides for pedestrian connectivity.

Administration and Procedures Zoning Fee Increases. Adopted on April 22, 2006..  An Amendment to Section 36. for fee increases for Certificate of Occupancy and Subdivision Plat Reviews reviewed by the Zoning Administration office for compliance with zoning regulations. This amendment is to provide for efficient administration of the review process, to encourage economic development, and to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the public.

Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) (Section 36.H.5.b) – Adopted February 25, 2006.  Establishes a TDR program that provides the County Board with the authority to approve the use of TDRs through the Special Exception Site Plan process. Staff Report

Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District

Affordable Housing – VIRGINIA SQUARE. Adopted on January 21, 2006..  Zoning Ordinance amendment to provide for the achievement of affordable housing objectives in Virginia Square in a manner consistent with new affordable housing zoning ordinance provisions applying to all site plan projects:

  1. Amendment to Section 36.H.6.k of the Zoning Ordinance to confirm explicitly that Zoning Ordinance amendments to Section 36.H adopted by the County Board on December 10, 2005 apply to site plans in all zoning districts, as such amendment is set forth in Attachment 1.
  2. Amendments to Section 21. “MU-VS” (Mixed Use – Virginia Square Districts) of the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance to specifically permit the County Board to approve a density of up to 4.0 FAR west of N. Kansas St. and up to 3.24 east of N. Kansas St., and additional density up to 1.0 FAR west of N. Kansas St and up to 1.76 FAR east of N. Kansas St., subject to specific findings being made and as more specifically described in Attachment 2.
  3. Amendments to the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) and 2002 Virginia Square Sector Plan to reflect changes to the policy goals and objectives for the East End of Virginia Square with respect to allowable densities below and above the GLUP and achievement of affordable housing, and to conform GLUP and Plan with proposed revisions to MU – VS (Mixed Use – Virginia Square) District, including changes to GLUP Note #3 to allow density up to 3.24 FAR for properties east of N. Kansas St. and up to 4.0 FAR west of N. Kansas St. as more specifically described in Attachments 3 and 4.

Secondary use of parking lots that are accessory to place of worship or lodges – Adopted January 24, 2006..  Amendment to Section 33. Automobile Parking, Standing and Loading Space, Subsection A. General Requirements, Sub-subsection 8, and Section 36. Administration and Procedures of Arlington County Zoning Ordinance to permit following secondary use of parking lots that are accessory to places of worship or lodges and that are not operated primarily for commercial gain:

  1. Parking spaces that are accessory to those uses may be used by off-site users to park non-commercial vehicles, when such use does not exceed ten (10) percent to 50 percent of total number of spaces; and
  2. Parking spaces that are accessory to those uses may be used by off-site users to park non-commercial vehicles, when such use is for no more than one (1) day to 90 days per calendar year; and
  3. County Board may, by use permit approval, as specified in Subsection 36.G.Use Permits, permit use of parking spaces accessory to those uses to be leased or used under verbal or written contractual agreement with off-site users to park non-commercial vehicles, when such use exceeds parameters set forth in subparts 33.A.8.b(1) and 33.A.8.b(2) above.

2005

AFFORDABLE HOUSING  Adopted on December 15, 2005..  Amendment to implement affordable housing requirements for site plan approved projects as endorsed by the Affordable Housing Roundtable, as such amendments are more specifically described in Attachment 1; and associated amendments to the Zoning Ordinance to correct and renumber references in various zoning districts pertaining to affordable housing in site plan projects, as such amendments are more specifically described in Attachment 2.

Lot Coverage – Adopted on November 15, 2005..  The Zoning Ordinance amendment to Section 1. Definitions, Section 32. Bulk, Coverage and Placement Requirements, Subsection C. Coverage, and Section 35. Nonconforming Buildings and Uses to change the Lot Coverage provision of the Zoning Ordinance. Supplemental Report

Resident Permit Parking : Adopted on July 9, 2005..  The Zoning Ordinance amendment repealed Section 33.D. Restrictions on Parking in Districts in which Commercial and Industrial Uses are not permitted from the Zoning Ordinance. The residential permit parking program was added to the new Section 14.2-98 through 14.2-106 of the County Code.

Political signs – Adopted on July 9, 2005.  The Zoning Ordinance amendment to amend Section 34., Subsections, A., B., E. and F. regarding political signs on private and public property in all zoning districts. The amendment provides more opportunities for political expression on private property; significantly reduces the placement, the number, and the amount of time signs are located in the public right-of-way; provides easier to understand and enforceable regulations that reflect the community’s interest and desire for traffic and pedestrian safety, and reduces the proliferation of illegal signs staked into the ground and affixed to traffic signs and utility poles that litter roadsides and intersections.

Real Estate Directional, Political, and Private Property Political Signs

School building height – Adopted on May 31, 2005.  The Zoning Ordinance amendment to Section 3.B. Height Limit, to permit, by use permit approval, an increase in building height of secondary schools and school administration buildings on sites having a site area of nineteen (19) acres or more to a height not to exceed seventy five (75) feet ( with an amendment to strike language regarding 350,000 square feet or more ) in “S-3A” Special Districts.

Ft. Myer Heights North Special District – Adopted 4/16/05.  Amendment to the RA8-18 district for properties located in the Ft. Myer Heights North Special District on the GLUP for removal of townhouses as a permitted use by-right.