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.