Zoning Studies

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The Zoning Ordinance contains the land-use regulations for all land in the County. From time to time the Zoning Ordinance is amended to ensure that land use and development regulations meet the needs and goals of the community. Amendments begin with a zoning study, which examines various standards and regulations (ex: zoning districts, uses, setback, etc.).

Study Name Tentative Completion Date Status
Clarendon Revitalization District Maximum Height Limit Map June 2021 In Progress
Columbia Pike Form Based Code – Ground Story Uses Q4 2021  In Progress 
Multifamily Reinvestment Study Q1 2022 In Progress
Missing Middle Housing Study Q2 2022 In Progress
Affordable Housing Building Height April 2021 Complete
Columbia Pike Form Based Code – TDR Multiplier March 2021 Complete
Outdoor Cafés in Additional Commercial/Mixed-Use Districts December 2020 Complete
Columbia Pike Form Based Code – Western Subarea Regulating Plan November 2020 Complete
Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Form Based Code – Revisions to Area Median Income (AMI) Requirements for For Sale Affordable Units October 2020 Indefinitely Deferred

Studies in Progress

Clarendon Revitalization District Maximum Height Limit Map

This amendment is to revise the maximum height limit map in the Clarendon Revitalization District as specified in §9.2.5, Map 1 to reflect changes in building height and form for a proposed amendment to Site Plan #438 (Clarendon West). The proposed changes will lower the overall height of the building and provide more gradual height transitions with the surrounding neighborhood. The height transition zone on the maximum height limit map where the tapering requirement applies will be replaced with the stepped heights as proposed in the site plan amendment.

Staff Contact
Kevin Lam
703-228-6982

Schedule

Multifamily Reinvestment Study (MRS)

Building on recommendations from the HCD Policy Framework and supplemented by additional economic and form-based modeling, staff will develop zoning standards to incentivize HCD property owners to complete context-appropriate renovation, addition, infill, and redevelopment projects not currently possible in exchange for dedicated affordable housing units. Staff will explore administrative and use permit review processes to facilitate the creation of new affordable housing, tailoring the review process to account for the scale of proposed changes and potential impacts to historic buildings.

Staff will evaluate opportunities to integrate townhouse development into HCD development projects and reassess the provisions of ZOA-2017-06 to determine whether the reclassification of townhouse development as a special exception site plan use in RA14-26, RA8-18, and RA6-15 zoning districts within HCD boundaries should be continued, repealed, or modified moving forward. Staff will also analyze the ramifications of the bonus density ZOA approved in November 2019 and any influence the new regulations would have on the viability of the HCD conceptual framework.

Staff Contact
Nick Rogers
703-228-0035

Study Resources

Schedule
TBD

 

Missing Middle Housing Study

Staff will explore how missing middle homes could help address Arlington’s limited housing supply and inadequate housing choices. Barriers to building missing middle housing impede the County’s ability to increase its overall supply of housing and provide more choices at a broader range of price points.

In addition to establishing a shared definition for the term ‘missing middle’, the three-phase study aims to 1) determine how new housing types can help address the shortage of housing supply in Arlington; 2) locate where new housing types could be compatible with existing neighborhoods; and 3) identify what strategies could be employed to mitigate any negative impacts.

Staff Contact
Kellie Brown
703-228-3524

Study Resources

Schedule
Currently, staff is presenting a draft scope of work for review and comment to several commissions and advisory boards. View schedule.

Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Form Based Code - Revisions to Area Median Income (AMI) Requirements for For Sale Affordable Units

Following on the work to incorporate cash contribution standards for nonresidential portions of N-FBC projects, staff has developed recommendations in alignment with the AHMP goals for incentivizing the production of home ownership units affordable to residents earning between 80-120% of the area median income (AMI).

Staff recommends amending the N-FBC to incorporate equally tiered affordability levels for purchasers of affordable home ownership units at up to 80% of AMI and up to 100% of AMI. Currently, maximum income levels for qualifying home purchasers is capped at 60% AMI. This change would conform to the AHMP goals, better align with the overall cost of homeownership within the County and region, and expand the pool of eligible, qualified buyers seeking to purchase an affordable home in the County. Existing affordability requirements, which maintain the maximum income ceiling of 60% AMI, would remain unchanged for rental projects.

More information on the project page here.

Staff Contact
Akeria Brown
703-228-7958

Schedule

 

 

Completed Studies

Completed 2021 - Affordable Housing Building Height Study

This zoning study’s purpose is to enable more flexible development standards for multifamily residential projects that provide significant contributions to Arlington’s supply of low- or moderate-income housing. The study’s scope is focused on the RA14-26, RA8-18, and RA6-15 zoning districts.

The study’s objectives are to provide the County Board with broader authority to approve site plan applications with increased building height above the existing maximum height standards for development projects that provide 100% of the dwelling units as low- or moderate-income housing. The County Board could use this authority when it finds that the proposal is appropriate for the area and complies with County plans and policies. Staff has included, within the scope of the study, an option for the County Board to utilize this authority for projects with a lesser percentage of affordable dwellings upon determining that the overall project would be in conformance with the County’s Affordable Housing Master Plan; an element of the Comprehensive Plan.

This study represents an initial phase of the broader Multifamily Reinvestment Study, which includes work focused on incorporating additional standards for new development within Arlington’s 12 Housing Conservation District areas. The Multifamily Reinvestment Study is anticipated to be completed in FY22. This effort is part of the larger Housing Arlington initiative, which among other purposes, seeks to preserve existing market-rate affordable housing and create opportunities for new committed affordable housing when redevelopment occurs.

Staff Contact
Nick Rogers
703-228-3525

Study Resources

Schedule:

Completed 2021 - Columbia Pike Form Based Code - TDR Multiplier

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.

Staff Contact
Melissa Danowski
703-228-7931

Schedule:

Completed 2020 - Columbia Pike Form Based Code – Western Subarea Regulating Plan

This amendment would reconfigure and reclassify the planned future streets depicted on the Neighborhoods Form Based Code Regulating Plan to facilitate the redevelopment of Greenbrier Apartments. The proposed change was authorized for advertisement by the County Board in December 2019. Pending adoption of the amendment would occur concurrent with final review/approval of the associated redevelopment’s form based code application.

Staff Contact
Matt Mattauszek
703-228-0493

Schedule

Completed 2020 - Outdoor Cafés in Additional Commercial/Mixed-Use Districts

The Zoning Ordinance permits outdoor cafes as an accessory use to an already approved restaurant in 15 of Arlington’s 19 different zoning districts which allow commercial and mixed use development. Of the four districts which prohibit outdoor cafes, staff has identified the R-C district as a likely candidate for amendment to allow outdoor cafes given the prevalence of this district’s use in and near Metrorail station areas. Staff will also review the other three districts (C-1-O, C-1-R, and RA-H), and recommend whether these districts should also be amended to allow outdoor cafes.

The study’s scope will focus on the accessory use table specified in §7.1.3. Since the Zoning Ordinance currently has comprehensive regulations in place to regulate the operation of outdoor cafes, staff does not intend to evaluate changes to the use standards for outdoor cafes specified in §12.9.15.

Staff Contact
Nick Rogers
703-228-3525

Schedule

Completed 2020 – Two-Family Dwellings in RA Districts

Staff will recommend amendments to Article 16 (Nonconformities) which would enable expansions and additions to two‑family dwellings which are legally nonconforming in RA districts. Many of the approximately 400 two‑family dwellings located on lots zoned RA14-26, RA8-18, RA7‑16, or RA6-15 exhibit site conditions which do not conform to current ACZO standards. These standards include some combination of minimum lot size, lot width, lot area, and front/side/rear yard setbacks, as well as maximum building height.

The study’s objectives are to 1) enable modernizations and updates to existing two-family dwellings which would not exacerbate existing nonconformities, and 2) remove regulatory inflexibility for continued maintenance and preservation of the County’s existing two-family housing stock in these districts.

Staff Contact
Kellie Brown
703-228-3524

Study Resources

Schedule

Completed 2020 – Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Form Based Code – AHIF Cash Contribution for Commercial Uses

The Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP) recommends incentivizing the production of homeownership units affordable to households earning between 80% and 120% of area median income (AMI). To implement this policy in part, this amendment would require a cash contribution in limited instances when the proposed development includes non-residential uses.

This amendment would incorporate an Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) contribution requirement for the commercial portion of a project developed under the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Form Based Code (N-FBC). The contribution’s calculation would be identical to the “base ordinance” requirement for site plan projects specified in §15.5.8.C.4 of the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance.

Currently, the N-FBC does not require an AHIF contribution for the commercial portion of a project, whereas the Commercial Centers Form Based Code requires affordability contributions for both residential and nonresidential square footage. This amendment would not change the existing affordable housing requirements for the residential portion of N-FBC projects.

Staff Contact
Nick Rogers
703-228-3525

Schedule