Ground Story Uses Study

On November 13, 2021, the County Board adopted amendments to the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance to implement the Ground Story Uses Study's recommendations. Click here to view the adopted amendments


The Ground Story Uses Study developed land use recommendations to enhance and sustain commercial market performance within redevelopment nodes along Columbia Pike by permitting a wider range of ground floor uses in the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District Form Based Code (FBC) and Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Special Revitalization District Form Based Code (N-FBC).



Since the FBC was adopted in 2003, and the N-FBC in 2012, the County has responded to community input and initiated Zoning Ordinance amendments that clarify the intent of the Codes. These zoning tools offer land use and site development incentives to realize the preferred vision in ways that may not be achieved with by-right development using underlying zoning regulations.

The Codes’ Regulating Plan is the principal tool for implementing the FBC and N-FBC as it identifies the basic physical placement and characteristics of each building. The FBC and N-FBC, however, also regulate ground story uses with the intent of creating a high level of pedestrian activity adjacent to the public sidewalk, interesting design, and transparency into the building.

Columbia Pike Commercial Retail Study

The 2019 Columbia Pike Commercial Market Study assessed the condition of the Columbia Pike retail market and identified opportunities to enhance retail along the corridor. The report documents Columbia Pike’s ongoing transition from an auto-oriented suburban corridor to a walkable urban corridor. To enhance and sustain the vitality of the Pike’s retail market, the report recommends increased use flexibility for ground floor. The report highlights that increased flexibility will allow for more commercial tenant spaces to be filled while building upon the uniqueness of Columbia Pike.

Process & Timeline

Timeline Milestone & Materials
Winter 2020 / 2021
  • Research and analysis
Feb. 17, 2021
April 7 – June 15, 2021
  • Online feedback opportunity
Spring 2021
  • Community engagement
  • Outreach to business community and property owners
  • Analysis
June 16, 2021
 July 14, 2021  FBC AWG meeting
September 28, 2021
 October 16, 2021
 November 1, 2021
 November 13, 2021