Clarendon Planning at a Glance

The Clarendon Metro Station Area covers about 212 acres and contains a mix of single-family homes, apartments, condos, office buildings and a number of locally owned and national chain stores. The urban village concept in Clarendon focuses development around a one-block area that includes the Olmstead Building and the Clarendon Metro Park.

As an important retail center in the 1940s-1960s, Clarendon was home to the Sears Roebuck complex as well as nine smaller office/commercial structures. The construction of the Capital Beltway and suburban shopping malls led to a decline in commercial activity for the neighborhood. Beginning in the 1980s, small businesses began to set up shop in Clarendon, resulting in tremendous growth that is still apparent today.

The vision for the Clarendon urban village was first outlined in the Clarendon Sector Plan adopted by the County Board in 1984, later amended in 1990 and 2006. The plan was developed with significant input from the community and contains some of the key planning principles that helped shape Clarendon. There are a number of special planning districts to focus on the needs of specific areas, including Special Coordinated Mixed-Use Districts for Market Common at Clarendon, the FDIC site and the East End area of Virginia Square, as well as a Revitalization District.

Urban Design and Guidelines for Future Development

Three overarching goals set the tone for urban design and future development in Clarendon, as outlined in the 2006 sector plan update. The goal is to balance new higher-density development with adjacent properties while considering urban design issues and neighborhood concerns.

  • A Quality Public Realm: Focus on creating and maintaining a network of walkable streets; safe street crossings; attractive, accessible public spaces; and a mix of new and old buildings that contribute to an attractive street environment, respect Clarendon’s architectural heritage and conserve the integrity of surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Accessible & Connected Places: Balance demands on transportation infrastructure by encouraging a dynamic mix of uses; improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, including those with visual and mobility impairments; and encourage the efficient use of transit and parking resources.
  • A Rich Mix of Uses: Maintain a critical mass and broad mix of mutually supportive uses ranging from a variety of housing choices to retail and restaurant offerings to multiple employment options, including a diverse office market.

Planning Resources