Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan

Photo of beach jetty

The updated Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan, a required element of Arlington's comprehensive plan, was adopted in 2023.

Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act protects water quality through land use management. Since local governments have the primary responsibility for land use decisions, the Bay Act expanded their authority to manage water quality. Local governments had to adopt a Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance and Plan that limit pollution during development.

To comply with the Bay Act, Arlington adopted:

2023 Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update


Read the adopted 2023 Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update(PDF, 35MB)

The Bay Act provides the components and criteria that local governments must adopt and implement in their programs. The CBPP was updated to reflect current conditions and include up-to-date policies and procedures designed to address the County’s regulatory Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act requirements. The plan update was meant to document that Arlington has the correct programs and processes in place. Required plan components include:  

  • Defining and mapping Resource Protection Areas (RPAs) 
  • Criteria to help prevent pollution during development 
  • Controls for land use, development, and subdivision 
  • Inclusion in comprehensive plan and ordinances.  

Extensive engagement on plan components had already occurred previously and was or will be included in other County plans and documents, including

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update Engagement Process

Date Description Meeting Materials
February 21, 2023 Adoption by County Board
January 9 and February 6, 2023 Presentations to Planning Commission
September 12 & October 19, 2022 Presentations to Natural Resources Joint Advisory Group and Long Range Planning Committee
July 18, 2022 Second Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update Public Meeting
March 16, 2022 First Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan Update Public Meeting


2001 Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan 

The original Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan was adopted April 2001:

  • Identifies and characterizes the County’s water resources and examines the extent to which they have been affected by urban land activities.
  • Maps actions that we can take to help preserve and restore local streams, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Meets the Comprehensive Plan requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations.
  • Establishes criteria to minimize or reduce pollution during development and redevelopment, in adherence with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance.