May 2021

Land Use and Zoning Updates in DC and VA

3 min

Success Stories

Matt Allman secured unanimous approval of a Major Use Permit Amendment from the Arlington County Board for a 105-unit multifamily residential project with ground-floor retail located at 2400 Columbia Pike.

Zachary Williams obtained Planning Commission approval of a controversial subdivision of historic property in the City of Alexandria.

Evan Pritchard obtained approval from the City of Fairfax City Council to upgrade a McDonald's built in 1970 with a new, more contemporary appearance and additional drive-thru lane.

Local Updates

Fairfax County

Density within the McLean Community Business Center (CBC) is poised to increase dramatically – over 3 million square feet of additional commercial density and over 3,000 additional residential units are set to be approved as part of an upcoming amendment to the CBC plan.

Loudoun County

Permitted density on certain Loudoun properties may change as a result of upcoming changes to the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance rewrite. Interested parties should track the rewrite process to note any change in the applicability of zoning ordinances to their property.

City of Fairfax

The city is kicking off a new small area plan for changes to property in the Kamp Washington area in the west end of the city. As noted in the city's Comprehensive Plan, Kamp Washington is one of five areas in the city pegged as an area where most new development is anticipated to occur and where mixed-use development is strongly encouraged. Property owners should ensure that the future recommendations comply with their plans for the property by submitting comments to city staff for consideration regarding density, desired mixed-uses, open space, and the other ideas pertaining to this small area plan.

City of Falls Church

The City of Falls Church has adopted an amendment to the City Code updating its review criteria for Special Exceptions (Section 48-90), which will open the door for a wider range of special exception applications that may focus on quality of commercial spaces as opposed to the quantity of commercial space. The amendment gives City of Falls Church property owners and developers greater flexibility by allowing consideration of projects proposing to provide newer (as opposed to just additional) commercial development in the city.

Prince William County

Property owners in Prince William County have an opportunity to change or modify the land use designation of their property under the county's comprehensive plan. This has the potential to significantly increase a property's development potential and value. However, applications must be submitted prior to May 12 to be considered.

Arlington County

Developments that include affordable housing now have the opportunity to achieve bonus height. At its April 2021 meeting, the County Board restored the ability to obtain bonus height for projects that advance the affordable housing goals of Arlington County.

City of Alexandria

INOVA has proposed a four million square foot campus at the former Landmark Mall site. The proposed development will be a major catalyst for future redevelopment and will have significant impact on the surrounding areas. Parties with nearby properties should be aware of and engaged in the upcoming virtual engagement events (April 28, May 3, May 13, and May 24).

District of Columbia

The D.C. Council will vote on adoption of a Comprehensive Plan on May 4, with the major goal of increasing development of affordable housing through various mechanisms. This will include changes to the District's Future Land Use Map. Additional amendments are expected and interested parties should be aware and engaged in the process.