DC, Maryland, and Virginia Land Use and Zoning

Our DC, Maryland and Virginia Land Use and Zoning attorneys help clients evaluate the risks and rewards of real estate projects, while leveraging our relationships with local governments to obtain the necessary approvals and community support.

Active throughout Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Maryland, our land use attorneys develop and implement legal strategies to take projects from the conceptual stage through application and completion. From pre-acquisition due diligence to obtaining variances, rezoning, special exceptions, and other entitlements for new developments or changes in use, our team works closely with regulators and local governments to expedite the approvals process. We also counsel clients on zoning and planning, landmarks and historic preservation, building code requirements, environmental reviews, public review requirements, as well as on post-entitlement administrative issues, including permitting, signage, subdivisions, and easements.

Whether working on small housing developments or multifamily, high-rise, and office towers, our attorneys adopt a holistic approach to each matter, helping manage the project team so that all parties involved, from architect to environmental consultant, are communicating effectively, and necessary information is being exchanged. To deflect possible challenges by project opponents, we maintain a meticulous administrative record throughout the process, while advising on substantive issues and procedural questions. Similarly, by providing studied guidance on community relations, engaging with community representatives to address any local concerns, and negotiating with elected officials, we help clients avoid costly delays or litigation. When necessary, our team engages Venable's deep bench of experienced land use litigators to defend against challenges to their development approvals in court. No matter how complex a project is, our goal is always the same – helping our clients get the job done on time and under budget.

Experience
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Representative Matters - DMV Land Use and Zoning

  • Represented JBG Smith in the approval of a 240,000 sq. ft. office building located in Crystal City, Virginia and led the entitlement process and negotiations with neighbors and Arlington County
  • Represented JBG Smith in the approval of two mixed-use towers, which will house more than 750 residential units, on a 2.4-acre site located at 2001 S. Clark St. in Crystal City, Virginia. The highly anticipated residential towers will be part of a redevelopment of an existing office building and will result in a shift of S. Clark Street to the east to create a new S. Clark-Bell Street
  • Represented MRP Realty in seeking approvals to add significant open space and other building upgrades to an existing office building in Crystal City, Virginia
  • Represented MRP Realty in seeking revisions to an approved residential plan for over 350,000 sq. ft. of density and 302 units
  • Represented YW Capital Development in the approval of a mixed-use residential building featuring 16,800 sq. ft. of retail space and 120 units on the Columbia Pike corridor in Arlington, Virginia. Led the entitlement process and negotiations for this complex redevelopment program featuring preservation of historic façades and compliance with Columbia Pike Form Based Code design requirements
  • Representing LaSalle, a leading real estate investment management firm, in affordable housing issues related to its existing Senate Square project in Washington, DC. In July 2021, the Zoning Commission approved Lasalle's application for a PUD Modification related to the rental of affordable units in the existing buildings
  • Represented Black Creek Group (now Ares Management), an industrial investor operating out of Denver, Colorado, in obtaining a rezoning of property in Prince William County, Virginia, comprising 32 acres of industrial property. This rezoning allows the property to be used as a last-mile delivery facility for a national shipping and logistics provider
  • Represented Skanska, a leading global development and construction firm, in land use and zoning for its project located at 3901 North Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia. Once completed, 3901 Fairfax will be a nine-story trophy building offering 191,000 sq. ft. of office space, 10,000 sq. ft. of ground-level retail, and an 8,000 sq. ft. public plaza
  • Represented LCOR Inc., a regional real estate developer, with its plans to build a 19-story tower in Arlington Country, Virginia, with 306 apartments atop 11,400 sq. ft. of retail. This 40,000 sq. ft. property will be a companion to its "Altaire" property next door
  • Advising one of the largest developers in the Washington, DC metropolitan region on its Planned Unit Development (PUD) application before the DC Zoning Commission. The application relates to a major mixed-use project to be built in the Union Market district, a rapidly developing area in northeast DC with high-rise apartments and retail projects headlined by leading developers in the region
  • Secured unanimous county board approval of a special exception for a new duplex to be located at 1201 Vernon Street in Arlington, Virginia. This development format is rare in Arlington County, as most developers opt to construct single-family houses by right rather than undergo the discretionary zoning entitlement process that is typically required for duplexes. Approval of the duplex project took place against the backdrop of an ongoing Arlington County study of "missing middle" housing typologies, helping illustrate the practical challenges and opportunities associated with the development of small multi-unit projects
  • Obtaining approval of a mixed-use residential building featuring 16,800 sq. ft. of retail space and 120 units located in Northern Virginia, a complex redevelopment featuring preservation of historic façades and compliance with Columbia Pike Form Based Code design requirements