Arlington County Board Adopts Reorganized, Reformatted and Easier to Use Zoning Ordinance

  • Updated Ordinance uses graphics, tables to present information
  • Easy web access with live, interactive links
  • Allowed uses are easily identified for each zoning district

ARLINGTON, Va. –The Arlington County Board today adopted a new format for the Zoning Ordinance that will make it easier to use, understand and administer. No substantive changes were made.

“This technical update of the Zoning Ordinance is all about better customer service,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “It makes it easier for our residents to know what type of development is allowed in their neighborhood, and for developers to understand the regulations.”

The Board voted unanimously to approve the reorganized, reformatted Zoning Ordinance. Major changes to the Zoning Ordinance organization and format include:

  • At-a-glance view of all uses allowed in each zoning district

  • “Pyramid” structure eliminated. Users can see all uses allowed in each zoning district, and can compare to other districts within the same category

  • Tables to summarize key regulations

  • Lot size, height and density regulations are presented in tables to allow easy access to basic regulations. These requirements are provided in the same place in each zoning district

  • Graphics illustrate key concepts and to help support, clarify the text description

  • Topics are organized by category and presented in a standardized way

  • Web-friendly document featuring cross-link references

  • Hyperlinks offer users an interactive experience and additional resources by providing references to related regulations

Community Outreach

The County launched a public process in 2011 to amend the Zoning Ordinance. Participants in that process were invited to review the revised format.

The Zoning Committee of the Planning Commission (ZOCO) and the Planning Commission reviewed and were invited to provide comments on the draft revised format. County staff also shared the draft format with members of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA) /National Association of Office and Industrial Properties and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

Information about the Zoning Ordinance update project, the public process and the draft of the proposed revised Zoning Ordinance was available on the County's website for the general public's review and comment. County staff also conducted a public meeting to seek feedback from the public on the draft document.


The County Board accepted the work plan to reformat the Zoning Ordinance in December 2010.

The work plan consisted of two phases: Phase I amended the sign regulations. The first part of Phase II(A) completed technical updates, reorganizes existing regulations and incorporates a new format without affecting policy. The final task, phase IIB, will incorporate minor policy updates into the revised Ordinance.

The public process for the work plan started in April 2011 with the revision of the sign regulations. The County Board adopted the updated sign regulations in July 2012.

For more information on Arlington County's Zoning Ordinance, visit the County website.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.