(Note: This was amended on 7/20/2015 to identify who voted in favor of the plan and who voted against it.)
- Increases County’s flexibility and competitiveness
- Expands definition of retail and identifies strategic retail locations
- Replaces 2001 Retail Action Plan
The Arlington County Board today approved a Retail Plan that shifts the County from an approach to groundfloor retail from one of “retail everywhere” to a more flexible approach, based on an expanded definition of retail that allows for “retail equivalents” in defined locations to make the County more attractive to tenants.
“By partnering with our business community and our residents, we’ve developed a plan that takes important steps to improve and strengthen the retail sector in Arlington,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “We believe the consistent, clear guidance and definitions, as well as flexibility of use, design and timing in the plan will better serve those who live and work here when they shop, dine, get their hair cut and bank on streets throughout the County.”
The Board voted 4 to 1 to adopt the Retail Plan, the the modification that streets designated “red” in the plan can include services and repairs. Board Members Mary Hynes, Walter Tejada, Jay Fisette and John Vihstadt voted yes and Board Member Libby Garvey voted no.
Maps, design guidelines, action plan
The plan includes both a vision and three implementation elements: retail maps, design guidelines and an action plan. Together, they provide guidance to developers; property owners; business owners; staff; the community, and the County Board and its commissions when considering ground floor uses in both new development plans and proposed amendments to existing plans.
The vision statement for the plan says that “Arlington will be a community where retail is convenient, appealing, activating and sustainable; that provides interest and authenticity, entertainment and experiences, and goods and services to residents, employees and visitors; and where local, independent, regional and national businesses thrive.”
The plan, which replaces the 2001 Retail Action Plan, expands the definition of retail in Arlington to include shopping, dining, entertainment, services and repair. It also incorporates a new term, “retail equivalents.” These are uses that, while not traditional retail uses, provide similar visual interest and active street life within a storefront to traditional retail uses. Some such uses include child care centers, schools and other educational facilities, medical uses, civic and government uses and in some instances, residential amenities.
In this time of challenging market conditions, the retail equivalent concept increases the level of flexibility, accommodates the changing nature of retail and improves Arlington’s level of competitiveness in attracting future office tenants with a desire to create an enhanced ground floor work environment.
Plan is a guideline
The Retail Plan is a guide that will affect future County legislative and administrative actions and will inform future neighborhood, sector and small area plans, by establishing a common vocabulary for ground floor uses.
To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #38 on the Agenda for the Saturday, July 18 Regular County Board Meeting.
Arlington Economic Development
Arlington Economic Development (AED), part of Arlington County Government, is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of an economically competitive and sustainable community, and the creation of exciting, diverse and amenity-rich places. AED provides visionary leadership and superior services to Arlington’s business and arts community, its tourism industry and its real estate development.