Types of Use Permits

The uses, services and establishments below all require use permits and this application.

Depending on the purpose of the use permit, several supporting documents are required with the application. The approval process takes about 60 days from the date of final filing, unless there are special circumstances that require further analysis and additional time.


  • Telecommunications (Telecom Guidelines)
  • Outdoor café
  • Live entertainment
  • Transitional use
  • Unified residential development; Unified commercial/ mixed-use development
  • Kiosk

Services and Establishments

Automobile service station/gas station: Any premises used for supplying gasoline and oil, at retail direct to the customer, including minor accessories and services for automobiles

Bed and breakfast: A one-family dwelling with 5 or fewer guestrooms available as overnight accommodations for compensation to guests for no more than 14 consecutive days per stay

Car wash: A facility for washing motor vehicles by hand or by automated methods

Child care center: Any facility, but not including family day care homes, operated for the purpose of providing care, protection, and guidance to a group of children separated from their parents or guardians during only part of the 24-hour day, and that complies with the requirements of chapter 52 of the Arlington County Code

Dormitory: A residence for groups who are associated with an organization such as a school or a university, a religious order, a health care program or a nonprofit, charitable, benevolent, or governmental agency providing shelter for needy persons or persons who are objects of the agency’s charitable, benevolent, or governmental activity, which institution customarily provides housing quarters with a single kitchen and living area for the group and may include groups residing with one or more resident counselor(s) or other staff person(s). Said residence shall not be operated primarily for commercial gain.

Drive-through: Any use that offers sales or services through a window to customers in motor vehicles

Educational institution: A college or university giving general academic instruction equivalent to the standards prescribed by the state board of education

Family day care home: Any dwelling unit where 9 or fewer children not related by blood, adoption, or marriage to the person who resides in and maintains the home are received for care, protection, and guidance during only part of the 24-hour day, on a regular basis, for a minimum of 10 hours per week, and that complies with the requirements of Chapter 59 of the Arlington County Code.

Food delivery service: Any establishment which prepares food and beverages to fill orders from off the site where the order is taken for delivery to off-site locations for customers as prepared and delivered

Institutional home: A place for the care, including day care, of dependent children and persons needing assistance in the activities of normal daily living because of age or disability

Motor vehicle sales or rental lot:  Places where motor vehicles are sold or rented

Nursery school: Any place, however designated, operated for the purpose of providing training, guidance, education, or care for 6 or more children under 6 years of age, during any part of the day other than from 6 pm- 6 am, including kindergartens, but not including family day care homes

Open-air market: An outdoor market held on a regular basis, and at which groups of individual sellers offers goods, new or used, for sale to the public. Open-air market shall not include garage sales not held on a regular basis, outdoor display or sales associated with retail establishments that are principally located in indoor facilities or motor vehicle dealerships.

Outdoor Café: An outside seating and/or dining area which is accessory to restaurant (excluding rooftops). Guidelines for outdoor cafés are here.

Private club: An association organized and operated on a nonprofit basis for persons who are bonafide members paying dues, which association owns or leases premises, the use of which premises is restricted to such members and their guest, and which manages the affairs of such association by and through a board of directors, executive committee, or similar body chosen by the members. Food, meals and beverages may be served on such premises, provided adequate dining room space and kitchen facilities are available.

Public garage: A business used for the care, repair or equipment of motor vehicles that is available to the public

Public parking area: An open off-street area of land or space within a building used for the parking of motor vehicles which is available for general public use

Recycling center:

  1. a place open to the public for the drop-off, collection, and interim storage prior to off-site processing and recycling of newspapers, corrugated papers, glass bottles, metal cans, plastic products, and other similar materials, and for associated parking spaces; and
  2. a place open to the public for the pick-up of leaves, wood chips, fill dirt, and other similar materials, and to Arlington county agencies for the collection and interim storage of these materials.

School, elementary and high: An institution which offers instructions in the several branches of learning and study required to be taught in the public schools by the Education Code of the State of Virginia. High schools may include junior and senior.

School of higher instruction: A college or university

Transitional use: A use permitted on any transitional site under the regulations for the district but not permitted elsewhere in the district except on transitional sites, and subject to all other regulations for the district

Transitional site: A lot or part thereof located in an “R,” “S-3A” or an “RA” district and lying within a distance of two hundred (200) feet from the boundary of a “C” or an “M” District when such lot or part thereof:

  1. Lies contiguous to such boundary but not across any part of a street therefrom; and
  2. Is not contiguous at more than one (1) lot line to a side lot line in an “R,” “S-3A” or “RA” district. (12-2-78)

Unified Commercial Mixed Use Development (UCMUD): See Development Use Permits below.

Unified residential development: See Development Use Permits below.

Development Use Permits

Unified Commercial Mixed Use Development (UCMUD) provides for the new construction of residential units within in commercial zoning districts limited to “C-2” Service Commercial, “C-3” General Commercial and the “Clarendon Revitalization District,” as well as “C-1” and “C-TH”, as part of a mixed use development in accordance with specific guidelines. The intent of a UCMUD is to:

  • provide for flexible, site-specific solutions for the revitalization of existing shopping areas while preserving commercial service levels;
  • promote the compatibility of commercial developments within the commercial district and surrounding properties by coordinating aspects of site layout, site design and building form;
  • provide for creative opportunities that encourage and retail local and small business and promote opportunities for affordable housing.

An administrative regulation provides guidance on review and submission of UCMUD use permit applications. In addition, this documented process has been developed for community review of UCMUD use permits. See also:

Unified Residential Development provides an alternative to subdividing R-20 through R-5 districts to promote compatibility of one-family residential developments with surrounding neighborhoods by coordinating building forms, the bulk, scale and placement of new buildings, and the relationship between buildings and structures within the development and surrounding properties. An administrative regulation provides guidance on review and submission of URD use permit applications. Learn more about Unified Residential Development with Administrative Regulation 4.11.

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