The Zoning Division plays a key role in regulating land use by ensuring that the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance (ACZO) is administered and enforced fairly, diligently, and responsibly. Our services include informing home owners, businesses, and developers on the zoning and land use regulations which are relevant to their property, such as what uses are allowed, the placement and height of buildings, the provision of off-street parking, and the location and size of signage. Zoning Division staff also reviews building permits, construction plans, and certificates of occupancy for compliance with the Zoning Ordinance, as well as reviewing County Board approved developments for compliance with the approval conditions. Our staff also provides technical assistance and recommendations to the Arlington County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) in granting variances, setback relief, and appeals to the administrative decisions of the Zoning Administrator. Contact Zoning staff.
The Zoning Administrator interprets, administers, and enforces the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance. The Zoning Administrator’s authority and responsibility is granted by the Code of Virginia, and guided by the Zoning Ordinance. In executing these duties, the Zoning Administrator can issue determinations on zoning and land use regulations, grant minor administrative amendments to County Board approved developments, and verify the zoning compliance of a property including determinations of nonconforming status. The Zoning Administrator also serves as technical expert to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
The Zoning Division issues a number of permits to ensure building and development in Arlington is safe and done in accordance with land use regulations. These include home occupation permits, sign permits, site plans and use permits, certificates of occupancy, rezoning requests and subdivision plat review. Our Planning Technicians provide guidance and assistance with permit applications and with zoning-related questions.
Zoning Division staff review plans for new private development and redevelopment to ensure compliance with land-use and zoning regulations. The Arlington County Zoning Ordinance distinguishes between uses permitted “by right” and uses allowed by “special exception.” Many significant private and public-private projects in Arlington are developed through a site plan process that ensures proper reviews, public processes and compliance with applicable policies and ordinances. Our staff works with residents, contractors and developers to review and approve plans.
Zoning Enforcement monitors compliance and enforces the regulations in the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance. This involves researching and investigating complaints, conducting inspections, and working with property owners to correct any violations. Our Zoning Enforcement inspectors are certified by the International Code Council. They conduct inspections to ensure compliance with the Zoning Ordinance as well as special exception use permits and site plan conditions. Our team is also responsible for monitoring proper sign use and placement throughout the County.
Board of Zoning Appeals
The Arlington County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) is a quasi-judicial body appointed by the Circuit Court, which is empowered to grant relief from zoning regulations when warranted. The BZA also hears appeals of the administrative decisions of the Zoning Administrator, and renders interpretations of the Zoning Map. The BZA has authority to grant setback relief in certain circumstances and variances upon demonstration of undue hardship.