Arlington’s Zoning Ordinance provides for a special exception site plan option within certain zoning districts under the guidance of Administrative Regulation 4.1. Learn more about the different types of applications. The development review process requires 120 days from the date an application is filed to the time it is heard by the County Board, assuming that there are no major issues. Site plan applications are reviewed by multiple departments. There is no filing calendar for new site plans and major site plan amendments. The filing process for those follow Administrative Regulation 4.1 Section 2.
The following steps are a summary of the review process found in Administrative Regulation 4.1.
Optional: Conceptual Site Plan
Prior to submission of a preliminary special exception site plan application, prospective applicants are encouraged to submit a conceptual site plan for proposed development. Learn more about submitting a Conceptual Site Plan.
Preliminary Development Proposals
This step provides early technical review by an interdepartmental staff team, ensuring applications meet all technical requirements. All fees are collected at this stage.
Active Site Plan Applications
Next, it is reviewed by the Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC). The SPRC is a Planning Commission committee, comprised of members of the Planning Commission, Advisory Group and Commission representatives, civic association members and neighborhood representatives. SPRC meetings are informal and provide an opportunity for the developer to present their plans and for the community to provide comments and direction on the plans. The number of meetings depends on the size and complexity of the project. Following review and feedback from SPRC meetings, a revised site plan is submitted to Zoning.
Site plan review also requires public hearings before both the Planning Commission and the County Board. The Planning Commission reviews new site plans and major amendments and votes to make a recommendation to the County Board. After holding a public hearing, the Planning Commission receives a draft written County Manager’s report (staff report) as well as a report from the SPRC. The staff report includes a number of suggested conditions for approval.
County Board Action
The County Board takes final action on the site plan and conditions of approval. If a project is approved, the applicant may proceed with the development process and obtain permits. A project may also be denied or deferred.
Site Plan Conditions
Site plan conditions are typically necessary for all types of site plans. Conditions ensure that a project substantially complies with County plans, policies and Zoning Ordinance regulations for a particular area, or are in exchange for bonuses and other benefits approved as part of the project. Increased density, height or other modifications can have an impact on the surrounding community, and site plan conditions help mitigate these impacts.
The following are standard conditions for high density office, residential and mixed-use projects: