Arlington County is in the process of re-planning three major areas in the County: Four Mile Run, the Lee Highway Corridor, and the commercial properties along Washington Blvd. at Kirkwood Road.

The Four Mile Run planning effort has been underway this Fall and includes regular Working Group meetings and a County-led consultant team to refine the vision for the industrial and park/County-owned properties in the area.  The next meetings will be held December 21, 2016 and January 3, 2017.


The 5-mile Lee Highway Corridor Study has just begun with a kick-off meeting in late November.  The multi-year planning effort will include visioning, land use changes and focus on transitioning to established, surrounding residential neighborhoods.  Stay-tuned, the planning effort begins in early 2017.

Lee Hwy

The Washington Blvd./Kirkwood Road Special General Land Use Study Plus is underway with a study of the comprehensive plan (GLUP) designations for a large area of underutilized land located one block from Clarendon.  The Long Range Planning Committee will hear Staff’s massing recommendations at a meeting December 20, 2016. The study is to culminate in May 2017 with recommendations to change the GLUP for all commercially-zoned properties, including the YMCA property, along Washington Blvd. from Kirkwood Road to N. Lincoln Street.

Wash Blvd

A new Virginia State statute governing what proffers local governments may and may not require of residential developers is set to become effective July 01, 2016. The bill injects a significant amount of legal uncertainty into the proffer process and is highly likely to make the proffer negotiation process even more difficult to navigate as parties attempt to discern the legal significance of the new statute. Fortunately, the statute includes a grandfather clause, meaning it will not apply to any rezoning applications filed prior to July 01, 2016. McGuireWoods has confirmed with Fairfax County staff that they will not be applying the statute’s rules to such applications. For this reason, we strongly recommend property owners considering redevelopment in the medium to near term call us immediately to avoid the ramifications of this new statute.

Last week Governor McAuliffe signed into law a bill adopted by the Virginia General Assembly that will impact the permitted substance of proffered conditions throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia – particularly as related to projects with a residential component.  The new law has the potential to significantly affect the legal positions of landowners and developers and creates new rules for all pending and contemplated proffered land use projects.  In our judgment the new law creates risks, offers some opportunities and raises important procedural considerations for proffered rezonings.  There are also nuanced exceptions to the law that may be applicable in urban or transit oriented areas of many NOVA localities.  In the coming weeks, we expect the localities to issue initial statements and positions concerning their view of the nature and extent of such exceptions.

We and our affiliated McGuireWoods Consulting legislative team have carefully followed the development of this law through the entire legislative process.  Based on our extensive experience with legislation of this type and our well-developed relationships with regulators and decision makers in all of the northern Virginia counties, cities and towns, we have a number of strategic recommendations for clients that have pending or contemplated land use applications.   Please feel free to contact any member of our land use team for further information



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When you begin the process of strategizing a potential investment property you may consider many factors including the zoning classification.  Is it zoned commercial, residential or industrial?  What are the height and density constraints?  What uses are permitted by-right versus by special permit?  You may have a vision for the parcel that is dependent on the property’s zoning classification.  However, generally speaking, you don’t have a right to the land’s current zoning classification.  A locality can amend the zoning ordinance at any time and you may be stuck with the new classification unless you have vested rights in the land use.  Which begs the question: how do your rights become vested? Continue Reading Your Property, Your (Vested) Rights?