The Embark Richmond Highway Advisory Group met for its 16th meeting on April 24th. The Advisory Group reviewed a 2040 transportation land use analysis prepared by FCDOT. FCDOT estimates ridership of the proposed bus rapid transit system will reach 18,000 daily trips under the land use plan the Advisory Group is considering. The Advisory Group also heard presentations on heritage resources, parks and recreation, and stormwater management from various Fairfax County staff members. Sightlines from historic structures and open space were discussed as issues in need of further consideration as the planning process moves forward. Staff still anticipates releasing a draft plan in September and public hearings in January/February 2018.


On March 14, 2017, the Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to the Tysons PTC Zoning District that eliminated the FAR maximum of 2.5 for certain uses located within a Transit Oriented Development that is up to one fourth a mile from a Metro Rail Station.  All non-office uses are now generally not subject to an FAR limitation and the appropriate density is determined based on site specific guidelines otherwise contained in the Plan.  This amendment provides needed flexibility to help implement evolving mixed use concepts and eliminates what was proving to be a somewhat arbitrary restriction in favor a more appropriate performance based approach with respect to traffic and other impacts.


Embark Richmond Map

The Embark Richmond Highway Advisory Group met Monday morning (02/27) for its 14th meeting and continued its discussion of staff’s transportation impacts analysis for the proposed bus rapid transit system along US Highway 1.  The Embark Richmond Highway planning process represents a significant opportunity to embrace future transit options and reposition property for density or uses that may not be reflected in the the current Plan.  Staff intends to begin drafting text for the comprehensive plan in this spring, so now is the time to think strategically about specific sites or opportunities that can be addressed in this process.


Embark Richmond Highway is an ongoing Fairfax County effort to plan greater transit oriented development along the Richmond Highway Corridor. The Embark Richmond Highway planning initiative began in May of 2015. We anticipate staff will recommend creating several bus rapid transit stations along Richmond Highway and plan the area around those stations as Community Business Centers, which would permit a greater level of density than is currently provided for in the Comprehensive Plan. Staff anticipates releasing station area concept plans between April-June 2017, drafting comprehensive plan recommendations between July-September 2017 and bringing the plan before Board of Supervisors in January or February of 2018. If you have property or are exploring opportunities along this portion of the Richmond Highway (see map), please contact us to discuss the particulars of your position. It is imperative that interested property owners engage with the County prior to this summer because it will be difficult to modify draft comprehensive plan recommendations once staff begins releasing them to the public.

Embark Richmond Map



The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently adopted a Policy Plan Amendment that will potentially open industrial planned areas County-wide by providing additional FAR for Data Center and Self-Storage uses.  This much needed amendment, which was adopted and developed largely in response to concerns raised by McGuireWoods for a key client, creates a new policy that allows the Board to increase the potential FAR to a 1.0 for these uses based largely on the lower-impact these uses generate in terms of traffic and County services.  The amendment requires a development site be located in an industrially planned and zoned district and meet certain criteria involving transportation, noise mitigation, building design, lot size or parcel consolidation, and site design in order to achieve the greater intensity. The text of the new amendment can be found here:


Please contact any member of the McGuireWoods team if you have questions about how this amendment may apply to a site.

The Silverline corridor continues to evolve at a rapid pace. On December the 6th McGuireWoods, on behalf of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, secured approval of a comprehensive set of land use approvals that will remake the south side of the Wiehle/Reston East station from an un-amenitized suburban office park to a vibrant mixed use center offering more than 1.4M square feet of residential, office retail and hotel space. The project also features an extensive plazas and gathering spaces along with new bicycle and pedestrian amenities. The project was conceptualized and evolved in close coordination with Fairfax County and community stakeholders and serves the implement the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan that were developed over an extensive five year exercise. The project is also noteworthy in its retention and enhancement of the existing office buildings, further showing that meaningful redevelopment can occur alongside functioning existing uses. For additional information please contact Gregory Riegle at






The Old Town North Small Area Plan Advisory Group will meet on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 and a community meeting will be held the following day December 15, 2016. Staff has begun releasing draft chapters of the revised small area plan to the Advisory Group. The City intends to send the new small area plan to Planning Commission and City Council for approval in March of 2017. Property owners in Old Town North should review these drafts chapters now to protect their interests. More information can be found here:

The North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan Advisory Group, established to allow for community engagement of proposed amendments to the 2010 North Potomac Yard Small Area Plan, will meet on January 31, 2017 to discuss transportation. The Advisory Group has been meeting since April 2016 to discuss topics such as land use, open space, housing, etc. in the context of proposed amendments to facilitate the redevelopment of the Hoyts theater site east of Potomac Avenue. Future Advisory Group meetings are scheduled to take place on February 13th and March 20th.  The Advisory Group will continue discussing the amendments until March of 2017 when a working draft of the small area plan amendments will be available. The amendments to the small area plan will be sent to Planning Commission and City Council for approval in May or June 2017. More information can be found here:

On March 29th, Fairfax County held a kick off meeting to start the Dulles Suburban Center Planning Study.  Members of the McGuireWoods team were present. 

 The Dulles Suburban Center extends generally south from the Dulles Toll Road through the entirely of the Route 28 corridor to Westfields and points south.  The study area includes thousands of acres of very strategic real estate.  This planning study represents an important opportunity to add value to land that has generally not been evaluated in planning and zoning processes for decades. Much of this real estate has historically been planned and zoned exclusively for office uses.  The study is a timely and overdue opportunity to reevaluate planning and zoning recommendations based on the well documented shift in the demands for office and the concurrent recognition of the benefits of a broader mix of uses.  

 Procedurally, the County has established a May 31st deadline to submit nominations for land use changes within the study area.  Such nominations can be made by owners and potential developers and contract purchasers.  There is no fee to make such a nomination.  We encourage owners and developers to  take a careful and strategic look at potential opportunities in this important corridor.



SliverLineCPAM_Page_5The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors initiated the plan amendment process for properties around the two Loudoun Metro stations on March 17.  The board’s motion included plan boundaries, shown above, and a detailed schedule leading to adoption of a plan amendment in November 2016.  The eight phase process will allow landowners to present ideas for future development.

The county planning staff is recommending adoption of a form-based code to regulate development within the small area plan, along with urban design guidelines and recommendations for changes to the Countywide Transportation Plan.  Staff noted it intends to have Shellhorn Road and adjacent roads reflect the alignments previously endorsed by the Board.

Stakeholder meetings will begin in April and interested property owners need to engage early.


Fairfax County is about take a comprehensive look at planning and zoning recommendations for the Dulles Suburban Center.

For context, the Dulles Suburban Center extends north/south along the Route 28 corridor from the CIT to Westfields and west to the Loudoun County line.  The collective corridor contains a number of very strategic real estate opportunities.  The planning process will kick off on March 29th 2016.   Subsequent to that kick off meeting, there will be a “window” for owners and potential developers to submit “ideas” for more specific consideration.  This corridor has been heavily affected by structural shifts in the office and commercial real estate markets and this process is an critical  opportunity to add value to assets that may be under performing, or otherwise need repositioning.  Our land use team has extensive history and experience in this corridor going back to the formation of the Route 28 Task District.  If you would like to discuss opportunities in this corridor, or participate in this process, please contact me or any member of our land use team.