By-Right Development

By right development refers to projects that are permitted under their current zoning, and do not require any legislative action by the Board of Supervisors or the Board of Zoning Appeals. They are approved administratively, and do not require public hearings.

The Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance designates five areas of the County as Commercial Revitalization Districts (CRD). There are also two Commercial Revitalization Areas (CRA) within the County. The purpose of these designations is to encourage economic development activities in certain of the older commercial areas of the County.

Zoning Ordinance Provisions

Separate provisions are included in the Zoning Ordinance for each of the five CRDs These provisions overlay the regulations of the underlying zoning district, which means that a parcel of land is subject to the zoning regulations of the district in which it is located, as modified by the regulations of the CRD.

The CRD provisions of the Zoning Ordinance acknowledge that redevelopment efforts in revitalization areas are often challenged by the existing or previous uses or constrained by lot size or configuration. The provisions were adopted to encourage redevelopment through enhanced flexibility in relevant zoning regulations and administrative processes.

Highlights of CRD Provisions for By Right Development

  • Allows a height increase from 40 feet to 50 feet in the C-6 and C-8 Districts.
  • Reduces the minimum front yard in all commercial districts to 20 feet or as set forth in the Comprehensive Plan.
  • Provides that the open space requirements do not apply to the expansions/enlargements of existing uses, as long as there is no decrease in the amount of existing open space.
  • Permits 20% parking requirement reduction for all non-residential uses when such a reduction is in furtherance of the goals of the CRD as set forth in the Comprehensive Plan. Requires administrative approval by the Board of Supervisors.
  • Allows 20% parking requirement reduction by right for all non-residential uses in the Richmond Highway CRD.
  • Allows for the approval of off-site parking for non-residential uses within 500 feet walking distance of building entrance or with use of valet parking or shuttle service.
  • Allows ground level parking to be located closer than 10 feet from a front lot line.
  • Allows non-conforming signs to be removed and replaced with smaller signs.
  • Allows specific reductions and modifications to parking lot landscaping, screening, and tree cover requirements for expansions/enlargements of existing uses.
  • Allows modifications to required site plan improvements for construction of service drives and road dedication and construction for certain expansions.
  • Allows abbreviated Best Management Practice exception process with no application fee for certain minor site plans.
  • Although the Zoning Ordinance does not include specific provisions for Lake Anne and Merrifield, the CRA designation does allow for facilitated administrative procedures and zoning ordinance provisions relating to area identification signage. In addition, the 20% parking requirement reduction is permitted in Lake Anne.

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