|Arlington County, Virginia’s zoning ordinance contains a number of elements that impact the development of affordable housing. The County permits certain accessory housing units in Section 5. They allow home occupations in Section 31 and address the issue of nonconforming uses in Section 35. The County’s density bonus program is contained in Section 36.
Section 5 describes residential uses in the most restricted zone in the County. In that section the County describes the conditions under which it will allow accessory residential uses or ‘family suites’. According to the ordinance, family suites are allowed, for example, if there is no more than one per dwelling, the floor area does not exceed 500 square feet, has no separate utility service and is filed with the zoning administrator.
Section 31 describes the conditions that home occupations must follow in order to comply with the Arlington code. The code delineates a number of allowed uses including artist, author, dentist, dressmaker and accountant. It also lists a number of occupations that are not allowed. These include barbershops, funeral homes, medical clinics, gift shops and dance parlor. The code requires the home occupation operator to sign a written agreement with the requirements for a home occupation. Some of the other conditions for approving a home occupation include no exterior signs, and audible noise or odor. In addition only residents may be employed in the home occupation.
Section 35 of the Arlington Code covers non-conforming uses. Arlington allows a building to be repaired or reconstructed if the damage amounts to no more than 75 percent of the value of the structure, exclusive of foundation. The code also orders the removal of all nonconforming structures in residential zones following a period of about 50 years. No such restriction is placed on residential structures in non-residential areas.
In Section 36 the County allows a 25 percent density bonus if the developer agrees to provide low- and moderate-income housing as part of the development. The housing can be constructed on site or provided by means of an in-lieu payment to the County. The County requires documentation that the reservation for low- and moderate-income will remain in place for 30 years. The County will not allow the density bonus to increase the height more than 6 stories above what would otherwise be allowed. County also allows a bonus for public infrastructure in a development.
This site was accessed in September 2003.