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Arlington County Board Holds Work Session with Planning Commission to Discuss Upcoming Projects
Arlington County Board Holds Work Session with Planning Commission to Discuss Upcoming Projects

The Arlington County Board held a work session this week with representatives from the Planning Division and Planning Commission to discuss projects and priorities for the coming year. This work session provided an opportunity for County Board members to interact with the planning department and ask questions about future planning projects and initiatives.

In the upcoming year, the County plans to complete four General Land Use Plan (“GLUP”) studies and a five-year review of the Comprehensive Plan. The County also plans to complete the Four Mile Run Valley Planning Program and the Courthouse Square Plan Addendum Implementation. The Planning Division will also be supporting the Housing Division with completing reports and recommendations for Market-Rate Affordable Units (“MARKs”) and Affordable Dwelling Units (“ADUs.”) It was also discussed that the Lee Highway Planning Initiative will be a major focus for the Planning Division in the coming years. Finally, it is expected that changes will be made to the County’s sign regulations to comply with recent case law decisions.

Several issues were discussed between Board members and staff. A major focus of discussion involved ADUs and whether new rules should be adopted for nonconforming single-family homes. Board members and staff both were interested in clarifying the rules for nonconforming structures in single-family neighborhoods to allow greater flexibility to encourage residents and young families to make changes and renovate their properties and remain in Arlington rather than moving to larger properties elsewhere. Board members also pushed staff to expedite their studies and recommendations on MARKs and ADUs as these issues have been on the table for many years in the County.

Another topic of discussion involved whether to include public facilities, such as schools, on the Comprehensive Plan. There was some concern that the state code requires certain elements to be shown on the Plan and that Arlington was required to follow these provisions. There was also a discussion that the County would like to strengthen the connection between the Comprehensive Plan and its implementation through site plans and special exceptions. This will include citations to the Comprehensive Plan and related documents in staff reports and recommendations related to site plan and special exception projects.