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The Arlington County Board held a work session on July 11th to review and provide feedback on the Residential Parking Working Group’s recommendations for parking minimums in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Jefferson Davis Highway corridors.

The group recommended establishing parking minimums in these corridors based on the residential project’s proximity to the Metro. The parking minimums are as follows:

  • 0.2 spaces per unit for buildings located up to 1/8 of a mile from the Metro
  • 0.3 spaces per unit for buildings located up to 1/4 of a mile from the Metro
  • 0.4 spaces per unit for buildings located up to 1/2 of a mile from the Metro
  • 0.5 spaces per unit for buildings located up to 3/4 of a mile from the Metro
  • 0.6 spaces per unit for buildings located in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Jefferson Davis corridors that are more than 3/4 of a mile from the Metro.

On June 17th, the Arlington County Board approved an amendment to Arlington’s Zoning Ordinance allowing greater aggregate sign area for certain properties with retail.

The adopted amendment—which applies to buildings with comprehensive sign plans in commercial/mixed-use zoning districts—would increase the allowed aggregate sign area for retailers facing publicly accessible plazas. It would also increase the maximum size of blade signs.

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.

November 4, 2016
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Effectively immediately, The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has implemented new owner-occupancy rules regarding existing condominium developments.  The owner-occupancy requirement for most projects has been lowered from 50% to 35%.  The lower percentage only applies, however, if certain requirements are met: applications must be submitted under the HUD Review and Approval Process option, owners need to provide documentation of an account showing at least 20% of the budget is allocated for replacement reserves for capital expenditures and deferred maintenance, and HOA fees cannot be in arrears for more than 10% of the units. 

The current 30% owner-occupancy requirement for proposed projects, projects currently under construction, and existing projects less than one year old will remain in effect. 

For more information, you can view the FHA’s rule here.

The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has no shortage of airplanes flying over the region. There is also no shortage of developers and landowners who want to create the region’s landmark buildings and skyscrapers which may fall within flight paths. These developers would rightfully be concerned that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a change to its One Engine Inoperative (OEI) policy that could affect building height limits. The current proposal would allow the FAA to work with airport owners to define an OEI departure area from the runway.

The question of exactly what triggers a requirement for a contractor’s license comes up frequently in my practice.  Like many other things in the law, the answer is not particularly clear and can be somewhat circular.  Still, there are some practical signposts that provide definition and allow for some risk analysis.

Chesapeake Bay BridgeLast week EPA issued its "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay. The total maximum daily load (TDML) of various materials is established by EPA in the diet and includes a 25% reduction in nitrogen, a 24% reduction in phosphorous, and a 20% reduction in sediment according to Engineering News Record (subscription only). The plan also includes annual total watershed limits.

Per a request made by Delegate Christopher Peace (R - 97th District, who represents parts of Hanover, Caroline, King William, King and Queen, Henrico, Spotsylvania Counties and all of New Kent County), Attorney General Cuccinelli has clarified the position of the AG's office about the newly enacted Section 15.2-2303.1:1 of the Code of Virginia, which prohibits localities from collecting conditional zoning cash proffers.  As many of our readers recall, the General Assembly passed Section 15.2-2303.1:1 this past legislative session which, through July 1, 2014, prohibits localities from requiring payment of cash proffers until after completion of final inspections and prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy for residential development in order to alleviate the financial hardship currently being experienced by the residential building and development community.  A number of localities in Virginia have taken the position that this statute does not apply to proffers made prior to the enactment of 15.2-2303.1:1, prompting the opinion requested by Delegate Peace.

broken silt fenceThe US EPA was forced to withdraw a portion of its proposed storm water management regulations in the context of a pending court challenge by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and other parties.  In the pending appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the EPA filed an unopposed motion to vacate part of its final rule regarding "Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development Point Source Category".

Chesapeake Bay WatershedThe Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of developing proposed national rulemaking to strengthen its stormwater program. The proposed rulemaking, which was previously announced in the Federal Register on Dec. 28, 2009, could dramatically alter the playing field for development of all types.

This is particularly true in the D.C. region given its placement in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The EPA has recently proposed sediment limits for the Chesapeake Bay in addition to previously issued limits for nitrogen and phosphorous.