An Overview of the Planning, Zoning & Development Review Process Within CRD/CRAs

On October 12, 1998, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors amended the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance to create five (5) Commercial Revitalization Districts (CRDs) within Fairfax County; two (2) areas of the County were designated as Commercial Revitalization Areas (CRAs) within the Comprehensive Plan, but not designated as districts in the Zoning Ordinance. The purpose of these designations is to encourage the improved economic viability, appearance and function of these areas through quality new development, rehabilitation and/or redevelopment.

The CRDs are Zoning Ordinance overlay districts that provide for greater flexibility in applying certain zoning regulations, allow for the use of facilitated administrative procedures to expedite the development review process, and establish distinct urban design measures for streetscape and landscaping. The CRAs do not have separate zoning overlay districts, but are eligible for the facilitated administrative procedures and can take advantage of certain of the CRD Zoning Ordinance provisions.

Background - Regulatory Provisions

In an effort to enhance opportunities for redevelopment and investment in older commercial areas, changes to the Zoning Ordinance and development processes were adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 1998. The adopted Zoning Ordinance revisions recognize that redevelopment and rehabilitation efforts in these areas are especially challenged by parcels that may be encumbered with underutilized or dilapidated structures, lot configurations and size which may require special consideration to alleviate constraints and/or consolidation to become suitable for development, and the need for appropriate transitions to adjacent residential areas.

The provisions of the CRDs are intended to accommodate renovations and changes to existing developments, as well as to foster redevelopment and new investment. The adopted regulations allow flexibility for administrative approvals of reduced front yards, parking requirements; transitional screening and parking lot landscaping requirements, and greater FAR, building heights and office use in certain districts, if such are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Some of these provisions apply only in the retail commercial districts (C-6 through C-9), which are the predominant zoning districts found in the five CRDs (see Sections 2-418 and 9-622).

Benefits of Developing in a CRD or CRA

  • Priority Processing of Zoning Applications
  • Expedited Scheduling of Zoning Applications
  • External Coordination
  • Facilitated Review of Zoning Applications
  • Facilitated Review of Site Plans
  • Concurrent Processing of a Comprehensive Plan Amendment and a Zoning Application
  • Concurrent Processing of a Site Plan and a Rezoning or Special Exception Application
  • Building Plan Review, Permit and Inspection Process
    • Commercial Fast Track Program (Expanded)
    • Annual Permit Program for Minor Renovations
    • Modified Plan Processing for New Construction and Additions

Download the Full Overview of Planning, Zoning & Development Review Process Within CRD/CRAs Booklet.

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