On February 20, 2018, the Board of Supervisors lowered the amount of parking required for offices, condos, apartments and retail near transit stations outside of Tysons. The parking requirements near the Tysons metro stations were lowered eight years ago, and included limits on the amount of parking that could be built with new developments as part of the county’s plan to transform the area into a walkable, transit-oriented, urban center. The changes to the county’s zoning rules don’t put a cap on parking like in Tysons, but they lower the minimum required.
Officials said the change reflects the reality of transit-oriented development. There’s less demand for parking at offices and apartments near Metro stations due to the easy access to transit. Developers have regularly sought board approval for lower rates for these projects as part of rezonings. The new lower rates will eliminate the time and effort spent by both developers and the board on these requests. The change also helps to speed up time to market for developers, a key goal for the county’s strategic plan to boost the economy.
The new minimums for offices are based on the distance from the Metro stations. The rate is 2.0 parking spaces per thousand square feet of gross floor area for offices located up to a quarter mile from a rail stop. For offices beyond this distance, the minimum is 2.3 spaces. The rates outside of transit station area are from 2.6 spaces to 3.6 spaces based on the size of the building.
The new minimum for condos and apartments is now based on the number of bedrooms, and it ranges from 1.3 parking spaces for studios and one bedrooms up to 1.6 spaces for three or more bedrooms. The previous minimum was 1.6 spaces per condo or apartment unit and remains at 1.6 outside of transit station areas. The changes to the county’s zoning rules also include a 20 percent reduction in the parking required for retail near the Metro stations.
The new parking requirements for offices, condos and apartments were developed through a review of what the board has been approving with rezonings, rates in other local jurisdictions and parking counts at existing sites in the County. The new parking requirements are designed to provide enough parking without requiring an oversupply. As in Tysons, too much parking takes up valuable land that could be used for housing, shops or offices near transit. The average parking space takes 330 square feet including access aisles. UCLA’s parking economist Donald Shoup calculates that it costs $31,000 on average to build one underground parking space and $24,000 for an above ground one. These costs ultimately drive up the costs for housing.
Public Information Officer
Fairfax County Land Development Services
12055 Government Center Pkwy., Suite 659
Fairfax, VA 22035