Land Development Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

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703-324-1780
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035

Bill Hicks,
Director

Parking Requirements for Restaurants

Introduction:

Zoning Ordinance amendment (ZO 18-469), effective January 24, 2018, redefines restaurants by deleting the terms Eating Establishment and Fast Food Restaurant, revising the definition for Quick Service Food Store, and adding new definitions. The amendment also revises the parking requirements for restaurants by switching from rates based on the number of seats and employees to rates based on square footage and by not requiring parking for up to 20 or 32 outside seats based on the size of the restaurant. In instances where the new rates would require additional parking for existing restaurants, those restaurants are grandfathered and do not have to provide parking based on the new rates unless they are expanded.

Definitions:

  • Restaurant – An establishment that prepares and sells food or beverages and which is not defined as a Carryout or Drive-through.

  • Carryout Restaurant – A restaurant that prepares and sells food or beverages, primarily for off-site consumption. There can be up to 8 seats, indoors or outdoors. An establishment with more than 8 seats (and without a drive-through) would be defined as a Restaurant.

  • Restaurant with Drive-through – Any restaurant which contains a drive-through. Just providing curb-side pickup is not considered a drive-through.

  • Quick-service Food Store – Any building that contains less than 5000 square feet of net floor area and is used for the retail sale of food and other items. The definition has been revised to emphasize the retail sale of frequently needed items as with a convenience store. A small grocery store will be defined as a retail sales establishment. Depending on the specifics of the use, a specialty food store such as a bakery may be considered retail sales, or a restaurant or carryout. Contact the Zoning Administration Division of the Department of Planning and Zoning with questions about a use or a use determination.

See Article 20 of the Zoning Ordinance for complete definitions.

All parking tabulations, including uses that are grandfathered, must use the new definitions.

 

The following table shows how to apply the new terminology to existing uses:

Previous Name

New Name

Eating Establishment

Restaurant

Fast Food Restaurant with Drive-through

Restaurant with Drive-through

Fast Food Restaurant without a Drive-through and with more than eight seats

Restaurant

Fast Food Restaurant without a Drive-through and with eight or fewer seats

Carryout Restaurant

Quick-service Food Store (convenience store)

Quick-service Food Store

Quick-service Food Store (specialty food: bakery, butcher shop etc.)

Retail Sales/Restaurant/Carryout Restaurant

Quick-service Food Store (small grocery store)

Retail Sales

 

Parking Requirements:

 

Establishments not in a Shopping Center

Use

Rate

Restaurants < 5000 SF in size

10 spaces/1,000 SF

Restaurants > 5000 SF or more

11 spaces/1,000 SF

Restaurants with Drive-through

12 spaces/1,000 SF

(no change to the stacking requirements)

Carryout Restaurants

6.5 spaces/1,000 SF

Quick-service Food Stores

6.5 spaces/1,000 SF

 

Establishments in a Shopping Center

Use

Rate

Restaurants and Restaurants with Drive-through < 5,000 SF in size

shopping center rate

(4.0 – 4.8 spaces/1,000 SF)

Restaurants > 5,000 SF

11 spaces/1,000 SF

Restaurants with Drive-through > 5,000 SF

12 spaces/1,000 SF

(no change to the stacking requirements)

Carryout Restaurants

shopping center rate

(4.0 – 4.8 spaces/1,000 SF)

Quick-service Food Stores

shopping center rate

(4.0 – 4.8 spaces/1,000 SF)

 

All parking tabulations must use the new parking requirements unless the uses are grandfathered. Existing restaurants are grandfathered only if the new parking rates would result in the requirement for additional parking. Any expansion that increases the seating capacity will nullify the grandfathering as described in the section on Grandfathering.

 

Outdoor seating:

Outdoor seats can be excluded from parking calculations for restaurants or restaurants with drive-throughs up to the limits listed below:

  • Up to 20 seats for establishments with less than 5000 sq. ft. (indoor area)

  • Up to 32 seats can be excluded for establishments with 5000 sq. ft. or more.

Any seats above these limits must be parked based on the square footage of the area associated with the tables and chairs.

 

Grandfathering:

If the parking rates adopted with ZO 18-469 would result in the requirement for additional parking, the following are grandfathered:

  1. Special exceptions, rezonings, and parking reductions that were approved prior to January 24, 2018, when such approvals contain a specific parking rate or minimum number of parking spaces, and any Building Permits and site plans submitted pursuant to such special exceptions, rezonings, and parking reductions. Amendments to such special exceptions or rezonings may be approved, provided that, if any new uses or expansions increase seating capacity, parking will be calculated for the entire establishment based on the Zoning Ordinance rates in effect at the time of submission unless a parking reduction is approved by the Board.

  2. Applications for Building Permits, parking tabulations, and site plans submitted on or before January 24, 2018, provided: (a) such permit is issued, or such tabulation or plan is approved within twelve months of submission or the return of the initial submission to the applicant or agent; (b) the permit, tabulation, or plan remains valid; (c) Building Permits for the structures shown on the approved plan are issued; and (d) the structures and uses are constructed in accordance with such Building Permits, tabulations, and plans. Revisions to such permit, tabulation, or plan may be approved provided that, if any new uses or expansions increase seating capacity, parking will calculated for the entire establishment based on the Zoning Ordinance rates in effect at the time of submission.

  3. Lawfully existing eating establishments and fast food restaurants as of January 24, 2018, or grandfathered pursuant to paragraph (2) above regardless of changes in ownership or tenant layout; however, any expansion or enlargement of such eating establishment or fast food restaurant that increases seating capacity shall require parking to be calculated for the entire establishment at the Zoning Ordinance rates in effect at the time of submission.

 

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