Department of Planning and Development

703-324-1380 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 730
Fairfax, VA 22035
Daniel White
ARB Administrator

ARB Application Process & Submission Schedule

Types of Review

The ARB will review development concepts or proposals and give general guidance at an informal "workshop" session. There is no formal recommendation made by the ARB at a workshop session and the only requirement for supporting materials is that the idea be clearly presented whether in written form, drawings, or other graphic form. Supporting documentation may be provided to ARB members prior to the meeting but this is not a requirement for a workshop session.

When the ARB formally reviews more fully developed and detailed proposals, the ARB evaluates the proposed project for compatibility with the HOD. Successful projects protect the historic and contributing properties and the overall historic character of the HOD. In addition to exterior architectural design elements - such as scale, form, material, texture, and color – the ARB reviews plans for:

  • site design
  • grading 
  • clearing  
  • parking
  • travelways   
  • access points
  • landscaping
  • outdoor lighting
  • signage
  • and other site features 

As a practical matter, all elements of a proposal need not be reviewed at the same time. It is the choice of the applicant whether to prepare a single presentation, or present in multiple phases. When the formal review of each element of the proposal (e.g. site design, architectural design, landscape design) is completed, the ARB will issue a determination of either approval, approval with modifications, or disapproval for building permits, and a recommendation for approval, approval with modifications, or disapproval for site permits. The ARB determination and comments are recorded in the minutes of the meeting(s) at which the review takes place.

Two groups of submission materials are required:

  1. Materials to be submitted by the applicant to all ARB members and DPD staff prior to the meeting, and
  2. Materials to be used during the presentation before the ARB.

Based on the complexity of the proposal, the ARB, through the DPD staff administrator, may waive or modify some or all of these requirements. Contact the DPD staff administrator for ARB member contact information.

Submission Materials

An application form for the proposal should be submitted by the applicant in PLUS TWO WEEKS before the meeting at which the applicant wishes to present the proposal (see schedule below). Some ARB members require paper submissions. Paper submissions must be mailed TWO WEEKS prior to the meeting at which the applicant wishes to present the proposal. Please contact staff for the contact information for those ARB members who require paper submissions. 

Some proposals are more complex than others and the documentation presented should reflect this. At a minimum, documentation should clearly communicate to the ARB, and for the record, the nature of the proposal and its impact on the historic character of the district. DPD staff will be able to clarify this for each applicant. If the nature of the submission makes it appropriate, copies of the following should be submitted:

  1. A map showing the location of the subject property within the Historic Overlay District;
  2. Site and grading plan, including as appropriate building footprints and limits of clearing and grading, Resource Protection Area (RPA) delineation and/or Environmental Quality Corridor (EQC) limits, trails and/or other pedestrian paths; any easement boundaries and in-ground features, such as swimming pools, or unusual features such as high fences or other structures. Minimum scale should be 1" = 30'.
  3. Landscape plan, including a tabulation of the plant and tree species and size at time of planting. Minimum scale should be 1" = 30'.
  4. Architectural drawings, including elevations of all building facades and floor plans as necessary to help interpret the form of the building. Minimum scale should be 1/4" = 1' (1/8" = 1’ may be appropriate for structures larger than a single-family house). If a proposal is particularly complex, a perspective drawing may be helpful.
  5. Photographs of the subject property and adjacent land and/or development.
  6. A cross section of the subject property showing the proposed development in relation to the historic structure(s) in the historic district. This is to give an idea of what can be seen of the development from the historic site. Sight lines should be shown on this cross section and any existing or proposed vegetation within the view line should be shown.
  7. Outdoor lighting and sign plan. Provide a drawing or photograph of outdoor lighting fixtures with industry specifications and show the location of fixtures on buildings or within the development property. Provide a drawing or photograph to show the type of sign (building mounted, ground mounted) dimensions, placement, and colors. Provide industry specifications for sign lighting.
  8. Drawings of accessory features, such as street furniture, fences, retaining walls, dumpsters, showing appearance and location.

If more detailed information is available, this may be included in the package.

Samples of materials and colors. Only one set needs to be provided and it does NOT need to be sent in the package of materials to individual ARB members.

To facilitate presentations and review by the board, it may be appropriate to mount drawings on illustration or foam-core boards. Please bring your own audiovisual equipment if necessary for your presentation. Contact the DPD staff administrator if you have special needs.

As approved by the ARB, all drawings and other application materials (with the exception of actual product samples or models) should be provided to DPD staff. A copy will be retained for the record and an approved copy will be returned to the applicant for required permitting or review by other County agencies as appropriate.

For complex or phased projects, certain elements of a proposal, such as a site and grading plan, may receive preliminary approval by the ARB prior to approving all elements of a proposal. However, before a building, sign, or other construction permit may be granted by a County reviewing agency, all elements within its jurisdiction (per Section 3101 of the Zoning Ordinance) must be approved by the ARB. If the building permit submission differs in any way from that approved by the ARB, the applicant must bring all relevant materials back to the ARB for re-approval.

Submission Schedule

The Fairfax County Architectural Review Board (ARB) generally meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, in the conference rooms, unless otherwise indicated. Applicants should contact the DPD staff administrator, 703-324-1380 (TTY 711, Virginia Relay) for information on ARB procedures and to be placed on the agenda for a regularly scheduled ARB meeting. Please visit the ARB Meeting Dates & Agendas page for full meeting schedule.

For items coming to the ARB for formal review and action, applicants must provide a submission package containing supporting materials, drawings and/or plans describing the proposal to DPD staff two weeks before the meeting at which the applicant wishes to present the proposal for action. The applicant must attend the ARB meeting to present the proposal.

Lorton MOA Requirement

The Lorton/Laurel Hill Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) sets forth the review process and other requirements for properties within the MOA eligible area. Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR) and Lorton Heritage Society (LHS) should receive any materials scheduled for action at least 30 days prior to the ARB meeting at which the action is scheduled.

The ARB Administrator will forward all ARB applications within the MOA eligible area to VDHR and LHS. To meet the review process timeline stipulated in the MOA, all ARB applications within the MOA eligible area must be submitted via PLUS more than 30 days prior to the ARB meeting at which the action is scheduled. 

Refer to the table below for submission dates for the Lorton MOA eligible area. Please contact the ARB Administrator with any questions.

ARB Requirement

Materials should be submitted through the PLUS application portal.

ARB Submission Schedule for Lorton MOA Eligible Area


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