Department of Planning and Development

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 730
Fairfax, VA 22035

Denice Dressel,
ARB Administrator

Historic Overlay Districts

In 1969, the Board of Supervisors amended the Zoning Ordinance creating thirteen Historic Overlay Districts to provide regulations over and above the regular zoning protection to better protect those unique areas, sites, and buildings that are of special architectural, historic, or archaeological value to local residents and visitors. The Districts promote the general welfare, education, and recreational pleasure of the public, through the perpetuation of those general areas or individual structures and premises that have been officially designated by the Board of Supervisors as having historic, architectural, or cultural significance.  

Regulations within the districts are intended to protect against destruction of or encroachment upon such areas, structures, and premises; to encourage uses which will lead to their continuance, conservation, and improvement in a manner appropriate to the preservation of the cultural, social, economic, political, architectural, or archaeological heritage of the County; to prevent creation of environmental influences adverse to such purposes; and to assure that new structures and uses within such districts will be in keeping with the character to be preserved and enhanced.

These heritage resources continue to be recognized as major contributors to the quality of life in Fairfax County and to its reputation as one of the major centers for cultural tourism in Virginia and the United States.


On July 15, 2002, Fairfax County received the title to the former D.C. Department of Corrections facility at Lorton. The transfer was made possible through the Lorton Technical Corrections Act which was passed by Congress in October 1998, and required the county to develop a Reuse Plan that would maximize use of land for open space, parkland or recreation prior to the county acquiring the property. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) sets forth the review process and other requirements for the redevelopment of the property. The MOA signatories include the General Services Administration, Fairfax County, the Fairfax County Park Authority, Fairfax County Public Schools, the South County Federation, the Lorton Heritage Society, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

The review process requires that for alterations to the exterior of a contributing structure, demolition of a contributing structure, new construction within the Lorton/Laurel Hill Eligible District, re-grading or landscaping of 2,500 square feet or more, plans, photographs and other pertinent documentation must be submitted to the ARB. The documentation submitted shall meet or exceed the minimum standards required by the ARB for review of a project within a locally-designated Fairfax County historic overlay district. Copies of the documentation shall be simultaneously forwarded by the ARB to the LHS and VDHR. LHS and VDHR shall have thirty (30) days prior to the meeting of the ARB to provide comment in writing on the proposed undertaking to the ARB. Upon expiration of the thirty (30) day period, or receipt of comments from both VDHR and LHS, the undertaking may be placed on the agenda of the ARB for review according to the procedures and regulations of the ARB.

Laurel Hill National Register and MOA Eligible Tax Map

ARB Application Process & Submission Schedule

Potential Historic Overlay Districts

The following potential Historic Overlay Districts are currently under review:

Hollin Hills

Holmes Run Acres

Related Resources

Historic Overlay Districts Locator Map

Historic Overlay Districts Map Booklet

Overlay District Regulations

Historic Overlay District Design Guidelines

Historic Overlay District / Architectural Review Board (ARB) Frequently Asked Questions

Fairfax Virtual Assistant