Click on a question below to expand.
While some targeted amendments occurred within the past 30 years, Fairfax County has not fully reviewed our parking requirements since the 1980’s. Since then, development and transportation patterns in the County have changed significantly. Communities have become more densely developed and transportation methods have evolved in response to technological and societal changes. We need to imagine how these changes can be reflected in our ordinance and think about what regulations should be adjusted for future use and development.
Off-street parking is currently regulated by the provisions of Article 6 of the Zoning Ordinance. Article 6 regulates how many parking spaces are required for different land uses and how parking is laid out or designed.
Our project is looking at off-street parking which is regulated by the Zoning Ordinance. This is parking you would find at a grocery store, shopping center, at workplaces, located in a parking garage or an open lot. Another agency, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT), is studying on-street parking. FCDOT also manages programs such as Residential Permit Parking, commercial vehicle parking, and other on-street programs. For more information regarding on-street parking, residential permit parking, residential permit parking and commercial vehicle parking, please visit FCDOT’s parking webpage.
When the term ‘rightsizing parking’ is used, it means that we are looking for ways to require that new development builds parking that fits current demand and evolving trends. If many times there’s too little parking, this creates a clear problem. However, too much parking also creates problems including wasting land area, discouraging walking and biking, creating heat islands and storm runoff, and increasing the cost of housing and other development.
Parking doesn’t just affect the driver of a car who wants to park at a shopping center. Parking can also affect the price you pay for goods and services, the affordability of a home, or the livability of a community. The decisions we make to require and build parking impact the quality of life in our community. These decisions must be balanced between providing space for automobiles and supporting County goals related to equity, affordability, environment stewardship, community design, and economics.
Loading spaces are provided for vehicles delivering and picking up goods from commercial, office or residential property. The number of loading spaces are based on the type of land use, size of the use, and the uses demand for loading spaces. As an example, a warehousing use requires more loading spaces than a bank or financial use. As noted above, on-street loading spaces are regulated by VDOT and not part of this project.
Stacking spaces provide for vehicles waiting in line at a drive-through use. The requirement differs based on the use and it is intended to have enough stacking spaces to avoid cars backed up onto public streets, impacting traffic.
Fairfax County is geographically and demographically diverse. Certain areas of the County resemble large cities such as Tysons, while other areas of the County remain rural, such as Clifton. As such a “one size fits all” approach is not always appropriate. In response, parking in certain areas of the County is regulated differently. Required parking in the Planned Tysons Corner (PTC) District and Transit Station Areas (TSAs) varies based on proximity to Metro stations. Areas of the county located in Commercial Revitalization Districts (CRDs), are permitted to reduce required parking to support economic development activities in these older commercial areas of the County. The comprehensive review of Article 6 will include research on appropriate parking rates for differing areas of the County, as well as flexibility to allow for reduced parking when deemed necessary.
Beginning in Fall 2021, we will create a diverse working group including residents, business owners/operators, and community organization members, to provide information and feedback on possible changes. We will also engage the community in various ways to receive their feedback regarding current and future parking regulations. Our goal with community outreach is to connect with and listen to as many diverse groups as possible.
The parking amendment website will have an updated list of future public meetings, information from past meetings, and other resources related to the Parking Reimagined project.