MODERNIZATION OF FAIRFAX COUNTY'S ZONING ORDINANCE
Fairfax County launched a major initiative to modernize its zoning ordinance that was first established 40 years ago. Dubbed “zMod,” the effort will help the county carry out its strategic plan to grow and diversify its economy. The modernization plan was presented on Tuesday, March 28, at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Development Process Committee.
“We want to be sure that our ordinance is forward thinking in terms of being able to accommodate uses that we don’t know about today that will be here in the future,” said Barbara Byron, director of the Office of Community Revitalization, who will lead the project in collaboration with the Department of Planning and Zoning. zMod will work in tandem with the county’s existing process for amending its zoning laws by prioritizing proposed changes of county-wide significance.
The first phase focuses on three key areas:
- Prioritizing key zoning ordinance amendments for updates.
- Reformatting and restructuring the ordinance to make it more user-friendly, such as including more charts, tables, and links.
- Improving the county’s overall process for how the zoning ordinance is updated.
Three amendments will be prioritized:
- Updating minor modification provisions to make them more flexible, allowing the county to more efficiently approve minor changes to proffers and development conditions.
- Updating the regulations for planned development housing districts.
- Reviewing use definitions to create more generic categories to accommodate current, emerging and future uses, like makerspaces, urban farming, and live-work units.
- To help implement zMod, the county plans to hire consultant services, and the county executive’s proposed FY 18 budget includes two new staff positions to work on the project.