May 28, 2024

Fairfax County Prepares to Realign Development Policies with New "Plan Forward" Initiative

Holland & Knight Alert
David I. Schneider | Anthony W. DeLorenzo

Fairfax County government recently announced a new multiyear planning initiative to modernize the Virginia county's Policy Plan, a key component of its Comprehensive Plan. This effort, called "Plan Forward," will focus on realigning the policies contained in the Policy Plan with the policies adopted in several recently adopted plans, including the Countywide Strategic Plan, One Fairfax Policy, Resilient Fairfax, and the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Strategy.

Fairfax County's Comprehensive Plan consists of three components: 1) the Policy Plan, 2) four Area Plan volumes and 3) a Plan Map. The Policy Plan volume includes general countywide policy on land use, transportation, housing, the environment, heritage resources, economic development and public facilities. The Area Plans and Plan Map together provide long-range planning recommendations organized by geographic areas of the county.

The Plan Forward effort will be split into two phases, with each phase addressing the following policy areas:


Phase 1

Phase 2

  • Preface
  • Land Use
  • Transportation
  • Environment
  • Parks and Recreation
  • New: Community Health, Equity
  • Housing
  • Economic Development
  • Heritage Resources
  • Revitalization
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Chesapeake Bay Supplement

Stakeholders interested in the development process in Fairfax County should take note of the Plan Forward effort as these Policy Plan amendments will become part of the evaluation factors of future entitlements. Potential impacts include, but are not limited to, characteristics of neighborhood compatibility and green building expectations.

County staff kicked off a community engagement effort for Plan Forward by announcing a multitude of community meetings strategically located around the county. The community engagement effort will take place throughout 2024 – commencing with a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 29, 2024, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Southgate Community Center in Reston, Virginia. Public hearings for Phase 1 are tentatively scheduled for summer or fall 2025.

If you have any questions regarding the proposed zoning ordinance amendment, please contact the authors or another member of Holland & Knight's Mid-Atlantic Land Use Team.

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your Holland & Knight representative or other competent legal counsel.

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