About Planning & Zoning

Welcome to the Department of Planning and Zoning!

Page updated on Sep 7, 2021 at 8:39 AM

Department Vision

The Department of Planning and Zoning works closely with communities to carry out the City's Strategic Plan, fostering amenity-rich, service-oriented and equity-balanced neighborhoods; protecting historic and cultural resources; and supporting diverse and creative businesses. In developing neighborhood plans, reviewing development proposals, and promoting economic vitality, we continue our commitment to collaborate with all stakeholder groups to honor the character of each neighborhood and to strengthen and sustain them, and Alexandria as a whole, for now and in the future.  

In support of these objectives, the Department maintains and analyzes demographic and economic data, providing urban design assistance for City and private development projects and expertise to the public related to zoning and development requirements, future trends, and development and market activity. Planning and Zoning is also responsible for developing and administering the City's Master Plan , the Zoning Ordinance and coordinates with other City agencies to develop the Long Range Planning Interdepartmental Work Program.  

Planning and Zoning Values

  • Walkability/Accessibility
    • The ability to have safe and comfortable, equitable and consistent pedestrian connections with continuous improvement of our environment through buildings and infrastructure.
  • Green
    • Create a balance of diverse, accessible, and quality green spaces and achieve net improvement of our environment through buildings and infrastructure.
  • Connections
    • We recognize the importance of available public and private spaces that foster social connections and satisfy basic needs.  
  • Equity
    • We plan with equitable solutions in mind by continuously seeking innovative ways to hear from all voices within the community and use that information to balance competing interests.
  • Balance
    • We balance tradition and innovation to deliver consistent, clear, efficient and fair interpretations and application of the City’s policies and regulations.
  • Vibrancy
    • We are focused on a sustainable, and vibrant future for Alexandria.  We will be open, inclusive, bold and creative in our planning and design.
  • People-focused Design
    • Our work is to focus on excellence in design of spaces and buildings that improve people’s quality of life.
  • Sense of Place and Community
    • We partner with other departments and the community to create safe, livable and well-designed neighborhoods while protecting cultural and environmental resources.
  • Supportive Work Environment
    • We encourage a fun and healthy work environment that fosters teamwork, respect, and fairness in order to achieve personal and professional growth.  

Divisions and Functions

  • Development Review

    The Development Review Division retains and enhances Alexandria’s quality of life by ensuring that development proposals are consistent with the City's Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance; have high-quality building design, urban design and site planning; are taken through the review process in a fair, consistent, and timely manner; and provide an overall public benefit. 

  • Land Use Regulatory Services

    The Land Use Regulatory Services Division includes Zoning Review, Zoning Enforcement, SUP Administration, and Historic Preservation.

    The Zoning Administration Group administers and enforces the City’s zoning and subdivision regulations. Staff provides zoning analysis to City agencies, residents, architects, engineers and builders, and reviews and approves construction permits and business licenses for compliance with the Zoning Ordinance and manages administration of all Special Use Permit (SUP) applications whether reviewed administratively or by the Planning Commission. Zoning Inspectors respond to resident complaints and inspect property for zoning and SUP violations. In addition, Zoning staff provides support to the Board of Zoning Appeals, a quasi‐judicial citizen appointed board that hears requests for variances, special exceptions and appeals.

    Historic Preservation staff ensures compliance with historic district requirements through the review and approval of applications for changes to structures in the City's historic districts and reviews of proposals for new structures in those districts in order to maintain the high-quality reputation and character of the City's historic buildings. The Historic Preservation staff also conducts inventories of historic structures and provides guidance to homeowners and other building owners seeking to reinvest in the city’s historic neighborhoods.

  • Neighborhood Planning and Community Development

    The Neighborhood Planning and Community Development (NPCD) Division includes 1) Small Area Planning, Citywide and Master Planning, and Major Studies; 2) Plan Implementation; and 3) Demographic Analysis and Forecasts. NPCD provides community-based long range planning and analysis regarding the physical development and appearance of the city; develops and implements the long-range planning work program; manages plan implementation to achieve planned growth and economic development; and advises other agencies on land use, design, demographics, and other planning issues. In all of these tasks, outreach is a key element of the process.

    NPCD staff works with the community to create Small Area Plans, building consensus on a vision for the future to ensure that Plans reflect community goals and expectations. Small Area Plans (which together with other citywide chapters make up the City's Master Plan) serve as the fundamental framework to guide development review and establish the quality, public benefits, and economic value with new development. 

More Information 

Contact Information

Questions? Call the Department of Planning and Zoning, 703.746.4666 or visit Room 2100 at City Hall, 301 King Street. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

>>Back to PZ Home page