Land Use Services

The Land Use Services Division works with residents, businesses, developers and government agencies to implement the community’s established vision for the future. By consistently interpreting, applying and enforcing local zoning regulations, the Division ensures development and land use is compatible with surrounding areas to preserve our high quality of life, maintain the unique character of neighborhoods and commercial corridors, and promote a healthy and safe community.

Page updated on May 27, 2020 at 9:59 AM


  • Announcing Temporary Programs for Restaurant Outdoor Dining Areas

    Governor Northam's Forward Virginia guidelines anticipate that Northern Virginia will enter Phase 1 of reopening on May 29, 2020. As Alexandria prepares for Phase 1, the City is working with restaurants to safely comply with the social distancing requirement. Phase 1 reopening requirements impose restrictions such as limiting the number of people who can occupy a space and requiring separation between customers and tables. In Phase 1, restaurants can only accommodate 50% of their normal capacity and must serve customers outside.  

     To assist restaurants who have limited (or no) outdoor seating, the City is instituting a program to make it easy to create or expand outdoor seating on sidewalks, within on-street parking spaces, and on private land, including parking lots. The City’s Department of Planning and Zoning is taking the lead on processing requests 

    Phase 1 allows restaurants to operate outdoor dining beginning on May 29, 2020. A six-foot minimum distance between parties at tables must be maintained and the seating plan must provide physical distancing from areas, such as sidewalks, outside of the dining area. Given the distancing requirement, the City provides restaurant operators with opportunities to temporarily expand outdoor dining areas and accommodate customers in a safe manner. Pursuant to the City’s Continuity of Government Ordinance, the City Manager is temporarily suspending enforcement of certain code requirements for the use of the public right-of way – on-street parking spaces, sidewalks, parking lots – for outdoor dining. Likewise, enforcement is temporarily suspended for the expansion of outdoor dining areas on private property, including the use of off-street parking spaces, normally required to comply with the Zoning Ordinance requirements. 

    Requests must be reviewed the Department of Planning & Zoning prior to setting up the alternative areas for outdoor dining. There is no fee for these requests. The programs are in effect for 90 days beginning May 29 and may be extended or shortened upon a decision by the City Manager. The request form is found here. For restaurants within the King Street Outdoor dining area, contact Alexa Powell at for program details or to submit the request form. Restaurant operators in all other areas of the City may contact Greg Garland at for program details and to submit the request form.

  • PLEASE NOTE:  Zoning staff usually available in the Permit Center can be reached by email at or by leaving a message at 703.746.4333. Your email or call will be promptly returned.
  • COVID-19 Coronavirus related Enforcement Changes for Small Businesses
    • To support local business and access to food, effective March 19 and until further notice, the City has suspended enforcement of the following regulations and special use permit conditions that limit hours of operation, business deliveries and off-premises alcohol sales. The City will also begin work on legislation to implement temporary or, where appropriate, permanent changes to the City Code to allow these activities.
      • Restaurant Deliveries and Pick-up: Suspended enforcement of delivery regulations in order to allow all restaurants to provide delivery service and pick-up service. Delivery vehicles and customer pick-ups may use on-street parking subject to posted parking requirements.
      • Hours of Operation: Suspended enforcement of hours-of-operation restrictions on restaurants, convenience stores, catering operations and automobile service stations (gasoline stations).
      • Sidewalk/Parking Lot Vending: Restaurants and retail establishments may vend on adjacent sidewalks or parking lots. The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department strongly urge all restaurants and retail businesses, that are permitted to remain open and who choose to engage in outdoor sales, to adhere to Governor Northam’s Executive Orders 53 and 55. These prohibit all gatherings of more than 10 people and require maintaining at least six feet from any other person, with the exception of a family or household member or a caretaker. Outdoor sales and vending may only include the placement of orders and customer pick-up. Outdoor dining is not permitted in association with restaurant take-out orders. The City and the Alexandria Health Department will strictly enforce these orders to protect everyone in our community. It is a criminal offense to gather in groups of more than 10 people, trespass on City property closed to the public, damage City property, or operate a business in a manner that violates the state orders. To report any of these types of violations, call the Alexandria Police Department at 703.746.4444, while the violation is occurring.
      • Off Premises Alcohol Sales: Suspending enforcement of local restrictions on alcohol sales, including off-premises alcohol sales and delivery. Business remain subject to all VABC licensure requirements.

Board of Zoning Appeals

The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) hears requests for variances, special exceptions and appeals. The BZA holds monthly public hearings in the City Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd floor of City Hall. 

Special Use Permits

Uses listed in the Zoning Ordinance as Special Uses require either an administrative or public hearing Special Use Permit (SUP) before they can be established. Forms are available below to apply for SUP approval.

Zoning Initiatives

Contact Us

Department of Planning and Zoning
Land Use Services Division
301 King Street, Suite 2100
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Phone: 703.746.4666
Office hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm