On Dec. 17, 2019, the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a set of zoning ordinance amendments designed to increase the supply of senior housing in Arlington, Virginia, through the 4.1 special exception site plan process. These amendments were driven by the increased demand and limited supply of senior housing in Arlington, as evidenced by the fact that, according to staff, the two newest senior housing communities were established in 1999 and 2011.
The zoning ordinance amendments made three significant changes to how senior housing projects are approved in Arlington:
- Expanding the number of zoning districts that permit assisted living facilities and nursing homes from five to 18, and expanding the number of zoning districts that permit independent living facilities and continuing care retirement communities from zero to 18
- Revising the minimum parking requirements to 0.5 spaces per bedroom for assisted living and 0.5 spaces per bed for nursing homes
- Modifying several use definitions (assisted living facility and nursing home), replacing several existing use definitions (independent living facility and continuing care retirement community) with new definitions, and incorporating a new use definition into the zoning ordinance for elder case uses
The new zoning ordinance amendments should result in more opportunities to develop senior housing in Arlington.