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What is the purpose of the Rosslyn Sector Plan Update?

Arlington County is participating in a long range planning process with the community to refresh the future vision of Rosslyn as a vibrant place to live, work and play. The plan update will build on the successes of the County’s 30+ years of experience with smart growth (development in a compact walkable area) and transit oriented development (easily accessible to public transportation) in the Rosslyn area.  This process will involve the creation of a detailed plan reflecting the community’s vision for the area, that once adopted by the County Board, will serve as a guide for all future developments in Rosslyn.


Why is this planning happening now?

Based on established plans, current trends and long-range forecasts, the County anticipates significant additional development activity in Rosslyn. Updating the Rosslyn Sector Plan now will allow Arlington to address the development issues affecting the area based on current planning standards and state of the art, as well as provide policy clarification and updates where needed.


Why do we need a plan?

The purpose of the plan is to have a framework in place to guide proposed development when it occurs. The plan will help developers understand the community’s goals and objectives for Rosslyn, inform County staff, Planning Commission, and community review of proposed site plans, while achieving a variety of community benefits and features. With a more up-to-date long range plan for Rosslyn, the County can more easily evaluate potential development projects as they come forward. Therefore, a plan update would also allow for a more efficient and effective community review process for future development proposals, saving everyone time in the end.


What are the key goals and objectives of the Rosslyn Sector Plan Update?

  • Encourage good urban design and successful placemaking through future developments
  • Provide more specific guidance on building heights limitations
  • Improve the transportation system’s ability to move people in and around Rosslyn
  • Enhance Rosslyn’s network of parks and open spaces


Why is the County studying this area again?

Initial developments in the Rosslyn area met the County’s earlier planning policy goal of redeveloping the area, and helped establish Rosslyn’s identity as a major business and employment center in the region. However, the 1977 Rosslyn Transit Station Area Study identified improvements such as improving traffic and pedestrian systems, strengthening important connections, creating key gateways, and improving open space and pedestrian environments. Following the 1977 study, several planning efforts aimed to correct Rosslyn’s early imperfect development.


In 1992, the Rosslyn Station Area Plan Addendum put forth a vision of Rosslyn as a great urban center and major gateway into Arlington that is a vibrant place to live, work, and play, with a focus on high-quality architecture and urban design. In 1996, the County created the “C-O Rosslyn” zoning district, permitting enough density to make way for major building redevelopment or renovation projects. Over the past 20 years, several completed projects have helped to move Rosslyn towards the vision established in the 1992 Addendum. With two decades passed since the last major planning study and the always evolving urban environment, the time has come to update the Rosslyn Sector Plan.


What impact will this plan have on the community and how can I get involved?

The plan will help guide future developments and address the primary planning issues that affect the area. To ensure the updated plan reflects the hopes and aspirations of the community, this project will involve a significant community process component, with public discussions targeted to begin in fall 2012. The project website provides information on the project, staff contacts, upcoming meetings, and myriad other ways to get involved and provide your input on during the planning process.