Automatic Updates to Arlington’s Green Building Incentive Policy

Arlington County’s Green Building Density Incentive Policy for Site Plans permits additional density for Administrative Regulation 4.1 site plans through commitments to pursue LEED Gold certification or higher. The existing policy was most recently updated by the Arlington County Board on December 12, 2020.

While it was intended that the policy be updated every three-to-five years, the current policy includes an “Automatic Update,” contained in Appendix 3 to the policy, to increase the minimum requirements for energy optimization specified for each level of participation. This update applies to all 4.1 site plans accepted by the County after June 30, 2023.

Projects seeking density under the 0.25 and 0.35 FAR bonus levels must achieve one of the following:

  • At least 14 percent performance improvement for LEED version 4.1 EA credit Optimize Energy Performance; OR
  • At least 24 percent performance improvement for LEED version 4 EA credit Optimize Energy Performance/Annual Energy Use; OR
  • A HERS index of 60 or lower if pursuing LEED version 4.1 Multifamily EA credit Optimize Energy Performance Option 3 HERS index rating; OR
  • A HERS index of 60 or lower if pursuing Earthcraft Multifamily certification.

Projects seeking density under the 0.45 FAR and higher FAR bonus levels must achieve one of the following:

  • At least 18 percent performance improvement for LEED version 4.1 EA credit Optimize Energy Performance; OR
  • At least 28 percent performance improvement for LEED version 4 EA credit Optimize Energy Performance/Annual Energy Use; OR
  • A HERS index of 55 or lower if pursuing LEED version 4.1 Multifamily EA credit Optimize Energy Performance Option 3 HERS index rating; OR
  • A HERS index of 55 or lower if pursuing Earthcraft Multifamily certification.

For reference, the full policy may be accessed here.


Future of Arlington County









What You’ll Learn at the Future of Arlington County 

  • Missing Middle Housing Bill: What does the single-family-only zoning ban, which goes into effect July 1, mean for the county in terms of the housing crisis as well as the expansion of neighborhoods?
  • Why are new residents, tenants and businesses being drawn to neighborhoods like Ballston, Clarendon, Rosslyn, National Landing and others? How are developers and investors selecting neighborhoods for their projects? What factors are being considered?
  • What is in store for Arlington’s mixed-use development pipeline in terms of bringing in multifamily, retail and other projects? What are current resident and tenant demands and how are developers meeting them while staying within budget?
  • How are the challenges of the economic downturn impacting construction and development within NoVa? What solutions have developers and investors come up with to overcome these obstacles?
  • How does the county compare to other areas within D.C. and Virginia? What is the area doing differently to stand out from other counties and cities?

How You’ll Do More Commercial Real Estate Business in the Virginia Region: 

As of 2023, Arlington County has a population of 234,000 and continues to grow. As residential developments increase, Virginia has 70% of Committed Affordable Units that are in the planning stages, including Rosslyn-Ballston, Richmond Highway and Columbia Pike. How will the area’s new initiatives and bills benefit Arlington County in terms of affordability, the housing crisis, development and more? How does the region plan to keep up with demand and supply? Join Arlington executives as they discuss their latest project pipeline, economic growth, top neighborhoods, overcoming challenges and more!

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Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh Celebrates 40th Anniversary, Rooted in Service and Growing with Virginia

Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, P.C., a leading multi-practice law firm focusing on commercial real estate services and business transactions, proudly announces its 40th anniversary.

Founded in 1983 by Martin “Art” Walsh, Thomas Colucci, Nicholas Malinchak, and Jerry Emrich, the firm has been committed to providing exceptional legal guidance and fostering long-term relationships with clients across Northern Virginia.

Over the past four decades, Walsh Colucci has been a part of numerous significant projects and played a pivotal role in shaping Northern Virginia’s growth and development. The firm has built a solid reputation for its expertise in land development, urban planning, and zoning. The firm and its members have been consistently ranked in law firm publications including US News & World Report, Chambers USA, Virginia Business, Super Lawyers, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, and more.

Walsh Colucci has steadily evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of its clients and has expanded to four offices located throughout the region, and its practice areas now include Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Transactions, Litigation, Business Transactions, Eminent Domain, and Estate Planning & Administration.

“We are proud of our 40-year journey rooted in service to our clients and the broader region,” said Tom Colucci, a founding partner of the firm. “Since the beginning, our success has been built upon the principles of trust, responsiveness, and a deep commitment to our clients’ best interests. And we are well-positioned to carry that tradition forward for another four decades.”

“The firm’s accomplishments are a testament to the dedication and expertise of our remarkable attorneys and staff,” said Mike Lubeley, another firm founder. “The key has been to foster a cohesive and congenial atmosphere in which collaboration thrives. This has enabled us to retain talent, deliver high-quality services, and consistently exceed our client’s expectations. And, it goes without saying that our emphasis on building long-term client relationships and thoughtful community engagement has been a driving force behind our success.”

A major component of its firm-wide mission has been the active support of numerous charitable causes related to the fine arts, healthcare, education, youth activities, and more. A major philanthropic effort has included hosting an annual golf tournament fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which has raised nearly $2 million to support Type 1 Diabetes research over the past 25 years. Members of the firm also routinely serve on the boards of local organizations, public agencies, building industry advocacy groups, and chambers of commerce.

As Walsh Colucci enters its fifth decade of service, the firm remains dedicated to its clients and committed to their evolving needs. With offices in Arlington, Prince William, Loudoun, and Winchester, the firm is well-positioned as a distinguished and trusted partner for individuals and organizations navigating the complexities of the legal landscape.

Bisnow’s Future of Loudoun County event, moderated by Erin Swisshelm

Save the date for Bisnow’s Future of Loudoun County event! Learn about the Silver Line expansion, residential projects, industrial activities, new developments, and much more.

What You’ll Learn about the Loudoun County Economic Development & Real Estate Market

  • Silver Line Extension: How is the $3B project bringing tourists, residents and other economic development projects to the region?
  • What is in store for Loudoun County’s development pipeline? Is there still a strong demand for residential and retail projects or will asset classes like industrial begin to see more traction?
  • How are new residents, tenants, businesses, etc. being lured into neighborhoods like Ashburn, Leesburg, Dulles, etc.? How are developers and investors selecting neighborhoods for their projects?
  • How are the challenges of the economic downturn impacting construction and development within the area? What solutions have developers and investors found to overcome these obstacles?
  • Envisioning Loudoun / Loudoun 2040: How are the latest economic projects bringing in more opportunities and growth into the county?

How You’ll Do More Commercial Real Estate Business: 

The latest economic investments and opportunities happening throughout the county, including the new WMATA Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn Station Metrorail and USTA’s new campus, are drawing new residents and businesses to the area. What are the county’s plans to capitalize on this growth and spur more opportunities? What is in store for the region’s development pipeline? Join Loudoun County’s executives as they discuss the latest projects, investments, challenges, deals and more!

A Warm Welcome to Our Summer Intern, Maggie Paterson

Maggie K. Paterson joins the firm as a summer intern. She is currently a college student at the University of Vermont (UVM), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where she is majoring in Public Communications and minoring in Art and Statistics. She volunteers at UVM FeelGood, a student-run non-profit deli, where donations/proceeds go towards the goal of ending world hunger. She graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 2021 where she played varsity lacrosse for four years. Welcome, Maggie!

2023 Virginia Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

We are thrilled to announce the Virginia Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2023! These outstanding attorneys have been recognized for their exceptional skills, experience, and achievements in their respective practice areas. Their dedication and excellence sets the bar high for the legal profession. We applaud their hard work and congratulate them on this well-deserved honor.

Super Lawyers

John H. Foote | Land Use/Zoning, Litigation
Michael J. Coughlin | Eminent Domain
Andrew A. Painter | Land Use & Zoning

Rising Stars

Nicholas V. Cumings | Land Use & Zoning
Robert D. Brant | Land Use & Zoning

A Thomson Reuters publication, Super Lawyers identifies candidates through independent research and by inviting lawyers in each state to nominate the best attorneys they have observed in action. A lawyer-led research staff evaluates candidates on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Candidates also undergo a peer review by practice area.

Virginia Super Lawyers

Arlington Begins Updating 4.1 Site Plan Regulations

Arlington County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD) is undertaking a major effort to modernize the County’s Administrative Regulation 4.1 Site Plan document—the first such revision in four years.

The initiative is intended to reformat the document for usability and readability, and reflect recent changes in County policy (e.g., the 2020 Green Building Incentive Policy) and new submission and review procedures (e.g., Permit Arlington, E-Plan Review, and the new Site Plan Review Committee process).

Graphics will be incorporated to better explain the review process, and many of the standalone submission documents, forms, and letters will be consolidated.

An emphasis will also be placed upon providing clearer lists of minimum submission requirements, including revisions to the TIA/MMTA scoping matrix. For those site plan projects seeking to utilize the Green Building Incentive Policy, new requirements for preliminary sustainability information will be inserted.

Given the growing emphasis on biophilic design, the revised document will require applications to prepare a narrative describing each project’s biophilic, open space, and landscape design elements. The narrative, while deemed preliminary, is intended to provide a baseline for SPRC and discussion and staff review.

Staff is currently working on the first draft and, following review by the County Attorney’s Office, it will be forwarded to the County Manager for review and approval (anticipated this summer).  Walsh Colucci will closely monitor this revision effort and will provide updates and draft documents as they become available.


Arlington County Board Approves Missing Middle Amendments

After extensive analysis, public testimony, and Board deliberation, the Arlington County Board unanimously voted Wednesday evening to approve a series of amendments to the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance and General Land Use Plan (“GLUP”).

These “Expanded Housing Option” (“EHO”) amendments came as a result of the multiyear Missing Middle Housing Study. The EHO amendments allow for by-right development of townhomes and other attached housing types in areas of the County currently zoned only for single-family detached housing.

The Board approved 12 amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, affecting the R-5 through R-20 zoning districts. These amendments will take effect on July 1, 2023. The staff report, which summarizes the changes and includes the specific Zoning Ordinance amendment language, may be found here.

The Board also adopted a series of “options,” which are summarized below:

• Option 1A (Number of Units): Allows for EHO development to extend up to six attached units.

Option 2D (Site Area/Height): Requires a minimum site and lot area in the applicable R zoning district, but limits development on lots less than 7,000 square feet to four units or fewer. EHO developments will be subject to the setback, height, and other standards applicable within the underlying zoning district.

• Option 4B (Lot Coverage): Single-family detached homes are eligible for a five percent increase in lot coverage in order to add a garage. Option 4B allows the reallocation of this five percent increase into the footprint of an EHO unit. EHO developments, therefore, have a slightly higher maximum lot coverage but are not eligible for an increase in floor area in order to add a garage.

• Options 5C and 5E (Parking): Reflecting the County’s desire to reduce automobile traffic, EHO developments will be required to provide 0.5 parking spaces per unit on sites located within three-quarters of a mile of a Metrorail station, and this requirement is eliminated on any site in which providing parking spaces for EHO units would eliminate an equal number of on-street parking spaces due to curb cuts.

• Option 6A (Tree Canopy): EHO developments with two-to-four dwelling units are required to provide four trees, and developments with five-to-six units are required to provide eight trees.

• Option 7C (Limitation Cap): Limits EHO developments to 58 developments per year for the first five years (until 2028), with such a cap allocated according to the zoning district. Sixty-six percent of the permits will be allotted to the R-6 zoning district; another 9 percent to the R-5 zoning district; and the balance of 25 percent to the R-8, R-10, and R-20 zoning districts.

• Option 8A (SFU Conversion): Single-family homes may be converted into a multi-unit EHO development as a matter of right. This option comes largely in response to enable seniors who wish to “age in place” through downsizing by converting their home into an EHO development, rather than relocating to another neighborhood.

• Option 9B (Definitions): Makes a minor definition change for a duplex.

• Option 10A (Special Planning Areas): Prohibits EHOs within special planning districts/areas identified on the GLUP, which often have more specific guidance through their respective planning document. This limits the number of otherwise eligible properties, primarily located within Columbia Pike and Cherrydale Special Revitalization Districts.

• Option 11 Hybrid (Maximum GFA): Establishes the maximum gross floor area for an EHO development based upon the style of housing and number of units, with the lowest maximum density assigned to duplexes and the highest maximum density allotted to five- and six-plexes.

• Option 12B (Accessory Dwelling Units): Prohibits accessory dwellings in areas eligible for EHO.

Additional amendments to the Zoning Ordinance may be forthcoming.

The Board simultaneously approved an amendment to the GLUP that adds language to Section 5.4 emphasizing the need for increased housing supply, adds language to the GLUP map to include accessory dwelling units, and EHO uses in areas planned for “Low” Residential uses.

With these changes, Arlington joins a handful of other jurisdictions across the country which have sought to broaden the types of permitted residential arrangements in zoning districts which solely permit single-family homes.


Arlington County Approves Ballston Macy’s Redevelopment

On December 17, 2022, the Arlington County Board approved the redevelopment of the Ballston Macy’s department store in the Ballston neighborhood.

The Macy’s, formerly a Hecht’s department store, was originally constructed as the main anchor of the Parkington Shopping Center, which opened in 1951 as Northern Virginia’s first major suburban shopping center. At the time it opened, the five-story, 300,000-square-foot store was the largest suburban department store on the East Coast.

Following the opening of the Ballston Metrorail station in 1979, Ballston was transformed into a mixed-use community with multifamily residential uses, offices, and restaurants. Parkington was repositioned as Ballston Common Mall in the early 1980s, and reopened as Ballston Quarter in 2019.

As approved, the Macy’s will be replaced with a 16-story mixed-use LEED Gold building containing a 44,000-square foot grocery store and 1,900 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, along with 553 residential units. The request necessitated a series of applications, including an Administrative Regulation 4.1 Site Plan Amendment, a Neighborhoods Form Based Code Amendment and Use Permit, the Certification of Transferable Density, and an ordinance of encroachment.

The approved building is intended to fulfill the Ballston Sector Plan’s goals and create an inviting and interconnected experience between the Ballston Quarter mall and nearby development. The building’s modern architecture provides softened edges and corners, and offers an inviting, connected, and greening space for those traveling in and around the property. A series of landscaped amenity terraces will be provided that will feature native and adapted pollinator-friendly planting species and bioretention plantings that will promote year-round biodiversity.

A ground floor interior connection will be provided between the grocery store and Ballston Quarter mall, which will create a gathering space at the mall’s western end. Insight has also committed to commissioning an art piece in the mall above the grocery store connection to serve as a complementary visual element to the Ballston Chandelier at the east end of Ballston Quarter.

The alley which runs through the block will be substantially enhanced into a more attractive experience while still serving as the primary vehicle and loading access for the new building. Existing arcades at both ends of the alley will be removed, and the alley will be reconfigured into a curbless environment punctuated by bollards, planters, green wall plantings, and seating areas.

Insight was also challenged to enhance pedestrian safety and provide visual and spatial connections between the project site and neighborhoods on the south side of N. Glebe Road. Accordingly, the project will activate the corner of N. Glebe Road and 7th Street N. by introducing new retail space and an articulated residential lobby entrance, as well as eliminating an existing layby lane.

From a transportation perspective, the project will provide generous sidewalks with shade opportunities, intersection safety improvements, and signal modifications. A new left-turn signal into the site on N. Glebe Road will provide access for grocery store patrons and will be accompanied by a series of pedestrian safety enhancements.

An emphasis was also placed upon utilizing existing infrastructure to help disperse traffic and mitigate some of the impacts of new construction on carbon emissions. This includes making use of nearby existing loading docks, service corridors, parking entrances, and ramp systems, as well as utilizing the County-owned Ballston garage for employee and overflow parking.

Housing affordability figured prominently into the project, which includes preservation of 118 market-rate affordable units at the Haven Apartments near Columbia Pike. The Haven Apartments were constructed as garden apartments in 1949 and are listed as “Notable” on the County’s Historic Resources Inventory. In exchange for transferring density from the Haven site to the Ballston Macy’s site through the County’s Transfer of Development Rights process, Insight agreed to commit the Haven’s units as Committed Affordable Units, record a historic easement to preserve the Haven’s architectural integrity, and make a series of sustainability and maintenance investments at the Haven site.

To address issues related to onsite affordability from an equity perspective in Ballston, Insight committed to a two-bedroom Committed Affordable Unit in the building, as well as 11 workforce housing units at 80 percent AMI.

The project will deliver a new retail anchor and housing adjacent to Ballston Quarter as well as fulfill the Ballston Sector Plan’s recommendations related to land uses, housing, streetscape, sidewalks, and providing commercial uses along major streets.

Walsh Colucci’s Andrew Painter and Lauren Riley represented Insight during this process.