An official website of Arlington County government

Planning the Pike


Final Version of Plan

Neighborhoods Area Plan & Implementation:
Work is underway to develop several of the key implementation tools for the Plan.  For more information on the implementation tools, click here.
The County Board adopted the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan on Monday, July 23, 2012.  The adoption of the Neighborhoods Area Plan completes the second major planning phase for the Columbia Pike Initiative, focusing on the multi-family residential areas.  Awarded by the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) with the Benjamin Banneker for Outstanding Social Commitment and Community Initiatives, the Plan describes a vision and planning policies to guide development activities in the future.  The Plan supports the Columbia Pike Initiative Plan – A Revitalization Plan Update 2005 to enhance the quality of life and create a walkable and transit supportive corridor.  A main element of the plan is retention of over 6,000 affordable housing units for incomes at or below 80% of the area median income as more housing is created for new residents.  A new Form Based Code zoning tool will be instrumental in the preservation of these units and will guide how new development should occur.  The new Form Based Code for the Neighborhoods area is targeted for completion later this year in the fall.

Columbia Pike Initiative (CPI) – Update 2005:
In the fall of 2004, County staff began work on the Columbia Pike Initiative – A Revitalization Plan, Update 2005. This document, which is now available both on this website and in hardcopy, provides a refined and updated set of goals and implementation strategies. It represents the most current overall framework for the revitalization of Columbia Pike and reconciles the vision for the Pike expressed in earlier planning documents with the specific design recommendations articulated in the Form Based Code. In addition, it provides updates on policy and implementation initiatives recommended in the original plan.
Form Based Code:
Following the adoption of this plan, the community participated in an intensive charrette in the fall of 2002 that produced specific design recommendations which became the basis of the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District Form Based Code, adopted in February 2003.  The Form Based Code represents a cutting-edge, revitalization and redevelopment tool. It is a legal document that regulates land development by setting careful and clear controls on building form – with broad parameters on building use – to shape clear public space (good streets, neighborhoods and parks) with a healthy mix of uses. With proper urban form, a greater integration of building uses is both natural and comfortable. The Code uses simple and clear graphic prescriptions and parameters for height, sitting and building elements to address the basic necessities for forming good public space.
Street Space Task Force:
When the Form Based Code was adopted, there were still unresolved questions regarding the width, design and use of street space along Columbia Pike. At that time, the County Board established the Columbia Pike Street Space Planning Task Force to consider these issues and develop recommendations for the length of the Pike. The Task Force included representatives from civic associations near the Pike, as well as representatives from various County advisory groups and commissions. The Task Force met for nearly a year, and in February 2004, the County Board accepted the Columbia Pike Street Space Planning Task Force Report. The Board subsequently adopted various Master Transportation Plan amendments recommended in the report, including the street cross sections. The ultimate goal is to remake the corridor into a Main Street geared to pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders, as well as motorists.  County staff continues to work with community members on the CPIT group (Columbia Pike Implementation Team) on transportation-related issues.  CPIT emerged from the Street Space Planning Task Force and meets on a quarterly basis.
CPI Background:
To proactively stem the tide of minimal investment and/or disinvestment in the Columbia Pike Corridor, the County Board announced the creation of the Columbia Pike Initiative in 1998. The goal of this initiative is to build a safer, cleaner, more competitive and vibrant Columbia Pike community. Through the course of numerous meetings with the community in 2000 and 2001, a long-range vision and plan was established that focused on economic development, land use and zoning, urban design, transportation and public infrastructure initiatives, as well as existing and future open space and recreational needs.  The development of the resulting two-volume Columbia Pike Initiative – A Revitalization Plan, adopted in March 2002, was a cooperative effort between County staff, the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) and area residents, business and property owners.

Form Based Code Advisory Working Group Illustration

Advisory Working Group Illustration

Form Based Code Advisory Working Group:
Form Based Code Advisory Working Group is comprised of County staff and a group of community members who regularly meet to discuss and review the Form Based Code to ensure it is a clear and useful document that implements the vision for Columbia Pike.  This group typically assists staff in reviewing proposed FBC amendments, serves as the “Community Review Team” for development proposals and acts as a liaison to help keep neighborhoods informed of ongoing discussions and to seek feedback to share with the Working Group.