Fairfax County, Virginia implemented updated parking regulations for restaurants within shopping centers in January 2018. The new regulations favor developers, and can be applied to existing shopping centers. Recalculating parking requirements per the new regulations could free up space for potential new development.

If you’re interested in maximizing your site’s potential, an experienced civil engineering consultant can guide you through these steps:

1. Calculate the new parking rates for each shopping center, which will show the amount of spaces by which the center is overparked. In the rare case that the new calculation reveals that additional parking is required, you can be grandfathered into the old rate.

2. Expedite the approval process through Fairfax County for the new parking tabulation, which must be certified by a PE, surveyor, or architect.

3. Analyze sites for new development opportunities. The number of overparked spaces could equate to additional pad sites, green space, or experiential space for your existing shopping center.


The simplified parking requirement is now determined according to square footage, rather than various qualities of the restaurant. There are also fewer options for restaurant uses, simplified to just four: restaurant, restaurant with drive-through, quick-service food store, or carry-out.

Fairfax County recognized the need for a change with the decreased necessity of parking, due to an evolution of restaurant types and the reality of transit-oriented developments. This, combined with regular requests from developers for lower parking rates, helped Fairfax County redefine their regulations with the necessary updates and clarifications.

Questions about the new regulations and how they impact your project?

Contact Bohler’s Northern Virginia team today. Read more about the changes here.