Arlington County, Virginia

Geography[edit]

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Aerial view of a growth pattern in Arlington County, Virginia. High density, mixed use development is often concentrated within 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the County's Metrorail rapid transit stations, such as in Rosslyn, Courthouse, and Clarendon (shown in red from upper left to lower right).

Arlington County is located at

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38°52′49″N77°06′30″W / 38.88028°N 77.10833°W / 38.88028; -77.10833Coordinates: 17px-WMA_button2b.png38°52′49″N77°06′30″W / 38.88028°N 77.10833°W / 38.88028; -77.10833 and is surrounded by Fairfax County and the Falls Church to the southwest, the City of Alexandria to the southeast, and Washington, D.C. to the northeast directly across the Potomac River, which forms the county's northern border. Other landforms also form county borders, particularly Minor's Hill and Upton's Hill on the west.

 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 26.1 square miles (67.6 km2), of which 26.0 square miles (67.3 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) (0.4%) is water.[29] It is the smallest county by area in Virginia and among the smallest by land area in the United States. About 4.6 square miles (11.9 km2) of the county is federal property. The county is roughly in the shape of a rectangle 4 miles (6.4 km) by 6 miles (9.7 km), with the small end slanting in a northwest-southeast direction. It has no incorporated areas. Its county seat is the census-designated place (CDP) of Arlington,[30] which is coterminous with the boundaries of the county; however, the county courthouse and most government offices are located in the Courthouse neighborhood.

For over 30 years, the government has pursued a development strategy of concentrating much of its new development near transit facilities, such as Metrorail stations and the high-volume bus lines of Columbia Pike.[31] Within the transit areas, the government has a policy of encouraging mixed-use and pedestrian- and transit-oriented development.[32] Some of these "urban village" communities include:

In 2002, Arlington received the EPA's National Award for Smart Growth Achievement for "Overall Excellence in Smart Growth."[33] In 2005, the County implemented an affordable housing ordinance that requires most developers to contribute significant affordable housing resources, either in units or through a cash contribution, in order to obtain the highest allowable amounts of increased building density in new development projects, most of which are planned near Metrorail station areas.[34]

A number of the county's residential neighborhoods and larger garden-style apartment complexes are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and/or designated under the County government's zoning ordinance as local historic preservation districts.[35][36] These include Arlington Village, Arlington Forest, Ashton Heights, Buckingham, Cherrydale, Claremont, Colonial Village, Fairlington, Lyon Park, Lyon Village, Maywood, Penrose, Waverly Hills and Westover.[37][38] Many of Arlington County's neighborhoods participate in the Arlington County government's Neighborhood Conservation Program (NCP).[39] Each of these neighborhoods has a Neighborhood Conservation Plan that describes the neighborhood's characteristics, history and recommendations for capital improvement projects that the County government funds through the NCP.[40]

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