Old Beach Overlay District, Design Guidelines, and Design Review Committee

​​​​Old Beach Neighborhood

Old Beach neighborhood sign
The Old Beach Neighborhood is one of the oldest residential areas at the Oceanfront, established in 1915.  The neighborhood consists primarily of single-family dwellings, a substantial number of duplex dwellings, and a smaller number of multi-family dwellings scattered throughout. The majority of the original 1920s to 1950s beach cottages have been lost to redevelopment.  Most remaining single-family homes appear to have been constructed from the 1950s to the present, are two-stories, and are simple and varied in their architectural styles.  Examples of Arts & Crafts, Coastal Cottage, European Romantic, and Colonial Revival architecture are dispersed through the neighborhood.  These various architectural styles have lent a positive, eclectic character to the neighborhood.  Many existing single-family structures also possess a second or ancillary dwelling unit on the same lot.  Duplexes and multi-family dwellings within the neighborhood are contemporary and simplified in their architectural style, two to three stories in height, and vary in their width and layout.  Most lots within the neighborhood have been assembled to 40, 50, and 60 feet wide for residential building purposes, with varying depths of 130, 140, 150 and 190 feet, determined by block location.  The average lot within the neighborhood is roughly 50 feet wide by 140’ deep.  Old Beach is also served by an alley system, with most alleys being less than 20 feet wide.

Old Beach Overlay District

The Old Beach Overlay District was established in 2005 to preserve and enhance the character of the Old Beach neighborhood, by providing opportunities for both new and redeveloped resort residential development, characterized by sing​le-family, cottage-style homes and compatible multi-family residential dwellings.  The Overlay District boundaries are designated on the City’s Official Zoning Map as follows:  27 ½ Street and Beach Garden Park to the north; Parks Avenue to the west; 22 ½ Street to the south; and, a varying line within the 300 block west of Pacific Avenue.  The Overlay District regulations address principal uses and structures, accessory uses and structures, dimensional requirements, desired design incentives, and the Old Beach Design Review Committee.  All properties within the Overlay District are subject to the regulations of the Overlay District as well as the underlying zoning district(s); where there is conflict, the Overlay District regulations prevail.


Old Beach Overlay District Zoning Map

Old Beach Overlay District Zoning Map

Old Beach Design Guidelines​

To encourage development that is appropriate for the character of the Old Beach Neighborhood as an early 20th Century resort community, new development or redevelopment of structures in the Overlay District should strive to comply with the criteria provided in the Old Beach Design Guidelines, which were adopted with the Overlay District Ordinance.  As an incentive to develop lots within the Overlay District in a compatible and appropriate manner, compliance with the Old Beach Design Guidelines shall result in allowed deviations to the dimensional and other requirements of the Overlay District.  Determination of compliance with the Design Guidelines shall be made by the Planning Director or designee.  Appeals of the Director’s determination shall be made to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Old Beach Design Review Committee

The Old Beach Design Review Committee was established in the Old Beach Overlay District Ordinance as a citizen resource for those seeking to develop in the Old Beach Overlay District.  The committee is intended to preserve, enhance and promote the character of the residential neighborhood in accordance with the Old Beach Design Guidelines and provisions of the Old Beach​ Overlay District by offering recommendations on development projects.  The committee consists of 5 members selected by City Council, including 2 representatives from the Resort Advisory Commission and 3 representatives who reside or own property within the Old Beach Overlay District.  All committee members are qualified by knowledge or experience to make decisions on questions of neighborhood planning and design.  A member of the Virginia Beach Planning Department staff serves as liaison to the committee.  Plan submission and review by the committee is voluntary and is encouraged early in the design process, prior to applying for necessary City approvals or permits.

The Committee meets monthly, when called by the chairman, on the second Thursday at 4:00pm at 2101 Parks Avenue, Suite 500, Virginia Beach, VA  23451.  Contact the Planning Department using the contact information below to schedule a project review meeting with the Old Beach Design Review Committee.

​Photo Gallery:  Old Beach Neighborhood and Model Development Projects

Review a photo gallery of housing styles in the Old Beach Neighborhood and model development project examples demonstrating compliance with the Old Beach Design Guidelines, which have benefitted from the review assistance and recommendations of the Old Beach Design Review Committee.​