Oceanfront District Form-Based Code

5 Years Later - ​​​Time for Updates

Download Current Adopted Code as Amended

It's been five years since the Oceanfront Resort District Form-Based Code was adopted by City Council on July 10, 2012.  Since that time staff has reviewed over 75 actual development projects and held countless pre-design meetings to explore development opportunities under the new code.  As we have gained more experience administering this code, we have taken note of corrections, clarifications, and a few actual policy changes that will simplify and improve upon this regulatory document.

Download current adopted draft of the code, as amended.

Steering Committee

In October 2015, a steering committee was formed to address concerns raised by stakeholders regarding the Oceanfront Form-Based Code.  In addition to Beach District Councilman John Uhrin, the committee was comprised of representatives from the Planning Commission, VB Hotel Association, VB Restaurant Association, Resort Beach Civic League, Resort Advisory Commission, as well as a local attorney and a local architect.  The committee held a series of six meetings plus a walking tour to discuss the concerns raised and explore potential solutions.  In most cases, concerns were resolved through explanation and education about how the code works.  Unlike a standard zoning code, the Oceanfront Form-Based Code has built-in flexibility to allow for creative design options that can fulfill the same purpose as a "prescribed" form.  These "optional forms of development" can be approved administratively, which reduces risk and streamlines the approval process for high quality development projects. 

Summary of Amendments

A summary of the proposed amendments divides the revisions into three categories:

  1. Reorganization - To improve organization and flow of the code, some sections or subesctions have been moved.  In some cases, whole chapters have been merged into other chapters, or sections of a chapter have been extracted to create their own chapter.  ORD Design Guidelines have been consolidated into one document, with links to other related Design Guidelines.
  2. Clarifications and Corrections - Much of the text has been rewritten to simplify or clarify its message.  Additional graphics and illustrations have been inserted to help illustrate code requirements.  A few typos and mistakes have been corrected throughout the document.
  3. Policy Changes - While the main regulating factors and structure of the code has remained the same, some minimum and maximum dimensions have been adjusted to better reflect the goals of the form-based code.  Other components have been consolidated to simplify the code's application and eliminate unrealistic expectations for certain areas. 

Download Summary of 2017 Draft Amendments to Oceanfront  Form-Based Code.

Download Tentative Approval Schedule

Regulating Plans

The regulating plans have been revised primarily for appearance.  Any actual changes to the regulating plans are described in red text.  Copies of the current adopted and draft revised regulating plans are linked below.  These maps are in pdf format, best suited for printing on 11x17 paper, but are not to scale.   

​Boundary Map

​Frontage Map

​Setback Map

​Height Map

Current Adopted

Current Adopted

Current Adopted

Current Adopted

2017 ​Draft Revised

2017 Draft Revised

2017 Draft Revised

​2017 Draft Revised

Download Draft Revised Code Chapters 

The following table provides links to each chapter, in pdf format, showing the original text redlined to reflect the proposed amendments.

Redlined Draft 8/16/17

​Chapter 1 - Purpose

​Chapter 2- Frontage

Chapter 3 - Street Setbacks

Chapter 4 - Height

​Chapter 5 - Use

​Chapter 6 - Site Development

Chapter 7 - Optional Forms and Alternative Compliance

​Chapter 8 - Signs



​On December 2, 2008, the City adopted the Resort Area Strategic Action Plan (RASAP), which provides a vision for the Oceanfront Resort Area and an implementation strategy to achieve this vision. The plan revealed that, like many other "Euclidian" zoning codes throughout the nation, the City's existing zoning code does not support the urban resort vision identified for this area. The plan concluded that the best way to provide clear, concise, and responsive regulations to enable the vision of RASAP is known as Form-Based Code (FBC).

Creating a Form-Based Code - 2012

Our original Oceanfront Form-Based Code was the product of dozens of meetings, workshops and presentations with many stakeholder groups who worked together to create this new zoning code for the Virginia Beach resort area.  This process took place over the course of close to three years.  Major workshops and public meetings are listed in the timeline below:
December 10, 2009 - Public Work Session - Consultants  Urban Design Associates (UDA) and CodeStudio presented their initial findings in a public work session  (download presentation, "FBC for the Oceanfront Resort Area.").
2010 - March 2011 - City Staff and consultants gathered field data and met with various stakeholders, including property owners, business owners, residents, and the Navy to develop a draft Form-Based Code for the Oceanfront.  
March 14, 2011 - 1st Draft Released - Download March 14, 2011 Draft
April 25, 2011- Public Meeting and Workshop at the Virginia Beach Convention Center - The meeting began with a presentation on the March draft of the Oceanfront Form-Based Code.  The presentation was  followed by a workshop in which property owners worked directly with staff to find out how the draft code applies to their property.
October 24, 2011 - 2nd Draft Released - Download October 24, 2011 Draft
November 17, 2011 - Public Meeting and Workshop at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Room 2BCD - The meeting began with a brief presentation on the October draft of the Oceanfront Form-Based Code followed by a presentation on the Resort Parking Strategy.  After the presentations, a workshop was held to allow citizens to find out how the Form-Based Code would affect specific properties and voice their concerns one-on-one with City staff.   
December 7, 2011 - 3rd Draft Released - Download December 7, 2011 Draft
December 14, 2011 - Planning Commission Hearing - Oceanfront Form-Based Code deferred for 90 days  (see Planning Commission Agenda).
February 13, 2012 - Planning Commission Workshop - Staff presented an update on revisions in process to address concerns brought forth at the December 14, 2011 Planning Commission hearing. See February 13, 2012 Planning Commission Workshop Presentation
Marh 14, 2012 - Planning Commission Hearing - Oceanfront Form-Based Code deferred indefinitely due to the extent of the revisions necessary. 
May 1, 2012 - 4th Draft Released - Download May 1, 2012 Draft
May 21, 2012 - Planning Commission Workshop - Staff presented updates and revisions made to the Code in the May 1, 2012 draft. See May 21, 2012 Planning Commission Workshop Presentation
June 8, 2012 - 5th Draft Released
Download/View Full June 8, 2012 Draft
View Summary of Revisions in June 8, 2012 Draft
Download/View Redlined Sheets identifying substantive revisions to May 1, 2012 Draft
June 13, 2012 - Planning Commission Public Hearing
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the proposed Oceanfront Resort District Form-Based Code on June 13, 2012 (see staff report) and endorse the Resolution for a Compre​hensive Parking Strategy for the Oceanfront Resort Area. The role of the Planning Commission is to consider the details of the proposal and hear staff and public comments in order to make a recommendation to City Council; City Council, in turn, hears additional comments during additional public hearings and considers all factors before voting to approve or deny the proposal. 

Download/View Planning Commission Presentation

June 19, 2012 - City Council Briefing
Download/View City Council Briefing Presentation
June 26, 2012 - City Council Hearing
Councilman Uhrin specified changes to the Form-Based Code and the Residential Parking Permit Program (RPPP) to address some of the concerns brought forward at the June 13 Planning Commission hearing. 
Download/View City Council Hearing Presentation showing Uhrin's Changes
July 3, 2012 - City Council Workshop
At the June 26 hearing, City Council requested a workshop briefing on resort parking issues, which staff presented on July 3. 
Download/View City Council Workshop Presentation
July 10, 2012 - City Council Public Hearing for Vote
The City Council adopted the Oceanfront Resort District Form-Based Code by a vote of 9 to 2 and the Resolution for a Comprehensive Parking Strategy for the Oceanfront Resort Area by a vote of 10 to 1.
Download/View Final July 10, 2012 Oceanfront Resort District Form-Based Code, as amended
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