AIA Northern Virginia
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Accessory Dwelling Units in Fairfax County and Arlington County (CE)
June 28

Presented by Capital Area CRAN (Custom Residential Architects Network, an AIA Knowledge Community, a tri-chapter committee)

Free to AIA members; $10 for non-members. 
1.0 LU|HSW. 


Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) are a good way to increase housing options in high demand neighborhoods or communities.  Also known as in-law suites or granny flats, an ADU is a smaller, independent residential space or building located on the same lot as a stand-alone single-family home. In this discussion, residential designers and the public will learn how to project the health, safety and welfare of both the property owners and the residents of the ADU through review of the zoning and planning requirements for Fairfax County and Arlington County. In addition, attendees will gain an understanding of design requirements to maximize and create a successful Accessory Dwelling Unit.

- Zoning requirements for new dwellings
Cheryl Cort, Policy Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth 

- Designing An Accessory Dwelling Unit
Ileana Schinder, AIA

- Followed by a period of Q&A


  1. Discuss the zoning requirements for new dwellings that are considered Accessory Dwelling Units, including rear yard ratio’s, setbacks, maximum square footage, height restrictions and rental requirements in Fairfax County and Arlington County.
  2. Examine several existing ADU’s and how they achieved health and safety requirements, including egress, mechanical/electrical, plumbing and fire.
  3. Analyze space requirements and the energy code mandated in Northern Virginia.
  4. Determine how to maximize natural light, efficiency, and openness in creating a comfortable livable space.