Fairfax City Economic Development
10300 Eaton Place, #235, Fairfax, VA 22030

Media Contact
Nicole Toulouse
571-359-0550 | Nicole.Toulouse@fairfaxva.gov

November 16, 2023


Fairfax City Expands Research and Development Options in Commercial Corridors

City Council Votes Unanimously to Update Zoning Ordinance, Continuing Support for Business Growth


FAIRFAX CITY, VIRGINIA — In the face of a changing commercial office landscape, the Fairfax City Council took action to modernize the City’s zoning rules to permit research and development-businesses in commercial corridors throughout the city. This important step includes by right use in office buildings and industrial facilities throughout the city.

This aligns Fairfax City with updates that other neighboring jurisdictions have made which allow for new research and development opportunities in commercial facilities. Fairfax City joins jurisdictions such as Fairfax County, Arlington County, Washington DC, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County in modernizing their approach to research and development. This advancement will support Fairfax City Economic Development’s goal of attracting high tech, research, and knowledge-based businesses involved in industries such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and biotechnology.

“It’s important to regularly review and update our city’s ordinances to make certain they reflect the most current information available,” said Fairfax City Mayor, Catherine Read. “R&D by its very nature is about capturing cutting edge ideas that will benefit us all. We want to reduce barriers to firms establishing their businesses here in Fairfax City.”

“The Mayor and City Council have been clear on their priority to create a more diverse local economy,” said Director / CEO of Fairfax City Economic Development, Christopher Bruno. “This modification to our City’s zoning code removes several barriers to entry for the type of firms we are looking to attract to Fairfax City. I am grateful to the leadership of the
Economic Development Authority and our partners in the Department of Community Development & Planning, and the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce for supporting this change.”

“As our economy evolves, our zoning ordinance needs to follow suit” Economic Development SVP, Business Investment, Nicole Toulouse, says. “We had been experiencing situations where our strategic priority-industries for business attraction efforts have been at odds with permissible uses in our commercial corridors. This amendment will be beneficial for decades to come to help economic development attract exciting new companies to Fairfax City.”

“Zoning Ordinances constantly evolve to accommodate changing economic and physical environments,” said Fairfax City Community and Development Planner, Eric Forman. “This Ordinance update helps to make Fairfax City even more supportive of our region’s growing high-value-added research and development employers.”


Fairfax City Economic Development is the lead agency for supporting a resilient economy and business ecosystem. The Office serves to promote, identify, and assist businesses with location, expansion, and capacity building services within the City while creating systems and programs that encourage commercial and retail development.


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