This page is for licensed child care centers that are currently open and operating and would like to expand their building space, the number of children, or modify their County Board-approved use permit conditions. Child care centers seeking to expand their program by moving to a new location should see Opening a Child Care Center in Arlington for the full review process.
The checklist below includes the applications and forms needed to expand a child care center in Arlington:
- Preliminary Consultations
- Change in Operation and Modification Request Form
- Code Consultation
- Virginia Child Care License
- Use Permit Amendment
- Use Permit Supplemental Documents
- Parking Management Plan
- Commercial Building Permit
- Certificate of Occupancy
- Valid Inspection and County Child Care License
Step 1: Preliminary Consultations
Change in Operation and Modification Request Form – Required
Send to: Child Care Services Office, DHS
Child care center licensees who wish to expand their program must submit the Child Care Center Change in Operation and License Modification Request form. Upon receipt of the form, the Child Care Specialist will contact the licensee to schedule an on-site consultation visit at the child care center to determine support of the modification request. This request may also be made during a renewal or routine monitoring inspection while the Child Care Specialist is on site. The consultation visit involves an environmental inspection of the site to determine if there are any potential issues and ensure that the location and/or building is properly equipped for expansion.
Code Consultation – Optional/Encouraged
Send to: Inspection Services Division, CPHD
It is recommended that applicants submit a free Code Consultation form with ISD. While not required, this consultation is encouraged to allow the applicant to discuss elements of construction with building code officials before the project reaches its final design. Each scheduled appointment is allocated one hour. It is recommended that applicants invite their architect and/or engineer to the meeting and bring any architectural or building plans.
Step 2: Virginia Child Care License
Contact: VDSS Fairfax Licensing Office
All child care center applicants seeking to expand their program must amend their state child care license through the VDSS Fairfax Licensing Office, in addition to amending the County’s child care license in Step 3. Child care center applicants can apply for state licensure at any stage of the process, but it is recommended to begin as early as possible. Review and approval of a Virginia child care license takes approximately 60 days.
Step 3: Use Permit Amendment
Send to: Zoning Division, CPHD
To expand building space or hours of operation, increase the number of children, or modify use permit conditions, child care center operators need to file a use permit amendment. Use permit amendments are filed with the Zoning Division (CHPD) which reviews the application for completeness and then assigns the permit to a planner in the Planning Division (CPHD). To determine when to file a use permit amendment, please review the County’s Filing Deadlines.
Use permit amendments take approximately two to three months to review and require approval from the County Board. If approved, the permit will include conditions which address and mitigate any potential land use impacts, such as parking, pick-up/drop-off, and noise from outdoor play.
After the County Board hearing, CPHD Planning Division staff will email the applicant a link to the staff report, which will allow the applicant to apply for a certificate of occupancy. The applicant will also receive a letter from the County Board Office informing them of the County Board actions and conditions in the use permit.
Use Permit Supplemental Documents
In addition to the use permit application and payment, the following information is needed:
- Signed disclosure statement
- Scaled drawing depicting site parking, play areas, fencing, additional structures and on-site circulation for pick-up and drop-off
- Scaled floor plan depicting all areas/rooms where children and their teachers/caretakers will be present
- List of outdoor play equipment, with photos and design details
- Letter of support from the Child Care Services Office
- Letter of support from affected civic associations or provide evidence of outreach or why no civic associations are affected by the child care center
- Pictures of interior and exterior of property
- Property owner consent (if operating out of a leased commercial space)
- Parking Management Plan
Providing Parking Off-Site?
Applicants who request to meet their parking requirements at an off-site location must include a written agreement with the property owner of the off-site location in their use permit application. In addition, applicants must demonstrate that:
- Off-site parking shall not result in parking being unavailable for the primary use of the site on which the parking is provided
- Sufficient parking and circulation for pick-up and drop-off of children is maintained on-site
- Off-site parking shall be located near the child care center and accessible by a reasonable walking path
Step 4: Commercial Building Permit
Send to: Inspection Services Division, CPHD or through the ePlan Review Portal
Failure to obtain the required building permit is a violation of the law, however if modifications to a building are not proposed, a commercial building permit is not needed.
Applicants seeking to expand a child care center may need to file a Commercial Building Permit application. The associated supplemental documents for the Commercial Building Permit application vary depending whether the proposal includes new construction, an addition, or interior alterations and are listed on the application.
Filing fees are due upon submittal. Upon receipt of the submission and filing fee, an ISD specialist will enter the application information and generate a permit number for the plans. If submitted online, the application will be routed to all appropriate review groups (ISD, Zoning, DES, and DHS) as required. If submitted in person via paper, applicants are responsible for taking the plans to all appropriate County review groups. If the plans are rejected by the County, the applicant must make the required changes to their plans/drawings and submit plan revisions to the County.
After all departmental reviews have been approved, applicants must pay for the full cost of the permit and will then receive their permit and placard. Once the permit is issued, construction may begin.
Step 5: Certificate of Occupancy
Send to: Zoning Division, CPHD before 4:30 p.m.
A certificate of occupancy (CO) ensures that a child care center complies with all regulations of Arlington County, including laws and ordinances. All CO applications must be filed at the Zoning Division at least one month prior to expanding a child care center. CO applications may be filed in tandem with the commercial building permits.
The Zoning Division will assign a file number to your application. Applicants should keep this number for their records. The final CO will list the maximum number of children permitted for the child care center, which is based on the square footage of the center.
Step 6: Validation Inspection and County Child Care License
A validation inspection will be conducted once the applicant has obtained all applicable permits and is ready for expansion. A modified license will be issued with the requested modification terms listed. The license period will remain the same. Child care programs must also obtain a Virginia child care license from VDSS before they can receive a modified license from the County.
Government Agency Contact Information
American Association of Poison Control Centers
Phone: 1 (800) 222-1222
Arlington County Child Care Services
Address: 2100 Washington Blvd., 3rd Floor, Arlington, VA 22204
Phone: (703) 228-1685
Arlington County Child Protective Services
Phone: (703) 228-1500
Arlington County Fire Prevention Office
Address: 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 400
Phone: (703) 228-4644
Email (General): firstname.lastname@example.org
Email (Permits): email@example.com
Arlington County Health Department (Clinics)
Phone: (703) 228-1200
Arlington County Inspection Services Division
Address: 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1000, Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: (703) 228-3800
Fax: (703) 228-7048
Arlington County Planning Division
Address: 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: (703) 228-3525
Arlington County Zoning Division
Address: 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1000, Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: (703) 228-3883
Arlington Economic Development – BizLaunch Program
Address: 1100 N. Glebe Rd., Suite 1500
Phone: (703) 228-0808
Office of the Commissioner of Revenue
Address: 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 208, Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: (703) 228-3033
ORS Interactive, Inc.
Address: 6066 Leesburg Pike, Suite 200B, Falls Church, VA 22041
Phone: (703) 533-7600
Public Health Division
Address: 2110 Washington Blvd., Suite 350, Arlington, VA 22204
Phone: (703) 228-7400
State Corporation Commission
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1197, Richmond, VA 23218
Physical Address: Tyler Building, 1300 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
Virginia Department of Social Services – Fairfax Licensing Office
Address: 3701 Pender Drive, Suite 125, Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: (703) 934-1505
Is My Property Subject to a Site Plan?
The special exception site plan process is a form of development review which allows for site-specific flexibility in development form, use, and density. Site plans require public hearings before the Planning Commission and County Board. Once approved by the County Board, the development will be subject to site plan conditions which regulate a development’s form, use, and density.
Many properties along Arlington’s commercial corridors are subject to site plans, including several suitable locations for child care centers. Visit the “My Arlington – Projects” County web page to determine if your property has an approved site plan.
You can search by address in the text box on the bottom left of the web page. If your property falls within the areas highlighted in blue, your property is subject to a site plan. Child care centers on properties subject to site plans do not go through the use permit review process, but instead need to amend the associated site plan. Call the County’s Planning Division for more information.