Board of Architectural Review (BAR)

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Architectural Review FAQs

BAR Meetings 

The Board of Architectural Review (BAR) meets on the first and third Wednesdays of each month with the exception of August when all boards and commissions are in summer recess. The meetings are held at City Hall, in the City Council chambers at 7:00 P.M.

Beginning May 1, 2020, all BAR meeting documents, such as agendas, staff reports, and meeting minutes will be posted to the main City Meetings page.

Meeting Date Agendas Reports  Actions Minutes
5/6/20 and on Navigate to Meetings page      
4/15/20 CANCELED      
4/1/20 CANCELED       
3/18/20  CANCELED
3/4/20  Agenda Item 4 - Northfax Phase I Work Session Actions Minutes
2/19/20 CANCELED      
2/5/20  CANCELED      
1/15/20  Agenda 

Item 4 - 3936 Old Lee Highway Amendment

Item 5 - Wawa at 10521 Fairfax Blvd

Item 6 - Brown's Mazda Work Session

Actions Minutes


If you have questions concerning the BAR submission process, the scheduling of hearings, or design guidance, please contact the BAR Liaison:

Tommy Scibilia    703.385.7892

Click here to download the BAR application, which includes information regarding Guidelines for Submission, Review Criteria and a Submission Checklist.

General Information

The BAR assesses all improvements or changes to architectural and landscape features on private property visible from public places (rights-of-way, squares, parks, government sites, and similar) prior to construction or installation with the exception of:

  • Repair work or exact replacements
  • Construction of and modifications to single-family detached houses outside the Historic Overlay Districts
  • Modifications to single-family attached housing, duplexes, and town houses outside of the Historic Overlay Districts after their initial construction

Approved projects are awarded a major certificate of appropriateness (COA). Certain minor improvements may not require BAR review, and may be approved administratively and awarded a minor COA.

Signs in the Old Town Fairfax Historic and Transition Overlay Districts also require architectural review. Contact Community Development and Planning Staff to find out whether your property is in one of these districts.

In Special Use, Special Exception, Rezoning, and Planned Development reviews where a COA is required, the BAR must provide a recommendation to City Council who may then approve the COA themselves, or refer it back to the BAR for final approval. The BAR also makes recommendations to City Council on Special Exception Requests to provisions of the Zoning Ordinance for the Old Town Fairfax Historic and Transition Overlay Districts.

BAR approval does not take the place of construction permits, sign permits, or other required permits and licenses. If a site plan is required, final approval and building and construction permits may not be issued until after BAR approval. Please ensure that plans submitted for these permits reflect any conditions of approval adopted by the BAR.

Design Review Documents

Staff and the BAR, among other users, assess the appropriateness of a project using the City of Fairfax Design Guidelines. Applicants should review the relevant provisions of this document prior to submission. Contact staff for guidance.

Projects are also reviewed for compliance with the provisions of both the Zoning Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan.

BAR Members

The Board of Architectural Review is composed of seven members appointed by the city council.

In the event of a vacancy on the Board, interested parties may contact the BAR Liaison for desired qualifications and application instructions.


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