Indian River Design Guidelines

Heron's LandingThe Indian River Design Guidelines will provide staff, property owners, and other users with guidelines that will speak to the enhancement of physical character, revitalize the community-oriented main streets and detail the historical significance of the Indian River Planning Area. The key commercial corridors under consideration for the Design Guidelines are Indian River Road, Providence Road, and the eastern portion of Military Highway. The aim is to work toward the creation of a unique sense of place and a unified vision for the development of commercial corridors in Indian River. The project is anticipated to be completed and brought to City Council for adoption in Fall 2024. 

Project Background

The Indian River Design Guidelines is a project born out of the Indian River Planning Area Study (IR Plan), adopted by City Council in December 2021. One of the implementation strategies, the Design Guidelines, was recommended and detailed through collaboration between City Staff, Boards and Commissions, consultants, stakeholders, and residents. The IR Plan evaluated the current conditions between the boundaries of the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River to the north, the Chesapeake/Norfolk city line to the west, the Chesapeake/ Virginia Beach city line to the east, and I-64 to the south. 

The Guidelines will address the following: 

  • A clear vision and intent for the outcome of the guidelines 
  • Architecture standards 
  • Massing, scale, façade treatment and fenestration, and building materials  
  • Site standards 
  • Setbacks, heights, lot coverage, building spacing, orientation 
  • Parking 
  • Location, landscaping, required spaces  
  • Site circulation (pedestrian and vehicular) 
  • Streetscape 
  • Sidewalks and pathways, street furnishing, outdoor dining, plazas 
  • Lighting 
  • Signage 
  • Landscaping 

The Guidelines will be developed based on compatibility with surrounding neighborhoods, community, and other stakeholder feedback and recognized best practices. The Guidelines will incorporate maps, diagrams, sketches, photos, and other imagery to clearly communicate guidance, standards, and proposed elements. 

For more information about the Indian River Design Guidelines, please contact project manager Marvin Hodges by email at or call 757-382-6176.