Answer for "Is Arlington VA a city or county?"

Diane Quigley real estate agent
  CENTURY 21 New Millennium

While we do refer to it as we usually refer to cities, Arlington, Virginia, is not a city. There are many who think it should as it feels, acts and looks like one, but still, Arlington is a county.

Located on the other side of Potomac River from Washington D.C. within the Commonwealth of Virginia, the county of Arlington has no cities or municipalities incorporated within its boundaries. 

History of Arlington VA

Back in 1791 a ten-mile square had been selected to house the Nation’s Capital exceeding the borders of what is now Arlington county as well as Alexandria City. Between 1801 and 1847 the whole stretch of land was named Alexandria County but in 1846 the area west of Potomac River was returned to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Almost ten years later, in 1852, from a part of Alexandria County the independent city of Alexandria was incorporated.

At that time there was the County of Alexandria as well as the city of Alexandria. As you might imagine this created a lot of confusion as the two adjacent municipal entities shared one name. The situation was fixed in 1920 when the county named Alexandria changed its name to Arlington, taking the name from the Arlington National Cemetery.

Why is Arlington VA a county and not a city?

Arlington is bound by law to remain a county, but there aren’t any reasons to change its status. In the Commonwealth of Virginia there are some laws which make the county the lowest level of government and in Arlington’s case it led to a new form of government being implemented. The county of Arlington implemented the County Manager Plan as a form of government in 1932 because the way in which it was governed at the time did not fit with the county’s development. The government in Arlington VA has both county and city functions with five members in the County Board elected from the county at large.

Also, in 1922 a law was passed that underlined that Arlington, Virginia is a stand alone entity not to be subdivided or annexed by any other entity, be it city or county, and it remained like that ever since.

Currently, Arlington County is very densely populated with very little uninhabited land. There are parts that are completely urbanized while others have a suburban feel. Get in touch with top realtors in Arlington, VA as there are many opportunities available here. Many people come here as it is in itself a very important economical hub, but it’s closeness to Washington D.C. further adds to its appeal. If you’re looking into moving to Arlington there are some things you should take into consideration but safety is something that Arlington has all figured out for you.


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