Recognizing the importance of preserving Virginia Beach's rural area, in 1979 the City introduced the "Green Line" urban growth management tool and established planning policies to channel growth and infrastructure improvement to the northern half of the city. 

As developable land built out over time in a sprawling suburban pattern, the City Council recognized the need to accommodate future growth and preserve the established, stable residential neighborhoods. The solution was to identify areas that could be redeveloped in a more urban style.

​​​​​​​​​​​Virginia Beach's strategic growth areas (SGAs) were first identified in the 2003 Comprehensive Plan and later refined in the 2009 Comprehensive Plan as areas designated to absorb future growth in the city. Rather than relying on the dwindling inventory of remaining undeveloped land, the SGAs will accommodate growth at higher densities, thereby averting continued suburban sprawl. 

They not only allow the city to continue to grow while preserving Virginia Beach's rural and suburban areas, but they also create a third lifestyle option for residents to enjoy.

The vision of the SGAs embodies a vertical mix of urban uses, great streets, and well-designed pedestrian connectivity. It includes mobility and transit alternatives, urban gathering places, and land use patterns that foster economic growth through efficient use and reuse of land, neighborhood protection, “green” building and infrastructure opportunities, and a variety of civic, commercial, artistic and ethnically diverse areas."

Burton Station

This strategic growth area offers significant opportunities for economic development due to large expanses of undeveloped land located near interstate, rail and air connections.

Burton Station illustration


The vision for this strategic growth area is to become an education-oriented, master-planned community that capitalizes on its regional access and existing institutional anchors.

Centerville illustration


This strategic growth area represents a unique opportunity to enhance an established retail market sector with a distinct identity.

Hilltop illustration


This strategic growth area features adjacent natural assets such as the Lynnhaven River and London Bridge Creek as well as healthy neighborhoods.

Lynnhaven illustration


This strategic growth area is attractive to businesses seeking easy access to regional and interstate highways and is a highly visible portal to the city.

Newtown illustration


Home to the city's vibrant Town Center, this strategic growth area features classic suburban pattern development, as well as institutional, commercial and industrial uses.

Pembroke illustration