D2 Uptown Rezoning and Innovation Overlay District

D2 Uptown District Land Use Study

The purpose of the D2 Uptown Land Use Study was to analyze the existing makeup of the district’s land uses, development patterns, transportation networks, market forces, and the community factors that influence the district and provide recommendations for updated zoning regulations/other development considerations to catalyze reinvestment. The City has identified that the existing D2 Form Based Code (regulating plan map linked below) is not the appropriate zoning tool to encourage growth and development in this district. In 2017, the City commissioned a land use study of the D2 Uptown area to initiate the process of updating the zoning regulations that will apply to this area (study linked below).

Existing D2 Regulating Plan (PDF)

Uptown D2 District Form-Based Code (PDF)

D2 Uptown Land Use Study (PDF)

Rezoning of D2 Uptown Area

The City of Portsmouth is proposing to replace the 541 parcels of the D2 FBC district with traditional zoning districts based on recommendations from community engagement, public review, and the D2 Uptown Land Use Study. The Proposed New Zoning Map (linked below) for the D2 area attempts to ensure new zoning regulations reflect the reality of existing and potential land uses, current and future development forms, appropriate densities, and other development standards.

The City of Portsmouth is proposing to identify the D2 district as the Innovation Overlay District. The new Innovation Overlay District is proposed to be superimposed on the new zoning districts for the current D2 Uptown area.

D2 Proposed Zoning and Innovation District Map (PDF)

Proposed Innovation District Zoning Parcel List (PDF)

D2 Proposed Zoning District Descriptions (PDF)

d2 land use study
D2 Proposed Zoning Map

Innovation District Virtual Town Hall

The City of Portsmouth held a virtual town hall on October 21, 2020 to get input from property owners and interested parties regarding the proposed Innovation District and D2 rezoning. Below are materials related to the town hall.

Town Hall Meeting Agenda

Town Hall Meeting Presentation

For additional information or questions, contact Julie Chop at chopj@portsmouthva.gov  or Meg Pittenger at megp@portsmouthva.gov or by phone at 757-393-8836


Town Hall Meeting Video

Innovation Overlay District

In addition, the new Innovation Overlay District is proposed to be superimposed on the proposed new zoning districts for the D2 Uptown area, which will clarify requirements for development and facilitate new growth and development.

Innovation Overlay District Briefing (PDF)

Proposed Innovation Overlay District Zoning Standards (PDF)

What is an Innovation District?

An innovation district is a place-based urban development strategy that aims to regenerate an under-performing area into a desirable location for innovative and creative companies and workers. An innovation district is a platform for all kinds of activity that stimulate innovation while offering value to entities that drive the economy. Innovation districts have proven to be practical solutions for cities to modernize their economies and pivot from traditional industrial-based production to technology-driven services. 

For more information on innovation districts see:


Why is the D2 Uptown area a good candidate for an innovation district?

The D2 area contains a number of assets for identifying this area as an innovation district including: 

  • Considerable available land for development and redevelopment
  • Significant publicly-owned land primed for private investment
  • Connection to City’s future fiber optic ring providing opportunities to deploy Smart City concepts
  • Linkage to future wind energy investment projects by PMT
  • Considerable public/civic activity with Behavioral Health Services, Social Services, Health Department buildings and the future Hampton Roads Community Health Center headquarters
  • Locational advantages including:
    1. Central to Portsmouth
    2. Adjacent to Downtown Portsmouth and Norfolk
    3. Direct access to MILK to I-264 East/West and Rt. 164 Western Freeway
    4. Close proximity to PMT and VIG ports
    5. Nearby institutions including Naval Hospital, Maryview Hospital, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and Coast Guard
    6. Neighboring academic institutions including IC Norcom High School, Norfolk State University, Tidewater Community College, Old Dominion University, and ODU Tri-Cities Center

What are the potential benefits of the Innovation Overlay District?

  • The Innovation Overlay District will provide the regulatory framework for the desired redevelopment and land use options.
  • The Innovation Overlay District will give the D2 area a sense of place, an identity, and a vision for inclusive growth.
  • The Innovation Overlay District will facilitate the ability of the city to generate accessible jobs.
  • The Innovation Overlay District will contribute to economic growth by helping generate revenue.
  • The Innovation Overlay District will help to provide educational and skill-training opportunities for Portsmouth residents

Future Steps

The proposed rezoning of the D2 Uptown district will be considered in the near future by the City’s Planning Commission and City Council during the consideration and adoption of the newly re-written zoning ordinance. If the proposed new zoning is approved by City Council, the City’s Planning and Economic Development departments will jointly be coordinating the development of an Innovation District area master plan including a potential new Placemaking strategy. That process is proposed to commence during the late Spring or Summer of 2021. Information regarding those efforts will be available on this page. For additional information or questions, contact Julie Chop at chopj@portsmouthva.gov  or Meg Pittenger at megp@portsmouthva.gov or by phone at 757-393-8836.

More Information about Innovation Districts

Innovation District Information https://www.brookings.edu/essay/rise-of-innovation-districts

St. Petersburg, Florida https://stpeteinnovationdistrict.com/the-district 

Chattanooga, Tennessee https://www.chainnovate.com 

Gainesville, Florida http://innovationdistrictgainesville.com