Regional Business District


The primary goals of the Regional Business District (RBD) are to intensify the unique strengths of the district; conserve and increase property values; facilitate the creation of a convenient, attractive, safe, and harmonious community and promote an orderly development in the district. To achieve these goals:

  • Encourage a high level of quality in building design and site planning.
  • Promote blending of new development with adjoining historic structures (in terms of height and mass relationships, and building facade treatments).
  • Protect the heritage of Newport News by providing a link to the past through preservation and appropriate architecture.
  • Enhance pedestrian activities by requiring infrastructure to encourage a variety of ground level activities directly accessible from the street such as eating, shopping, sitting, talking, people-watching, and waiting for public transit.
  • Protect and enhance major views in the Regional Business District such as views to the waterfront, landmarks, historic places, and views from/into major “entrances” into the district.
  • Encourage exposure of the interior uses of buildings when complementary to pedestrian activities such as shop windows, food preparation displays, interior garden spaces, etc.
  • Evoke a “sense of place” within the Regional Business District.
  • Minimize signage to reduce the potential for signage clutter.
  • Create a “sustainable environment” by encouraging the practice of energy efficient design, and requiring ample landscaping and green space to soften hardscapes and mitigate heat islands.

Plan Area

The Regional Business District (RBD) is located in the heart of Downtown Newport News. It is primarily bounded by the James River and Newport News Shipbuilding to the west, 39th Street to the north, Interstate 664 to the east and Newport News Marine Terminals to the south. The Regional Business District is home to many government activities and buildings, both local and federal, including City Hall, a Circuit Court Building, and a Federal Court Building. Within the District several buildings with historical value remain. Many citizens of Newport News call the District home while Navy personnel call it home away from home while their ships are docked for temporary maintenance and repairs.

Regional Business Development Manual

The purpose of the Regional Business District Development Manual is to supplement Article XXII. C3 Regional Business District Regulations of the City’s Zoning Ordinance. (See Appendix A.) The manual provides a framework and criteria for the RBD Committee and staff to review applications. The guidelines in this document may also assist the applicant in understanding the design expectations for development and redevelopment projects within the RBD.

The manual’s intent is not to be overly specific or to dictate particular designs or styles but to provide a general design framework for the various types of applications while ensuring a high quality, well designed project that will advance the view the City has for its historic downtown.

More Information

Saul Gleiser, Senior Planner, 757-926-8076