Virginia Beach is a city built on innovation and partnerships.

Using those same building blocks, the YesOceana program was developed to meet the requirements of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission to protect our residents and keep the Navy’s East Coast master jet base, Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, in Virginia Beach.

This innovative program consists of zoning ordinances and economic incentives to foster the conversion of nonconforming businesses in the Accident Potential Zone 1 (APZ-1) into conforming ones and relocating ones that cannot be converted to another part of Virginia Beach. Not only does this approach accomplish necessary rollback, but it also ensures that redevelopment follows sound planning and land use principles and that any new development is of a higher quality than what currently exists.

Accomplishments to Date

  • 58 non-conforming commercial properties eliminated.
  • $3.2 million in EDIP grants awarded.
  • $61 million in new and retained private investment.
  • $58.4 million committed to 46 businesses to promote compatible uses.
  • 386 residential dwelling units permanently removed from APZ-1 and Clear Zones.
  • Created an overlay to regulate and stop encroachment over 46,663 acres within the AICUZ footprint.
  • Extended sound attenuation requirements over the entire AICUZ footprint.

Sources: Virginia Beach Economic Development, Public Works Real Estate, 2021

For more accomplishments, view this Progress Report.

For those businesses that conform to APZ-1 uses, the City of Virginia Beach can offer the following incentives to facilitate a move or expansion in this area of the City.

Waiver of Conditional Use Permit

  • New compatible uses may be located within APZ-1 without a conditional use permit even if the use would otherwise require a use permit under applicable provisions of the City Zoning Ordinance.

In order to qualify, the proposed use must conform to certain design criteria intended to ensure an organized and aesthetically pleasing appearance that would not adversely affect residential neighborhoods or other property in the area. By avoiding the necessity of obtaining a conditional use permit from the City Council, a proposed project can receive all necessary City approvals in a significantly shorter period of time than if a use permit is required.

Business Opportunity Zone – Rebates BPOL Taxes and Fees

In order to qualify for the rebates, a proposed conforming business must be located in APZ-1 and conform to the design criteria mentioned below.

Businesses may be eligible for one or both incentive benefits pursuant to City of Virginia Beach Code Sections §35.2-11:

  • A 90% rebate of the Business License tax (BPOL) for a period of 15 years for any compatible use in APZ-1, and
  • Reimbursement of fees for building permits, site plan applications, water and sewer connections (excluding HRSD fees), and sub-division permit. This is a one-time reimbursement.

Eligible businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Be located in the APZ-1 Business Opportunity Zone; and
  • Conform with the requirements of Section 1804, Table 2 of the City Zoning Ordinance (“conforming use”); and
  • Comply (and continue to maintain compliance) with the development standards set forth in Section § 1810 of the City Zoning Ordinance.
  • Register with the Commissioner of the Revenue and maintain a current business license, as needed.

Download the application.

Partial Property Tax Exemption

  • The ordinance provides a partial real estate tax abatement for the qualifying properties that are rehabilitated or renovated, including the replacement of program-conforming properties or commercial or industrial improvements resulting in the conversion of a nonconforming use to a conforming use in APZ-1.

The difference in the assessed value of the building before and after renovation is subject to real estate tax forgiveness for a period of 15 years. Review the eligibility requirements and application.

Residential Property Acquisition

If you would like your property reviewed to determine if it qualifies for the residential acquisition program, please contact the Public Works Real Estate division at (757) 385-4161 or

Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana

NAS Oceana, the East Coast Master Jet Base, is one of the most important contributors to the economic stability of the City and the Commonwealth of Virginia.​ According to the most recent Economic Impact Report for the Federal Fiscal Year 2021 from the U.S. Department of the Navy, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic (NRMA), the base* ​employed 16,450 (13,185 active-duty personnel and 3,265 civilians) with an overall economic impact of more than $2 billion and produced more than $188 million in goods, services, and travel expenditures.

In 2005 NAS Oceana, for the first time ever, was included in the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's list of recommended base closures. To preserve the base and its enormous contributions to the community, the City of Virginia Beach developed an unprecedented plan, the YesOceana program, to roll back encroachment in the areas surrounding NAS Oceana known as Accident Potential Zone 1 (APZ-1) and the Clear Zones.

The disposition of acquired parcels is ongoing as the area continues to transition as a result of the acquisition, disposition, and conformity plans.

Photo Credit Oceana: F/A-18E Super Hornet

*with Dam Neck Annex and NALF Fentress VA

The EDIP incentive program continues to be a successful tool to reduce incompatible development and bring about conformity to the Accident Potential Zone. This is just one of the many APZ-1 success stories:

The Public Works Real Estate Division had an essential role in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Response program’s success. In 2012, the BRAC Response program was selected as one of the “Top Ten Projects of the Year” by the International Right-of-Way Association (IRWA). At that time, it was the only program of its kind in the country and has been serving as a model for other localities facing problems with encroachment around air installations.


  • Virginia Municipal League’s President’s Award for Entrepreneurial Government in 2009.
  • Naval Air Station Oceana was selected as the Active Base Community of the Year in 2010 by the Association of Defense Communities (in recognition of its community partnership with the City of Virginia Beach).
  • 4th place in the International Right of Way.
  • Association’s “Project of the Year” competition for 2012.
  • City of Virginia Beach Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. was named “Elected Official of the Year” in 2012 by the Association of Defense Communities.
  • International Economic Development Council’s 2014 Gold Excellence Award.

For more accomplishments, view this Progress Report.

Completed forms may be emailed or mailed to the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development:

Deborah Zywna
City of Virginia Beach
Department of Economic Development
4525 Main St., Suite 700
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462

Email: / Phone: (757) 385-2913