BUILDING COMMUNITY FOR THE NEXT 100 YEARS
UPZONING IS FOREVER - MISSING MIDDLE IS ON THE FAST TRACK!
Our goal is a sustainable Arlington over the long-term, pressing the county to plan proactively for the impact on our budget, on equity, on the environment rather than blindly increasing our population through inflexible zoning and land use tools! Read More on Community-Based Planning Below.
County Board Set to Allow 8-plexes in All Neighborhoods by Year's End. Staff Report Indicates Growth Won't Pose Any New Demand on Infrastructure, Diversity, or Green Space. Read ASF Concerns at Quick Links, Learn More about Missing Middle here, then contact the County Board ASAP.
On April 28, Housing Arlington released the Missing Middle Phase Two report including plans to allow duplexes up to 8-plexes in ALL areas where only single-family homes are now allowed. It aims to add housing stock and "diverse types of housing. The report glosses over major impacts and projects only minimal population increase (1500 over ten years although the market will determine the outcome and the scope of growth continues permanently with new zoning). Most incredibly, the county is ruling out new spending or any plans for more infrastructure, including schools or stormwater projects, and -- by raising the potential yield on most single-family lots -- will stimulate even more teardowns, lot consolidations, and purely speculative investment that makes Arlington increasingly unaffordable. The county also implies new MM units will increase Arlington's diversity, while deflecting the fact that Arlingtonians with household inmes below $108,000/year will be shut out.
After it briefs the Board at their July 12 Work Session (no public input allowed), the plan goes into Phase 3 to draft new ordinances; a Board approval of the new zoning is likely by October/November 2022.
If you are worried about negative impacts of extreme infill, write to the Board NO LATER THAN JULY 12, noting that Phase 3 is being rushed; that population growth, fiscal, environmental and displacement impacts must be resolved; and to adopt measures less drastic than an IRREVERSIBLE UP-ZONING. Join ASF as well to argue for more inclusive process and better planning for ALL DEVELOPMENT IN THE COUNTY. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org. County documents (MM Housing Study of April 28, Consultant Analysis, and FAQ's) offer a comprehensive look at the plans, as well as ASF analyses can be found on our Missing Middle page. Media items can also be found on our In the News page.
Missing Middle Links:
ASF Sample Survey on Phase Two MMHS, May 18, 2022
Myths vs. Reality, April 2021, ASF responds to Missing Middle advocates
Other Development Quick Links:
ASF Letter to Arlington County Board on Pentagon City Sector Plan, February 7, 2022
ASF Background on Plan Langston Boulevard, ASF, November 2021
ASF Video Presentation, What Do New Density Plans Mean for Me? Peter Rousselot, June 2021
Growth Model: Arlington's model for growth is reflected in its General Land Use Plan (GLUP), related zoning, and a citizen compact since 1979 that has limited extreme density to the Orange Line Metro corridor. This compact is under threat as the county coordinates now more with regional jurisdictions on job and population growth than with its own residents, and has let several key players, such as JBG Smith, Amazon, and non-resident speculative developers, and some local non-profits, shape the way to more tech-sector growth. Arlington also faces the challenges for jurisdictions on both coasts where high-paid jobs have made housing scarce or too expensive. At the same time, we face the challenge of Covid, with a K-shaped recovery widening gaps between the top and the bottom of the income scales. Add the new reality of climate change, and Arlington needs to rally with creative community-based growth models that will play out over 30-40 years.
Runaway Growth and No Honest Planning: On a practical level, the county is pursuing or has approved in the last decade major changes to entire parts of our community. Form-based code at Columbia Pike that is gentrifying away our diversity, and intense density that approved 12,000 more people but no school in the 2022 Pentagon City Sector Plan. A new skyline at National Landing with Metropolitan Park and Pen Place (Amazon HQ2), the Shirlington Arts-Industries area, the Clarendon Sector Plan, to name a few. Rosslyn is sporting towers over 30 stories, notable even in that dense corridor. Without creative new approaches, these and other growth trends will severely adversely affect our taxes, our infrastructure, our demographic/socioeconomic diversity, and our environment. ASF currently is focused on two of the initiatives that will greatly change our community: Missing Middle Housing and Plan Langston Boulevard, but also weighs in on general development especially in terms of financing and tax implications.
Missing Middle Housing: No jurisdiction in the U.S. has expanded affordable housing or diversity with Missing Middle housing, but Arlington is pursuing an expansive policy to allow -- likely with a vote by the County Board in October 2022 -- multi-plexes in single family areas in all single-family residential zones. The county has claimed that Missing Middle will offer housing affordability and equity, but ASF and others project the opposite effect, and county staff has admitted, that "affordability outcomes would require a separate staff effort." Furthermore, housing types recommended in its May 2022 report would not be affordable to Arlington's African-American, Hispanic, or senior populations based on current median incomes for those groups.
Plan Langston Boulevard: The county has unveiled two projected scenarios, under the rubric of "Plan Langston Boulevard," for new land use and zoning along that corridor running west of Rosslyn to Arlington-East Falls Church. ASF believes both scenarios fail to account for major adverse fiscal, environmental impacts; do not address new infrastructure, particularly schools, roads, parks; and will severely erode market-rate affordable housing/diversity, effects we also predict for Missing Middle Housing, where plans are not as far along. PLB in fact includes some Missing Middle housing, and presages what we may expect with the next phase of that process.
The Upshot and How to Weigh In. ASF believes MM and Plan Langston Boulevard up-zoning (and up-GLUPping) both represent irreversible densification and a break from the county's 40-year agreement with residents to limit high-density development to Metro corridors. We hope you will share your views with the board (email@example.com)