BUILDING COMMUNITY FOR THE NEXT 100 YEARS

Vision & Commitment

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Recent Decisions & Changes

UPZONING IS FOREVER IN VIRGINIA, GET SMART, SPEAK UP NOW!  

 

Quick Links:

 

      ASF Presentation:  Missing Middle Consequences, Jan/Feb 2021

ASF Article on Missing Middle Housing, August 2020

ASF Response to Arlington County MM Housing Survey  Dec 2020

Blanket Upzoning A Blunt Instrument Won't Solve Affordable Housing Crisis, Dr. Michael Storper, March 15, 2019

 

Missing Middle and Other Approaches to Development

Arlington has been in Covid-19 mode since March 2020, limiting public engagement to virtual inputs and mailers.  In the meantime, Covid has put enormous pressure on the county budget.  Covid may also be changing how we live, with businesses shifting to telework, residents shunning public transit, and more demand on green space as indoor activities are limited.  Lower interest rates may be skewing home sales and increasing speculative investment, while rental vacancies are notably increasing.  Virginia just ended extended unemployment benefits and protections against evictions are expected to end December 31, promising further turmoil.

Despite these seismic changes and their uncertain cumulative effect, the county is devoting major resources in advancing its Missing Middle (MM) Housing Study.  It released five research bulletins this summer.  Staff fielded questions on September 2; the County Board approved a MM Scope of Work, Charge, and Timeline on September 22; and a virtual community "launch" followed on October 28.  The board rejected ASF's and CivFed's calls for a community working group for subsequent MM phases, even though this up-zoning represents a widespread, irreversible densification and a break from the county's 40-year agreement with residents to limit high-density development to our Metro corridors.   

While no jurisdiction in the U.S. has produced through Missing Middle policies an affordable housing supply or improved demographic or income diversity, Arlington is cloaking MM as a social and economic tool for housing affordability and equity, even as staff told the board on September 22 that "affordability outcomes would require a separate staff effort."  As the county has rejected open dialogue on this point -- that housing affordability is the real problem -- we offer other ideas short of bulldozing/infilling our single family neighborhoods and ask you to consider the county's true commitment to affordability and diversity if it stonewalls them all:

  • adopt long-term fiscal models for budgets before approving new zoning that will accelerate population growth;

  • revisit zoning that has led to extensive tree loss by permitting extremely large homes on modest lots;

  • develop a long-range plan for new school seats for anticipated enrollment growth without repurposing parks for school use;

  • provide housing vouchers or coops for county employees;

  • address Virginia's ban on inclusionary housing;

  • promote remodeling, adaptive reuse and other policies for the best use of built and green space, avoiding teardown/new builds that hugely inflate land/home prices;

  • work with local groups to set up community land trusts;

  • fully fund existing Arlington commitments to acquire more public green space;

  • invest in sensible mass transit, instead of letting builders escape parking space requirements that adds to traffic and parking woes;

  • ensure state-of-the-art stormwater and tree canopy management to ensure we can manage our precious -- and increasingly stressed -- natural environment;

  • Invest in low-income communities to preserve cultural history and encourage economic redevelopment and improved educational outcomes. 

These issues are explored across the expanse of our website.  ASF is engaging robustly on Missing Middle and other aspects of development that relate to sustainability.  We urge you to review our Key Issues pages.  For more info on MM, you may visit our Missing Middle page, or review here some key documents:

​Share your views with the board (countyboard@arlingtonva.us) and help ensure a credible citizen engagement process.

Missing Middle

Help shape housing policy before the point of no return.

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