Arlington Elections 2022

Local Elections Count!!! 

Arlington County Board, School Board, and State Government Shape Growth and Development!

Elections 2022

Election Day 2022 is November 8, but you can now vote early in person (including at the County Board building at 2100 Clarendon Blvd) starting September 23 and -- in most locations -- through November 5.  See hours and locations here.  See more details about voter registration, in-person early voting and absentee voting here.  Virginia voters will be voting for:

  • U.S. House of Representatives (8th District):  candidates Don Beyer (D), Katrina Lipsman (R), and Teddy Fikre (I);

  • County Board: Matt de Ferranti (D), Audrey Clement (I), and Adam Theo (I); and

  • School Board Bethany Sutton (D) and Vell Rives (I).

ASF posed questions to the candidates for Arlington County Board that we hope can give you a sense of their positions on issues important to ASF and future development of our county.

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ASF SEPTEMBER 2022 GENERAL ELECTION QUESTIONS FOR COUNTY BOARD CANDIDATES

PART ONE QUESTIONS:  Missing Middle Housing

1.  Affordability/Equity

Board Chair Cristol stated on July 13 that affordability was the primary community goal for new housing, explaining why the county wants to allow 8-plexes on every residential lot in zones R-5 through R-20.  Rents and prices for new Missing Middle Housing were projected by the county’s consultant report of April 28 at:

  • Monthly rent of $2,240-$2,784 for 700-820 square foot units;

  • Monthly rent of $2,960-$4,210 for 1,020-1,490 square foot units;

  • Price range of $571,000-$722,000 for 1,020-1,490 square foot units.

Households must earn 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)[1] or more to afford these units.  Meanwhile, the update to the county’s 5-Year Affordable Housing Master Plan states: “The private market has provided sufficient rental housing for households with incomes above 80% of AMI” and demand “will . . . be met with the private market without public intervention.” 

 

We also see the housing market offering healthy availability, with those at higher ends of the income scale clearly having the largest choice.  In mid-August, Arlington had over 5,400 rental units ( https://www.apartments.com/arlington-county-va/), and 670 condos for sale for $450,000 or less. (https://www.condo.com/Arlington-VA/Condos-Townhomes?sort=featured,priority,score,newest&price=-450000.)  Meanwhile, from 2000-2021, the County lost 8,258 housing units affordable to those at the other end of the income spectrum – those earning up to 60% of AMI.

 

Question 1A – Why promote policy to benefit those with healthy incomes, for whom the County says the private market provides adequate supply, ahead of -– and at the expense of -– those who are more cost-burdened and known to need help more urgently? 

Question 1B – If the majority of residents of color, of residents 65 and over, and of residents with disabilities, earn below 80% of AMI, how does Missing Middle directly promote diversity here?

2. Ownership vs. Rental Units

Homeownership is widely recognized as the primary path to generational wealth-building, but the county has indicated it cannot dictate whether Missing Middle units will be ownership or rental units.  Today in Arlington, detached homes are 90% owner-occupied, while buildings with 2-9 units are 80% rentals; new construction across Virginia is the same ratio.  The County has provided no evidence its Missing Middle plan will produce anything different.  Furthermore, investor/developer purchases of detached homes in Arlington are up 30% in the last 18 months compared to the prior 5-year baseline, according to the County’s ROAM database.  But the County’s Missing Middle Consultant claimed there would be no increase in total tear-downs and only 19-21 Missing Middle lot conversions a year.

 

Question 2A

What are the pros and cons you see of having fewer home ownership opportunities countywide, and increased numbers of tear-downs of lower-cost starter homes? 

 

Question 2B:

Before any vote on Missing Middle, will you push for deeper analysis of the consequences of much greater private equity and investor involvement in our housing market?

3. Transit-Oriented Development

Arlington was a pioneer in transit-oriented development and has relied on this paradigm to concentrate density near transit.  Missing Middle abandons this philosophy. 

Question 3

Do you believe rental units will be sought away from transportation corridors?  If so, why, based on current occupancy data? If not, how would you enhance and pay for mass transportation options along these corridors to promote accessibility and avoid automobile congestion?

4. Community Engagement

Most residents are unaware of the county’s Missing Middle plans, and the county received only 295 positive feedback responses out of 1,694  total forms submitted before the Board’s July work session.  Direct correspondence to the Board has not been divulged.  All 10 of the recently-announced “Community Conversations” in English for September/October filled within 72 hours and will accommodate fewer than 0.1% of residents.  They won’t be recorded or livestreamed.  More serious, we don’t believe the new draft zoning ordinances will be published in advance of these sessions, and there are no plans for open community fora after publication.

Question 4

If you were on the Board now, would you demand a delay of at least 120 days to ensure enhanced public engagement, including a broad, county-wide forum after ordinances are shared publicly? 

PART TWO QUESTION – Arlington Development

Question 5 - Defining Development Population Expansion and Costs:

If you are elected, will you press for Arlington to adopt a better system to capture and disclose in advance of final approval the long term costs of adding significant new population numbers and to also disclose the expected maximum populations being enabled by all major new land use, zoning, and bonus density approvals, including the Clarendon and Pentagon City Updated Sector Plans, Missing Middle, Plan Langston Boulevard, Crystal City height plan, and the move away from the bullseye concept along the Metro corridor?

 

[1] Rents and sale prices: Tables A-3, A-4, A-8 and Attach. 1 of Consultant’s 4/8/2022 Rpt; 80% AMI: https://www.arlingtonva.us/Government/Programs/Housing/Income-and-Rent-Limits; Demand met: page 6, https://www.arlingtonva.us/files/sharedassets/public/housing/documents/AHMP_5YR-Report.pdf

September 2022 Candidates' answers:

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