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Arlington Elections 2023

Local Elections Count!!! 

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

Elections 2023

ASF is paying close attention to the race for Arlington County Board, which has the most influence on growth and development of all the races on the ballot this November.  Early voting for the County Board, School Board, and multiple other races began on September 22; election day for in-person voting is November 7. Voters will be electing two members of the County Board; there will not be any ranked-choice voting for any of the races in November general election for Virginia. See hours and locations for voting here.  See more details about voter registration, in-person early voting and absentee voting here


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.

September 2023 County Board Candidates' answers:




Question 1 - Strategic Planning for Growth and Development

Since 2018, Arlington County has:


  • changed zoning in multifamily areas so the Board can permit unlimited density for affordable housing complexes;

  • added automatic bonus density into the Zoning Code for senior housing;

  • added automatic bonus density into the Zoning Code for LEED silver and platinum construction in new buildings;

  • awarded Amazon 1.6 million square feet of bonus density and undervalued the community benefits by up to $400 million;

  • dramatically increased the use of special GLUPs, which were supposed to be rare tools to increase density in areas without sector plans;

  • approved the Missing Middle upzoning that allowed a nearly six-fold increase in density (R5, R6, R8, R10, R20 zones, essentially eliminating single-family zoning countywide;

At no point before making these changes to add density did the County define the capacity of CURRENT zoning (i.e. how many units can be built under by-right zoning.) 


Would you agree as a new board member to publish -- before approving any new sector plans, land use or zoning amendments:

  • The projected 10-year Arlington operating budget with CURRENT zoning and land use?

  • The demographics and median incomes that can be accommodated with maximum buildout under current land use and zoning?Would you agree to use this baseline to measure against all future zoning and land use changes before they are approved?

Question 2 - Commercial Property Vacancy


Arlington County’s office vacancy rate hit 23.7% (link) this year, the highest we've ever seen.  This reflects a 20-year trend; notably, the amount of vacant office space today is equal to every single square foot built here since 1999. 


  • How would you address this problem as more leases are coming due and the work from home trend continues?  Given Arlington had fewer affordable housing units in 2022 than in 2000, despite a 24% population increase, why isn’t the County keeping up with other jurisdictions (Washington DC, New York City, Alexandria) that are doing more on Office-to-Residential conversions?  As a Board Member, would you require County workers to come back into the office?

Question 3 - Plan Langston Boulevard

Plan Langston Boulevard was launched in 2015; it may go to a Board vote in 2023.  What was originally a plan for low-to medium density along 5 mixed use nodes has morphed into a nonsensical phased "Vision" that will lock in much higher density but leave critical gaps in the plan.  (Cherrydale and East Falls Church as two of the 5 nodes are now removed!)  Massing and density have escalated from early drafts, with the current vision showing 5-6 stories along most of the boulevard and leaping to 10-15 stories at the three remaining nodes, with site plans potentially increasing this even further).  PLB will add 15,000 residents beyond the 23,000 who lived here in 2017, a precipitous increase that would necessitate extensive infrastructure that the plan does not satisfy.  


Community engagement was complicated by Covid and engagement on other development issues (Missing Middle, VHC, Firehouse 8, Donaldson Run, etc.)  And while there was strong interest in better traffic management and open space by residents, both are deferred or omitted from the current vision.  The county has not explained key requirements by VDOT, which administers Langston Blvd as a major commuter and evacuation route.  Nor has the County explained why the percentage of affordable housing units will decrease as a percent of total units, even while it uses affordable housing to justify the Rossly-level of density it is introducing outside the Metro corridors.  Most important, the County has failed to square the PLB plans with the tectonic shifts in the regional and county circumstances, to wit:


  • Decline in Arlington's population from 2019-2022;

  • Fiscal and land constraints on ability to construct public facilities such as community centers, parks, rec, libraries, public safety facilities, and schools;

  • The impact of sorely-needed office-to-residential conversions (see question 2);

  • Increasing impacts of climate change;

  • Decline in use of existing mass transit (see Question 5 below);

  • A 5.1% apartment vacancy rate; , primarily unwanted small apartments, which PLB will add to this market;

  • Missing Middle approval and potential ability to deliver the "new housing types" that PLB also promises inside the same planning area, and MM impact on existing housing stock for those earning 30-120% of area median households


  • Do you agree that PLB should take these planning parameters into consideration?  Would you approve the plan in its current form, with current heights and densities, and the omission of Cherrydale and East Falls Church?


Question 4 - Missing Middle or Enhanced Housing Options


Arlington residents are challenging the County’s EHO/ Missing Middle upzoning in court


  • If the court overturns or stays EHO programs, what would you do?  What specific changes in process or substance would you promote?  Do you believe the current county tracking system is adequate to judge whether stated goals are achieved?  How will you define "success" of EHO if it continues in current form?

Question 5 - Metro Funding Crisis


Much of Arlington’s growth and development paradigm has rested on our two Metro corridors.  Pre-COVID, ridership at Arlington’s Metro stations declined 20% from 2012-2018 (chart below), even as County population rose 7% (mainly near Metro).  Since 2019, daily ridership is down 45%.  Metro now faces a $750 million deficit.


  • What steps must Arlington take -- with other jurisdictions or alone -- to help fix this funding gap?  How does your vision for Arlington take into account the long-term decline of Metro ridership in the County?

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