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Arlington Board To Meet Again To Vote On Missing Middle's Next Phase

Patch 2 days ago Mark Hand
The Arlington County Board will convene again at 4 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss the Missing Middle housing proposal. More than 175 people offered their opinions on the proposal at board meetings on Saturday and Tuesday evening. © Mark Hand/Patch The Arlington County Board will convene again at 4 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss the Missing Middle housing proposal. More than 175 people offered their opinions on the proposal at board meetings on Saturday and Tuesday evening.

ARLINGTON, VA — After hearing from more than a dozen speakers Tuesday evening, the Arlington County Board will convene again Wednesday afternoon to discuss and possibly vote on whether to move into the final phase of developing its Missing Middle housing zoning plan.

The proposed zoning changes would allow the construction of duplexes, three-unit townhouses and multifamily buildings with up to six or eight dwellings on lots in Arlington currently zoned for single-family homes. The term "missing middle" refers to what Missing Middle supporters view as a lack of townhouses, duplexes and other types of multifamily housing between single-family and apartments and condominiums.

Prior to the start of Tuesday's public hearing, Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said the board would consider all the testimony heard on Saturday and Tuesday evening — comments made by more than 175 speakers — and then convene again at 4 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss the testimony and the Missing Middle proposal.

When the vote finally comes, it is widely expected that the board will choose to “advertise” the policy. Such a decision would start a 60-day period when the Arlington County Planning Commission and County Board would hold more public hearings and then work to develop a final version of the major change to the county's housing zoning policy.

The county board could hold its final vote on the Missing Middle housing proposal as early as late March if it votes to advertise the policy on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Missing Middle Plan Stirs Up Lengthy Debate At Arlington Board Meeting

At Tuesday night's meeting, the board heard primarily from people representing groups in the county, including the Arlington Tree Action Group, Arlingtonians for Upzoning Transparency, Sierra Club, NAACP Arlington Branch and League of Women Voters of Arlington.

Hillary Horn, a long-time Arlington resident speaking on behalf of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, said her group supports the Missing Middle proposal because it believes Arlington needs to expand its housing supply.

"Arlington has successfully implemented major land use changes in the past, and we can do it again," Horn said. "VOICE knows from experience that our lives and the lives of our children are enriched when we live with neighbors of different races, ethnicities, faiths and beliefs, and economic levels. And this will only come about with changes in our land use policy."

Arlington resident Jason Harrier, speaking for the Lyon Village Citizens’ Association, urged the board to take more steps toward a "reasonable consensus" before voting to move the Missing Middle housing plan into its next phase.

Like other opponents, Harrier said the options in the Missing Middle plan, in its current form, "are not likely to accomplish the worthy goals that they set out to solve in the first place."

The goal of the major zoning change, according to the county, is to increase and diversify Arlington’s housing supply and ultimately provide more housing options for residents to choose from, either as rentals or homes to purchase.

Opponents of the Missing Middle plan agree with supporters — that it will greatly increase the population density of the county. But they disagree that building multiple new homes on the small lots currently zoned for single-family homes will improve affordability, equity, or inclusion.

"Rather than move forward with a flawed plan that creates nothing more than false hope among supporters and results in vast concern among opponents, I'm here today to ask you to bring the community together and listen. Don't divide us like this," Harrier said Tuesday evening. "Don't rush to advertise this deeply flawed plan. Instead, bring us together and let's design a solution for everyone."

The County Board's Wednesday afternoon session, where it will discuss the Missing Middle proposal, will begin at 4 p.m. The public can attend the hearing in person at the County Board Meeting Room on the third floor of the Bozman Government Center at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. in Arlington, or watch the meeting online.

The article Arlington Board To Meet Again To Vote On Missing Middle's Next Phase appeared first on Arlington Patch.

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