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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Gonna be a long, hot summer on housing

Editor’s Notebook: Gonna be a long, hot summer on housing

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Based on our coverage yesterday, it’s already a case of everyone having gone to his, her (or still undecided) corners and coming out swinging on Arlington’s “Missing Middle” housing proposal.

Can’t say it enough: The fix obviously is in and single-family zoning is a goner in the People’s Republic of A-town. Now, whether that will include all the changes being sought by some (eight-plexes? yipes!), who can tell? But certainly the days where you bought a single-family home in a single-family neighborhood and had a reasonable expectation it would stay that way are now going, going, gone.

It’ll be interesting to see what marriages-of-convenience spring up on either side of this issue. Just yesterday, we noted that the NAACP has hopped on board the county government’s proposal, but the Arlington Tree Action Group is going the other direction. And candidate-for-life Audrey Clement made the correct claim that the survey being used by the county government seems to be constructed in such a way as to guarantee the result county officials wanted. (This surprises anyone?)

Fact is, there are smart people on both sides of this debate, so if the goal of the county leadership is to try and pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, they can put that aside right now. They’re going to have to tough out the criticism and, when the time is right, do what they more or less planned to do from the start on this matter.


Which is what one-party rule gets you, just about every time.

(That last sentence-cum-paragraph is not a dig at Democrats for winning everything in A-town; it’s a dig at others for not being able to run even marginally competent campaigns, and for an electorate that just goes with the flow and declines to rock the boat even when it’s headed toward a waterfall.)

Is there still a chance for those in the public who have been asleep at the wheel on this to make their views known (no matter what those views may be)? Yes, but the window of opportunity is closing. By the time the county government ramps up “citizen engagement” in the fall, the matter will be effectively settled. So don’t wait — and don’t complain later if you choose not to get involved now.

— Scott McCaffrey

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