Editor: The Arlington County government has posted yet another survey to guide the residents to its next phase of upzoning and density goals as part of its Missing Middle housing initiative.
These intricate surveys ostensibly are taking the pulse of the county – but how many people really understand what the county government’s development goals are? What percentage of residents take these surveys, or even know about them or the county’s plans for density?
These surveys are unnecessarily complicated on the county’s part, which seems intentional.
These proposed zoning changes are enormous and irreversible. The county government needs to put the surveys on hold until they have asked a very basic question posed to the entire community via news media, a letter to residents and a referendum on the ballot.
The question? “Should Arlington increase zoning across the board to allow 10-story-plus buildings, condos and duplexes where we are currently zoned for single-family neighborhoods with yards?”
Arlington is not the only community dealing with this push for dense development. The Sun Gazette’s Fairfax edition of June 3 reported in front-page coverage that “McLean Zoning Plan Still Drawing Flak,” noting that McLean residents are concerned about the overall density of redevelopment plans being pushed by the Fairfax County government.
How can anyone be presenting these mega-projects as promoting anything remotely “desirable” in terms of walkability, open natural green space and canopy trees, community-bonding and comforting to the human scale when they are developing entire corridors, all at once and with no regard to architectural charm, let alone other unintended consequences?
These plans gentrify, put a stress on infrastructure, stress taxpayers, mom-and-pop businesses and schools, and delete what little nature is left – with no true community feedback and examination of those effects prior to forging ahead.
Margie Bell, Arlington
Bell is writing on behalf of Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future (https://www.asf-virginia.org/).