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Wednesday, March 22, 2023
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: 'Missing Middle' housing needs to focus on home-ownership

Letter: ‘Missing Middle’ housing needs to focus on home-ownership

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Editor: The County Board seems hell-bent on creating a persistent renter class in Arlington, forever unable to purchase their own homes and perpetuating the sad legacy of inequity. This is the real insidiousness of “Missing Middle.”

All of us who have worked in development in Arlington know that upzoning makes real estate more expensive, not less expensive. Upzoning single-family homes is especially pernicious. It results in homes that are even more valuable to current owners, so that they are less likely to sell, constraining inventory and causing prices to rise even more than they would without the upzoning.

Other places with earlier attempts at upzoning resulted in single-family homes with accessory-dwelling units upon accessory-dwelling units. This has led to something I do not think we want in Arlington: a majority-rental community, with owners living elsewhere.

The properties are so valuable, it makes no sense for owners to sell them when they can rent them and pocket the cash, forever retaining the wealth. Where’s the affordable housing in that?


I’d much rather help young people and the middle class actually BUY housing, not rent it. Home-ownership is the route to wealth-creation and the route to remedying inequity. Nothing reinforces inequity like handing existing homeowners additional wealth through Missing Middle upzoning.

Joan FitzGerald, Arlington

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