44.6 F
Thursday, March 30, 2023
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Missing Middle won't stop housing costs in Arlington

Letter: Missing Middle won’t stop housing costs in Arlington

Must Read

Editor: The Missing Middle issue now before the Arlington County Board is a solution in search of a problem.

This proposal would radically replace existing zoning policies to eliminate, or at least reduce, single-family housing in favor of multi-family units.

Proponents claim that housing in Arlington is expensive and beyond the reach of middle-class families. They are right. From that, they claim that significantly increasing the number of housing units will create less-expensive housing, thus serving the Missing Middle. This ignores the basic question of why housing in Arlington is expensive.

Six of the 10 wealthiest counties in the U.S., including Arlington, are in the Washington, D.C., area because of their proximity to high-paying federal government jobs and contracts. With the rise of two-earner families, there is demand for housing close to work. and people willing to pay for it.


So, let’s say that we replace single-family homes with apartment/condo buildings. The housing supply will increase, but so will demand. Metaphorically, Arlington, across the river from Washington, is beachfront property. Property on the beach is always more desirable, and expensive, than property much further away.

The result? Housing built to ostensibly serve the middle class will almost immediately be priced beyond their reach. The market will guarantee it. Yet the increased population density will tax (pun intended) the county’s ability to serve the community. Every public service will have to be expanded, requiring already high tax rates to grow even further.

This may be good news for the developers and those who want the county government to get bigger, but what does it do to the quality of life for everyone else? Crowded schools, crowded roads and disappearing communities.

Arlington does not control the demand that has been created by its proximity to Washington. Missing Middle will transform Arlington into an extension of downtown Washington.

The only thing that will then be “missing” is the sense of community and quality of life that has been the hallmark of Arlington.

Michael Driggs, Arlington

- Advertisement -

Latest News

New School Board member receives liaison assignments

New Arlington School Board member Bethany Sutton has her assignments. School Board members on Feb. 2 are expected to approve...
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This