Editor: The recently concluded Arlington County Board election was billed as a referendum on Missing Middle housing policies, which surged to become the most dominant and divisive issue in a county election since the streetcar eight years ago.
The results are in: Arlington voters delivered a decisive win for pro-Missing Middle incumbent Matt de Ferranti, while pro-Missing Middle candidate Adam Theo almost doubled his margin from last year. Together they combined for over 70 percent of all votes cast, while anti-Missing Middle challenger Audrey Clement didn’t even break 30 percent.
The voters have spoken. We want Missing Middle.
Now that the County Board has a clear mandate, many residents will wonder what changes to expect in their neighborhoods. As an Arlington homeowner, I’m looking forward to those changes. They’ll be slow and gradual, one development at a time and barely noticed by most of us. Our neighborhoods will largely look and feel the same. The biggest difference is that a few more families will get to live in our neighborhoods and be our neighbors.
How do we know all of that? Because that’s how it’s played out in other places where Missing Middle homes are legal.
For example, one neighborhood in Portland, Ore., has allowed duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes for more than 40 years. Today its homes are a mix of older and newer single-family houses, with multi-family homes sprinkled in. Its mature tree canopy has been well-preserved, and the total number of homes has changed by less than 1 percent every year.
That is what it looks like to allow Missing Middle homes. It is, to borrow a slogan, our Missing Middle future. And it looks great!
Wells Harrell, Arlington