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Thursday, June 30, 2022
ArlingtonOpinionSun Gazette editorial: We repeat, the fix is in on housing

Sun Gazette editorial: We repeat, the fix is in on housing

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

To cut through the clutter, we will say it again: The fix obviously is in and single-family zoning is a goner here in the People’s Republic of A-town. County leaders, elected and staff, have gone too far and become too enraptured with their own voices on the subject to back away now.

Now, whether the changes will include all the proposals being sought on the fringes of sane policy (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.

Which is what one-party rule gets you, just about every time: A grim, plodding march to a preordained result.

(That last sentence-cum-paragraph is not a dig at Democrats for winning everything in A-town; it’s a dig at critics of the oligarchy unable to effectively stitch together alternative political narratives, and at an electorate that declines to rock the boat even when it’s headed toward a waterfall.)

Anyone credulous enough to believe that free-range zoning is going to lead to lower housing costs seriously needs to look again. Maybe county leaders truly have fallen for that canard, or maybe they’re simply willing to pretend it will work and then profess being shocked – shocked, we tell you! – when the inevitable result is more super-expensive housing crushed closer together than ever before.

Because increased levels of super-expensive housing is the only way this gambit works. Were it to be modestly priced abodes, the cost of educating the children therein, plus all the other various and sundry operations of government, would exceed the accruing property taxes. And with the future of commercial property, in Arlington and elsewhere, still an open question, that can’t be allowed to happen.

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 gets around to discussing this in the fall, the real decisions already will have been made. If they haven’t already.

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