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A straightforward answer to a straightforward question is hard to get from any politician these days.

But the three contenders vying in the July 7 County Board special election appear to be taking the non-answer syndrome to new heights in local politics.

Latest example: The Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) asked the trio what they believed Arlington’s ideal population would or should be.

The current population stands at about 235,000, and has been on the rise in recent years. That growth has brought both positives and negatives to the community.

While the candidates gave lengthy, albeit frequently nebulous, responses to how they would address the growth of the population, none actually got around to answering the question with an ideal population target.

But generalities were in abundance:

• “We can’t stop growing, but we can be much smarter about it,” said independent Susan Cunningham. “The County Board must ensure that any future growth is both practical and proactive.”

• “I support intentionally planning for growth in Arlington and managing it using robust civic engagement,” Democratic nominee Takis Karantonis said.

At least Republican nominee Bob Cambridge took the time to acknowledge he was dodging the question. “Ideal population density is a rather subjective term,” he noted in his response.

“Arlington’s population is growing, and that growth can easily be characterized as fast,” Cambridge noted.

Refusing to get pinned down seems to be a theme of this election – candidates have studiously avoiding taking too specific a stance on the future of single-family zoning, and have opted not to be drawn into potentially contentious issues like who should receive top priority for affordable-housing support.

The election was called in the wake of the death, in April, of County Board member Erik Gutshall. The winner will serve the remaining 18 months of Gutshall’s term.

In a questionnaire, ATAG also quizzed the candidates on matters related to the future of the tree canopy in Arlington; the need for environmental assessments on county-government projects; and the preservation of natural resources when considering issues ranging from stormwater to traffic.

For information, see the Website at https://arlingtontreeactiongroup.org.

(11) comments

CJE

[thumbdown][thumbdown]to the New Urbanists and their local media boosters who are laughing all the way to the bank at our and the environment's expense. Most of them don't and won't live anywhere near the "Smart Growth" they inflict on us. Then there are their charades - "Car-Free Diet", "Affordable Housing", and "Urban Village". Take it to the Rust Belt.

InsideCommenter

[thumbdown][thumbdown] to delusional thinking that Arlington is still some suburb stuck in the 1950s. Arlington will continue to grow regardless either we grow in an effective and planned manner, or we become NIMBY nut-jobs like folks in the Bay Area and we end up with a housing crisis. I say let Arlington grow and density rapidly increase, all the 80 year old kooks can either put or shut up about it.

jna

Answer: No Growth. After 30+ years of so-called 'Smart Growth' aka 'Growth for the Sake of Growth' the County's an expensive, congested, un-affordable mess. Enough.

Allen Muchnick

[thumbdown][thumbdown] To the comment poster who deceptively uses MULTIPLE aliases to create a "chorus" of "reinforcing" comments.

CJE

Save it for your neighbors in suburban Manassas.

Allen Muchnick

Please leave your deceptive, echoing sock puppets on the Arlington Yupette blog.

InsideCommenter

put up*

Comment deleted.
InsideCommenter

I'm an urbanist and I darn well live in Arlington County. By the way we need denser housing to reduce the cost of housing in the county. Those folks with larger sized homes such as many trolls on this board have are the only ones stand to lose. They care only about their home values and NOTHING ELSE. Arlington County love it or leave it.

CJE

[thumbdown]Going on 40 years of Dumb Growth infill and no matter how many new apartments and condos are constructed the cost of housing keeps increasing. Latest scam from the Urbanists is to tear down perfectly OK 3 bedroom 2 bathroom homes that list for $800,000 and put four $800,000 cottages on the lot and call that "affordable housing". Take it to the Rust Belt. Forty years of Dumb Growth are enough.

jna

New Urbanism is nothing more than mixed-use infill gentrification. It gets worse every year. First it was the workforce now it's the middle class being gentrified out. Special mention to local media owners and publishers who've become wealthy from being "Smart Growth" boosters for decades. Bonus points to the Old Guard Progressive VIPs who live in upscale single family homes and want us to live in converted backyard garages.

CJE

[thumbdown][thumbdown]to the Urbanist NIMBY owners and publishers of Arlington's two news blogs who are laughing all the way to the bank in the classic suburban shopping plazas near their upscale suburban enclaves.

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