Editor: The Arlington County government’s Missing Middle housing survey is heavily biased with leading questions, a hard-sell designed to shape opinions rather than hear them.

Despite its name, Missing Middle is not about providing housing for those with middle-class incomes – it’s about providing denser housing. The survey is part of a carefully coordinated upzoning campaign to promote the elimination of single-family home zoning and allow construction of duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and townhomes in single-family neighborhoods.

The survey reiterates assumptions from the county government’s “Missing Middle research” documents, which were generated without any opportunity for public input. The most egregious misuse of the “Missing Middle” research in the survey is its use of past racial discrimination to suggest that doing away with single-family zoning will somehow provide more equitable housing opportunities and more affordable housing.

County officials have consistently said that upzoning is unrelated to housing prices.  Nonetheless, the survey offers the choice of affordability as an upzoning “opportunity.” But upzoning may prove to be as discriminatory as the policies the survey decries by encouraging teardowns of moderately priced homes and their replacement with more expensive options.

Arlingtonians deserve an opportunity to be heard through a genuine and unbiased survey. But the leading questions and deliberately misleading choices for answers in this survey will only confirm the county government’s desired conclusion.

Joanne Dunne, Connie Ericson, Maura Quinn, Michael Thomas, Elizabeth Grossman, Jan Hull

The signatories are members of Arlingtonians for Upzoning Transparency.

(4) comments

CJE

Wrong. "Affordable Housing" is the fraud component of the New Urbanists' ongoing infill gentrification growth-for-the-sake-of-growth scam, which victimizes the workforce and middle class who desperately need actually-affordable housing. Much of the County's so-called "affordable" housing, which typically costs $400,000 per taxpayer-subsidized luxury unit to construct, is in corridors where low wage workers must commute many miles to live where housing is actually affordable, having been automatically excluded because of low income. The beneficiaries of these frauds are non-profits, for-profits, and partnerships that are cronies of the Arlington Board of Supervisors, which uses the "affordablity" fraud as a means of ridding Arlington of "undesirables", i.e. Latinos and African-Americans. Consequently, no matter how many "affordable" units are constructed, rents continue to increase and the same number of homeless populate Arlington's streets.

Op Madera

The assertions in this letter misunderstand how housing markets function. Increasing the number of housing units creates downward pressure on regional rents and home prices. Preventing more housing supply will not stop gentrification or displacement, it will accelerate it, with dire consequences for low income residents:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/d176a56euis13mn/Reforming%20American%20Housing%20Policy.pdf?dl=0

We simply cannot be both a progressive and inclusive place AND simultaneously bar new housing. It's bad for housing affordability, bad for homelessness, bad for the environment (drives up CO2 emissions per capita and degrades regional air quality by pushing people into longer commutes), bad for taxpayers (requires more lanes to accommodate more fringe development in the cornfields and more subsidies for Metro since zoning regulations prevent would-be users from living near stations), and bad for upward social mobility and racial and income inequality (people are forced to dedicate even more of their income to rent, mortgages, and transportation costs due to constricted housing supply).

We need more housing units, not fewer; preventing more units is a recipe for catastrophic increases in housing costs. Just ask San Francisco and LA.

CJE

Arlington's "Affordable Housing" Program is out-and-out fraud and invites both criminal prosecution and a class action lawsuit on behalf of the victims - the workforce and others who are banned from what is taxpayer subsidized entry-level luxury housing at $400,000 / unit.

LKirby

I agree that additional properties will not solve the problem and make it more problematic to balance and provide foundational services. The land is still part of the environment; more land loss will result in a decline of its quality. There are 196 properties 'for sale' today in Arlington listed at $400K or less on the multiple listing service for real agents. Since the Civil Rights of 1966 race is not allowed to be a consideration for property sales or rentals. Any one who believes they have been discriminated against can contact HUD and they will investigate. I've felt since I moved here in the 80's that Arlington has a friendly vibe. It is 'welcome to all' and its residents are representative of many cultures, religions, political bents and all races.

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