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.