Arlington community speaks out on Missing Middle plan

Arlington County held a public hearing Saturday morning on its Missing Middle plan, but a final vote will have to wait until Wednesday. 

The proposal would update Arlington's land use policies so multifamily units could be built in neighborhoods currently zoned for single-family homes. 

Saturday morning's hearing brought out people who are either for the ‘Missing Middle’ housing Plan or against it.

"I’m here as a housing advocate and really looking for opportunity for families and households that really have no place in Arlington," said Arlington County Resident Alice Hogan. 

Hogan is one of the more than 200 speakers who may get her turn to share her thoughts Tuesday, since Saturday’s public hearing could not get through with what everyone had to say.

The 'Missing Middle' proposal would allow more duplexes and townhomes throughout the county. Currently, the majority of the homes in Arlington are single-family homes, and part of the argument is that it excludes large groups of people from being able to live in Arlington.

"We have such a high-demand market that you got McMansions on the one hand and almost subsidized units on the other and there’s really nothing in between for all those families who cannot afford that and do not qualify for assistance," said Hogan.

Some residents on the other side say the proposal hasn’t been researched thoroughly enough and nor has it been analyzed. 

"I think given how extensive the impact is, it’s half of our land area and we are a very small county and we are fully built out so I’m calling for more analysis," said Arlington County Resident Anne Bodine. 

Bodine says that the argument of affordability, as many supporters of the plan have been using, is being misused.

"Most people think it means helping those who are underserved and there’s a huge gap of about 9,000 units in Arlington for people under 50% of earned median income so I’m all for helping those people first because it going to be harder to put that back together after helping people earning about 120% of median income and that’s what missing middle targets."

The Board expects to hear more speakers during its Tuesday meeting before deliberating and potentially voting on Wednesday. The meeting will start at 4 p.m.