Arlington County spending over $700 an hour in lawsuit against residents over Missing Middle: report

Arlington County is reportedly doling out over $700 per hour in legal fees as it combats residents suing the county over the contentious issue of the "missing middle."

The battle centers on allowing mixed-use housing in neighborhoods with single-family homes. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include ten Arlington homeowners who say they would suffer substantial harm from the construction of multi-family buildings. On January 11, a judge ruled the residents have a right to sue the county. 

But taxpayers in Arlington will reportedly have their taxpayer dollars footing the bill for hundreds of dollars an hour in attorney fees based on an agreement between the county and a law firm defending the county.

Grassroots group Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future posted on its X account saying their Freedom of Information Act request shows the county is spending $750 per hour on outside lawyers in the Missing Middle lawsuit. 

One of those law firms reportedly includes Virginia-based firm, Gentry Locke. FOX 5 has reached out to Gentry Lock and we're awaiting their response. 

A county spokesperson emailed us saying the county does not comment on ongoing litigation – but residents expressed their concerns about the changing landscape of Arlington and the mixed reactions to the use of taxpayer dollars in this legal tussle.

"For me, I pay a lot in taxes and I would want to know where that’s going," said Michael-Anne Hogan, an Arlington resident.