Missing middle housing plan changing name, Arlington official says

A name change appears to be underway for a controversial housing plan in Arlington.

Residents have been debating the "missing middle" plan, which aims to put multi-unit housing into single-family neighborhoods, but now county officials have rebranded the plan.

The name "expanded housing options" is being used by Arlington Board Chair Christian Dorsey in a meeting this month.

READ MORE: Arlington 'Missing Middle' homes debate continues

Considering that the board could vote on the measure next month, the timing of the new name is raising some eyebrows.

Dorsey recently told a meeting of Arlington Democrats that "missing middle" is now the "former name" of the plan. He tells FOX 5 the name change is due to zoning law language that doesn't allow descriptive terms like "missing" or "middle."

"I don’t expect that by describing it as ‘expanded housing options’ that we’re going to change people’s minds that have developed really strong feelings one way or another," says Dorsey. "It really is just simply a way of reflecting what this actually will look like within our zoning ordinance."

Opponents say they aren't buying the new name or the explanation as to why it's changing. David Gerk of the group Arlingtonians for Upzoning Transparency tells FOX 5 the name change seems last minute.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Missing middle housing debate continues in Arlington, Montgomery County

"That’s a distraction obviously just trying to get away from the issue," says Gerk. "Then why change it at all!? If it’s not relevant, then why change it at all!?"

The Arlington Board appears poised to put the plan to a vote next month.