Virginia Upzoning and Accessory Dwelling Unit Bills Killed Quickly in Committee

The Land Use subcommittee of the Virginia House of Delegates decided quickly to uphold local control of zoning.

1 minute read

January 26, 2020, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A residential street in Herndon, Virginia. | Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock

"In Virginia, a bold proposal to address housing shortages in the state died in a House of Delegates subcommittee hearing Thursday morning," reports Ally Schweitzer.

"The bill [HB 152] from Del. Ibraheem Samirah (D-Herndon) would have forced localities statewide to open up all single-family neighborhoods to duplexes and other housing types that accommodate two families," adds Schweitzer.

"Subcommittee members raised concerns about allowing the state to exercise more influence over zoning, which is traditionally handled by local governments."

The same Land Use subcommittee shot down another bill proposed by Samirah, HB 151, "which would have legalized construction of tiny homes and other ADUs (accessory dwelling units) statewide," according to Schweitzer.

The chance for Virginia to join a small but growing number of states to address a housing affordability crisis by preempting local land use regulations was short-lived. Samirah proposed HB 152 in December. Oregon is still the only state to approve statewide legislation to end single-family zoning statewide, though state legislatures in Nebraska and Maryland are still scheduled to consider similar laws this year.

Alex Baca, who testified in support of HB 152 at the subcommittee hearing, provides additional coverage of the bill's failure, and potential next steps, in an article for Greater Greater Washington.

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