Housing Density Dividing Voters in Arlington County

The race for the county’s only board seat pits proponents of ‘missing middle housing and higher density against residents concerned about outsized growth.

1 minute read

November 2, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


The election for a seat on Northern Virginia’s Arlington County Board is quickly becoming a referendum on housing density, writes Teo Armus in the Washington Post.

“As he campaigns for reelection, first-term board member Matt de Ferranti (D) has seemingly tried to stake a compromise position on missing middle, which is set to be voted on by county lawmakers early next year.” His opponents skew to the opposite ends of the spectrum, with Audrey Clement campaigning on concerns about density coming too quickly and Adam Theo calling on the county to do more to address its deepening housing shortage.

“That has left de Ferranti — one of the most liberal voices on an already liberal board — somewhere in the middle, trying to build consensus on a divisive topic with a middle-of-the-road solution that seems to make no one happy,” Armus writes. “The only board member to vocally oppose blanket legalization of eight-unit apartment buildings, he has echoed some talking points from those critics [of growth], saying that these ‘eightplexes’ would mostly result in one-bedroom rentals more vulnerable to developer speculation.”

With the Democratic party’s backing a significant financial advantage, de Ferranti is expected to win reelection, but the campaign has brought out stark divides over the housing density question among local residents.

Monday, October 31, 2022 in The Washington Post

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