VOICE Arlington leaders and allies turned out 266 strong from 16 member and allied institutions on Nov. 17th to show support for a proposed Missing Middle Housing plan to remove long standing exclusionary zoning restrictions limiting more than ¾ of residential land to single-family homes only. Missing Middle Housing are homes that fall in between detached single family homes and large apartment complexes, such as duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, etc.
The VOICE assembly, which filled the sanctuary of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Arlington, capped months of intensive listening by VOICE leaders in group workshops and one-on-one conversations on the streets of Arlington. Support for this “gentle” housing density to allow more people, including historically excluded people of color, to access homes is a logical next step in VOICE’s 14-year campaign to ensure housing opportunities for families across the income spectrum.
With singing, a powerful homily about the prophetic mandate to “welcome the stranger,” a Missing Middle Housing 101 tutorial with props, and stories illustrating the need for more housing, participants on stage moved County Board members Christian Dorsey and Libby Garvey to declare support for substantial change; they did not specify what that should look like. VOICE and allies at the assembly, including the NAACP, YIMBYs, and League of Women Voters, among others, want the County Board to vote early in 2023 to allow multifamily structures of up to 8 units on the same footprint as a single-family home. We’re asking for enough flexibility in the new zoning language to enable the Missing Middle Housing plan to meet its goals of increasing housing supply and diversity and encouraging greater affordability, environmental sustainability, and economic vitality.