The Washington Post
‘Missing middle’ misses
Ann Felker’s July 22 letter, “Affluent affordability,” was an excellent piece on the problems with the “missing middle” proposals. When someone of Ms. Felker’s credentials opposes an affordable-housing initiative, the Arlington County Board should listen. She pointed out “missing middle” proposals simply won’t work. She is not alone. “Missing middle” is also opposed by the majority of the respondents to the county’s survey.
The framework ignores the basic trends driving home prices in the county. Arlington’s affordable-housing “crisis” is based on the county’s proximity to D.C., the best schools in Northern Virginia and Amazon’s new headquarters. The limited number of townhouses that get built probably will not reduce the cost of housing. The new, high-income employees at Amazon will cause the value of these new houses to be rapidly bid up.
There are other problems with “missing middle”: increased traffic and parking in quiet neighborhoods, reduced tree canopy, expanded construction. All of this to support an idea that likely won’t work as its sponsors intended.
The “missing middle” framework will reduce the quality of life for thousands of Arlingtonians who own single-family homes, many of whom are not rich. We are schoolteachers; federal, state and county government employees; blue-collar workers; retired people. We grew up in or moved into and invested in this county. It is simply wrong for the County Board to threaten our way of life.
Arlington voters elected this board to solve problems, including the lack of affordable housing in the county. Implementing the “missing middle” framework would reduce quality of life and not solve the issue.
Al Warner, Arlington