Arlington County Housing Policy Efforts to Continue in 2021

January 26, 2021

Arlington County, Virginia, recently unveiled three major housing initiatives that will have a significant impact on how affordable housing is addressed in redevelopment projects for the foreseeable future.

  1. Five-Year Review of the Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP). Arlington County’s review of the AHMP is expected to recommend tools to increase the number of on-site affordable dwelling units constructed in the county.
  2. Affordable Housing Building Height Zoning Ordinance Amendment. Arlington County is considering a zoning ordinance amendment to permit the County Board to approve buildings up to 60 feet taller than what is permitted under current zoning for projects providing 100 percent low- and moderate-income housing (up to 60 percent of area median income). The proposed zoning ordinance amendment is in addition to the bonus density currently available for those projects. The County Board could approve this amendment as early as April 2021.
  3. Multifamily Reinvestment Study. Arlington County recently rebranded its Housing Conservation District (HCD) effort as the “Multifamily Reinvestment Study.” The Multifamily Reinvestment Study broadens the HCD effort by creating new zoning tools that would help preserve existing affordable housing, create new committed affordable units, and increase the supply of new market-rate multifamily housing. The Multifamily Reinvestment Study could be completed later in 2021.

These three efforts are in addition to the Missing Middle Housing Study Arlington County launched in late 2020. The Missing Middle Housing Study, which will examine methods to further expand housing opportunities, is expected to be conducted throughout 2021 and into 2022.

McGuireWoods attorneys and land planners are happy to discuss the effects of these initiatives on future projects and how to approach creative solutions of rising expectations and new and evolving policy tools.