Virginia Public Radio Reports on McGuireWoods’ Zoning and Segregation Study

June 7, 2022

Virginia Public Radio interviewed McGuireWoods Tysons real estate and land use partner Jonathan Rak and McGuireWoods Consulting senior advisor James Dyke for a May 31, 2022, story about the firm’s in-depth study of zoning laws and housing segregation in Virginia.

The report, “Zoning and Segregation in Virginia: Part 2 — Expanding Housing Choices for the Future of Virginia,” builds on McGuireWoods’ previous study documenting how zoning was used as a tool to create segregated housing patterns that endure long after the Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited racial discrimination. The recommendations in Part 2 focus on changes to Virginia’s planning and zoning laws at the local and state levels to increase housing choices, remove barriers to diverse neighborhoods and increase access to attainable housing.

Dyke said that discriminatory zoning laws that enforced racial segregation for decades are among the reasons why Black wealth is still just one-eighth of white wealth.

“The two main ways to build wealth in this country have been through education and through home ownership,” Dyke said. “And Virginia’s history in both those areas has been, shall we say, miserable to be honest with you.”

Rak told the station that local governments should include housing equality in their comprehensive plans so they can measure economic and racial segregation in their communities and “begin adopting policies and measuring the success of those policies to try to reduce the levels of segregation.”