Government Watch / Politics

Arlington, Virginia Next Target in Left-Wing Crusade to Abolish the Suburbs

AMAC Exclusive – By Steven Peay

Arlington
Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol (D)

In the final months of the 2020 campaign, former President Donald Trump repeatedly warned about Democrats’ plan to “abolish the suburbs.” While the mainstream media insisted the claim was false, time has once again proven Trump correct, as liberal enclaves one-by-one look to abolish single-family home zoning and spread those same policies elsewhere. The left’s latest target: Arlington County, Virginia, just across the river from Washington, D.C. and one of the wealthiest suburban areas in the country.

In the left’s crusade for “equity,” “environmental justice,” and “densification,” the suburbs are on the chopping block.

In 2020, the Arlington County Board of Commissioners launched what it called a “Missing Middle” study to ostensibly “explore how new housing types could help address Arlington’s shortfall in housing supply and gaps in housing choices.” Arlington consistently ranks among the most expensive housing markets in the country, and is only set to get more expensive with major companies like Amazon and Boeing moving in. Proponents of “missing middle” housing strategies argue that multi-family homes and apartments in areas previously zoned for single-family homes are the key to bringing down housing costs.

Earlier this year, the board released the results of the study, which unsurprisingly argued that re-zoning vast swaths of the county from single-family home use to multi-family home use will solve Arlington’s housing “crisis.” The board is now considering several proposals to that effect, allowing for multi-unit complexes large enough to accommodate up to eight families to be built on lots previously zoned for single-family homes. Notably, according to Virginia law, changes to zoning laws are not eligible for a ballot initiative, and so whatever decision the board comes to will be final. This means that if single-family zoning is eliminated, an owner of a single-family home in Arlington could soon find that their neighbor’s house has been sold to a developer, who will promptly tear it down and build a four-story apartment building right next door.  

During the first few of twenty planned “community conversations” about the proposed changes, some Arlington residents have supported the move, while others have raised concerns that allowing multi-family units on single-family lots will drive down existing home values and make owning a home in Arlington impossible for those who don’t already. At a meeting in June on the rezoning plan, residents booed county board chair Katie Cristol (D) when she began discussing the plan.

The recent momentum to do away with single-family zoning in Arlington follows similar successful efforts in other radical left progressive localities like Portland, Oregon, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well as the entire state of California. These efforts have also been explicitly encouraged by the Biden administration, which has furthered regulatory efforts that began under the Obama administration to eradicate single-family zoning in suburban areas. Biden’s budget request for FY 2023 includes a $10 billion proposal to incentivize states and localities to abolish single-family zoning, providing lucrative grants for those that do so. Although Republicans managed to remove it from the final bill, Biden’s original draft of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan which passed last year also included threats to cut billions of dollars in federal funding to localities which “ban apartment buildings from certain residential areas or set a minimum lot size for a single-family home.”

In Arlington and elsewhere, the left has cloaked their support for abolishing the suburbs in the language of “racial equity,” in effect claiming that any opposition to their point of view is “racist.” Shortly after the Arlington County board released its “Missing Middle” plan, the local chapter of the NAACP released a statement calling it “a first step in a series of necessary actions to reverse the damage done to Black and Brown residents by governmental and nongovernmental acts,” referring to discriminatory “redlining” practices that took place prior to passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Biden’s Department of Housing and Urban Development has repeatedly stated that “zoning reform” is a critical component of bringing about “equity” in housing.

Left-wing activists now refer to single-family zoning as “the new redlining.” But as conservatives have pointed out, there’s nothing inherently “racist” about single family homes. In fact, a majority of African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans now live in the suburbs. Eliminating single-family zoning today will only have the effect of making it harder for minority families to achieve the American Dream of owning their own home. Families of all races looking to escape the violence and crowds of cities might suddenly find that everywhere has become urbanized, as “densifying” residential areas has become the new “social justice” craze on the left.

For progressives, however, ending single-family zoning is an enticing political opportunity. The more voters Democrats can pack into densely populated areas, the more likely they are to win elections. By turning swing-vote suburbs into deep-blue miniature cities, electoral outcomes are all-but assured to move to the left.

But if county leaders in Arlington move forward with their plan to end single-family zoning, it could also backfire dramatically. Matt de Ferranti is the only board member up for re-election this November, but the other four members will also have to face voters in the years to come.

Additionally, threatening single-family zoning in Arlington could have ripple effects in Virginia’s statewide elections next year, as voters in other counties will rightly fear that their single-family neighborhoods could be the next casualty of the left’s war on the suburbs. In the final weeks of the gubernatorial race last year, one conservative group released a devastating two-minute TV attack ad against Democrat nominee Terry McAuliffe highlighting his past support for ending single-family zoning. While other issues like education undoubtedly played a role in handing the election to Republican Glenn Youngkin, many of those same voters are likely also concerned about protecting the future of single-family zoning.

Though Arlington has long been a Democratic stronghold, the votes of suburbanites who don’t want their neighborhoods transformed, fearing a reduction in the value of their homes, rising crime rates, or even the continued availability of street parking, may cut into Democratic margins, perhaps tipping the scales toward Republicans in a few key Virginia House and Senate districts centered on suburban areas.

Try as they might, the left may soon find that voters simply won’t give up a way of life that they have worked their entire lives for, no matter how much woke virtue signaling they are subjected to.

Steven Peay is the pen name of a political consultant with prior experience in the executive branch and U.S. Senate.


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Claude Slage
1 day ago

Commies love their housing blocks and their choochoo trains.

Doc Moore
1 day ago

While touted as a conspiracy of some sort, I think this is rather just another demonstration of the very well established fact that Liberals (Including the fools who vote Democrat) cannot lead. They can visualize fanciful solutions to problems that may not even exist, but they cannot propose anything that actually makes sense, nor, by any means, ever lead an idea to completion. If they ever could, they’ve lost the ability. It isn’t conspiracy. It’s incompetence.

Joe F
2 days ago

One way to alleviate the housing crunch in Arlington would be to fire about half or more of the government’s alphabet agency’s bureaucrats.

Donna
2 days ago

Why not do this on Martha’s Vinyard?They have plenty of acreage there.

Pat
2 days ago

Abolishing the suburbs is Obama’s agenda.

Norine Holland
2 days ago

Look at your city website… is the city development plan a SMART city? If so, this is it.

Norine Holland
2 days ago

This is already happening in Hampton VA and everywhere else Smart cities have taken globalist $$$. They create business and top them w apartments, surround them w ev bikes and scooters in prep for you to “Own nothing and love it”. Cars- history. UN WEF $$$ for at least a decade now. Call your City Council on selling out liberty for cash.

Rich
4 days ago

The globalists are saying right now that by 2030, we will own nothing and be happy about it. Of course that doesn’t pertain to the political “elites”. They will still have their multiple million (or billion) dollar estates. Sounds fair to them. Anybody see a pattern here?

Nick
4 days ago
Reply to  Rich

Yes a pattern of you saying stupid things.

Norine Holland
2 days ago
Reply to  Nick

You are seriously stuck w your head where the sun dont shine.

Nick
4 days ago

My neighborhood, where none of you basic poors can afford to live, has lots of apartment buildings mixed in with single-family homes. It’s great and I’m glad none of you are here!

Norine Holland
2 days ago
Reply to  Nick

Spoken by a true elite….”where none of you basic poors can afford to live”? Thanks for making our point.

Shir
4 days ago

Socialist and Communist governments don’t like private land ownership. They want to tell how and where you will live.

MR. A. B. JAMES
4 days ago

california went along with this. now overcrowding is the norm!

M.J.
4 days ago

I did not work and save for nearly 50 years to live in a Communist Ghetto. I have been to China and saw at least a hundred big high density apartment buildings sitting empty. They built them expecting people to leave the villages and move into these monstrosities. Didn’t happen, probably won’t. Same thing will happen here. People who grew up in single family non urban homes and drove their car to work for decades don’t want to move to apartment communities and travel by bus and subway just to satisfy some misguided Social Justice/Equity leftist wet dream.

Mario Capparuccini
4 days ago
Reply to  M.J.

Very well said!

KAK1965
4 days ago

Thank you for the story – this was an Obama initiative that was killed when Trump took office (thank goodness). We all need to pay attention to this issue – which is simple at its core – redistribution of neighborhoods so the elite can gain power and authority. Needs to be stopped at the municipal, state and federal levels. Remember this when you vote !!!!

Norine Holland
2 days ago
Reply to  KAK1965

Excuse me? not killed. Agenda 2030- UN. US has nothing to do w it. UN funds cities directly. This has been an issue we saw back from the Tea Party days.

Mike L
4 days ago

This is a way to kill the “American Dream” of owning a home. (note: home not house). Every family has his own castle.

demonrat just don’t want to corral people into tenement living, they also want to erase our dreams.

MR. A. B. JAMES
4 days ago
Reply to  Mike L

i disagree! “WE THE PEOPLE” allow this to occur by OUR non-participation in the political process!!!!!!

Rich
4 days ago

Mike, hopefully the illegals will understand this and realize this is not what they came here for. Then, vote accordingly.

Randy P Bergeron
4 days ago

In the world of leftist elites, only the elites should be entitled to a single-family home. You can bet that most of the leftists engaging in this war on suburbia are single-family home dwellers with no plans to interrupt their lifestyle. They have all adopted the philosophy of “It’s good for thee but not for me.” We must also remember that Communist governments like to pack their people into crowded cities because it is easier to maintain control over them.  

Repent
4 days ago

The wicked left will stop at nothing to steal law abiding tax paying citizens’ money and rights!!!

MR. A. B. JAMES
4 days ago
Reply to  Repent

the tax payers are giving their rights away!

Murf Appling
4 days ago

This is most interesting! Is it safe to “assume” the vast majority of the citizens of Arlington VA R Federal Govt. employees, or working for enterprises “attached at the hip of Uncle Sam”? Earning salaries that increase yearly, very few layoffs, exempt from Market Forces, outstanding benefits, pension plans, all paid for by the American Tax Payer. Therefore, housing values, plans, investments, R going to increase yr after yr. Who, in their right mind, would favor a “multi-layered” high rise going up next 2 a 4000 sq ft home with a 1/2 acre yard & such? We use to discuss this N our American Govt classes – all N favor of living N a 20 story, mustard yellow, dark, dank, dehumanizing high rise, please raise UR hand!! Think of the South Bronx NY, or Puritt Igoe St Louis MO!! The major ??? – “How do these people get elected?” Can No One read anymore??

Mike L
4 days ago
Reply to  Murf Appling

Look at a few of these building in Detroit (Zug Island). What is remaining of them.

Robert Zuccaro
4 days ago

We’re being forced onto our own reservations like the Native Americans were… in the 1800s, the government slaughtered the buffalos to make them dependent for food; today they slaughter our CARS to make us all dependent on them for MOVEMENT.

MR. A. B. JAMES
4 days ago
Reply to  Robert Zuccaro

the natives could not vote we can!

Suzi Cassone
4 days ago

I live in a small, 2 bedroom, single family house in Westchester County. I could not afford most of the apartments that have already been built in my area. Cost of building is so high it precludes many people from living here. This is a no-brainer idea!

Naomi
3 days ago
Reply to  Suzi Cassone

The low-income people do not pay full rent- they get vouchers and pay way less. I didn’t know this till my niece (a property manager) filled me in. Also, their office gets lots of calls from corporations trying to buy single-family homes that get turned into rentals.

Mario Capparuccini
4 days ago

I wonder if Barak and Michelle will have an apartment building next to their Martha’s Vineyard mansion? They will need servants after all. The evil, hypocrisy, and hubris of the left are apparent for all to see but there are so many who are blind.

Mike L
4 days ago

they could take in a few of the illegal emigrants as servants, sure michelle will pay them well.

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