Accessory Dwellings, MARKs, Land Swap and other County Policy Updates


The Arlington County staff, County Commissions and Working Groups have been busy working on a number of policy efforts that will collectively have a sizable impact on housing programs in Arlington.

  • Accessory Dwellings – The July 11, 2017 staff work session revealed board members appear open to relaxing many restrictions imposed in initial ordinance. See the Staff draft recommendations for improving the 2009 ordinance here: View a video of the Work Session. Next steps:
    • ZOCO meeting on July 31 - the Zoning Committee of the Planning Commission will meet to discuss the proposed AD regulation revisions
    • Final recommendations for updates to the AD regulations are expected to be announced and voted on between October and December of this year
    • This year's AHS Leckey Forum will include a panel presentaion on ADs, September 20th.
  • Market Affordable Housing (MARK) Preservation – As a follow up to the MARK preservation study released in March, County Staff are now working on a proposal for a Housing Conservation District overlay on the General Land Use Plan (GLUP). These districts would provide some form of incentives to retain or replace affordable units. Next steps:
  • Budget/AHIF – the County’s first annual competitive Affordable Housing Investment Fund Notice of Funding Avaialbilty (AHIF NOFA) selected APAH’s Queen's Court  as the highest ranked application. However because the current balance in AHIF is so low, it will only receive partial funding in FY18 with the remainder of the project to be funded in FY19. No new NOFA is expected for next year due to insufficient funds in the account. Look for further updates about this fund in future AHS newletters.
  • Real Estate Tax Relief– After the Working Group report released 4/10 and work session with board held on 7/6 the board approved staff moving forward with Phase 1 recommendations. Phase 1 primarily focuses on improving the program’s user-friendliness for participants. Look for proposals in the upcoming FY 19 Budget that will have more details on possible changes to income and asset limits for the program.
  • Residential Parking in Metro Corridors– As a follow up to the Working Group report released in April the work session with the board held on 7/6 showed that although they were mostly comfortable with lower parking requirements for affordable units near the Metro, some additional analysis is requested. Next steps:
    • Plan to advertise the policy in September with a County Board vote in October
  • Homeownership/MIPAP – County staff are looking into changes to required income targeting for homeownership units in the Columbia Pike Form-Based Code and other changes to the Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP).
  • VHC Land Swap – the County chose the Carlin Springs property in a land swap with Virginia Hospital Center (VHC); the JFAC Phase II report recommended excess funds from the swap to be dedicated to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) for land acquisition, possible future acquisition of other VHC properties, and consideration of housing as a complimentary use for properties in the future.
  • Lee Highway Planning – this upcoming planning effort will have a big impact on the ability to revitalize the Lee Highway corridor and meet the Affordable Housing Master Plan's (AHMP) expectations for new and preserved affordable units in this area. Staff have reported that the process will begin no later than December of this year.

Stay tuned with us as these move forward to official proposals and votes!