Housing News

Equity & Affordability: 2019 Leckey Forum Videos

Andrea Brennan, housing policy and development director for the Minneapolis, spoke at the Alliance For Housing Solutions’ annual Leckey Forum about how her city recently upended many of its housing regulations to make way for affordability and, most importantly, equity.

County Considers Accessory Dwelling Setback Requirements

Also known as backyard cottages or in-law suites, accessory dwellings are helpful tools for providing additional housing options throughout our community. Although they are not required to be rented at affordable rates, they are more likely than other new apartments to be affordable given their modest size and features.

Also known as backyard cottages or in-law suites, accessory dwellings are helpful tools for providing additional housing options throughout our community. Although they are not required to be rented at affordable rates, they are more likely than other new apartments to be affordable given their modest size and features.

The County took a step toward approval of new detached Accessory Dwelling units at its April 25 recessed meeting with the approval of a Request to Advertise Accessory Dwelling zoning changes.

The key issue for analysis and approval has been the setbacks that would be required for new Accessory Dwellings.

In late 2017, staff recommended that new detached ADs be allowed at the same setbacks as currently allowed for other accessory buildings such as garages, which is one foot from the side and rear property lines. At that time the County Board asked staff to do further analysis on the setback option sprior to approving construction of new external ADs.

The board did allow conversions of existing detached structures to become ADs as long as only internal modifications were needed.

After conducting research on setbacks used in other jurisdictions, staff returned with a proposal to allow new ADs with a side and rear setback of five feet, rather than the original one foot proposed in 2017.

At the April 25, 2019 meeting the County Board voted to advertise an option for them to approve the original 1-foot setbacks as well as the staff recommendation of 5 feet (any distance between 1-5 feet can be approved).

The board will make their final decision at the May 18 County Board meeting.

Learn more about Accessory Dwellings and how they can benefit a community.

Housing Conservation District Planning Process Begins

In December 2017, the Arlington County Board approved Phase 1 of a proposal for a Housing Conservation District (HCD) that will provide protections and incentives to preserve or replace affordable apartments in market rate affordable buildings. Phase 2 of the plan, which includes developing a set of incentives to help property owners renovate or redevelop their properties in exchange for affordability protections, will be developed throughout 2018.

MARKs and the Affordable Housing Master Plan

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Market Rate Affordable Housing (MARKs) are an important part of the affordable housing stock in Arlington that serves low- to moderate-income households.

MARKs are units that are affordable to moderate or low-income families due to amenities, condition, age, and/or location of the units. The rents are not regulated by any agency allowing for diversity of incomes in buildings or neighborhoods.

This chart, taken from the county's first annual report on the Affordable Housing Master Plan shows how drastically we are losing MARKs (blue line).

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AHMP: Supply, Access, Sustainability

Read how the County did in its first year implementing the Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP), including a look forward at multi-year projects.

See the County's Annual Report page for context and information on past goals and targets.