Can NIMBYism be de facto?

Do households with incomes at or below 80% of area median income (in Arlington, that translates into about $58,000 for an individual; about $83,000 for a family of four) need protection by law against housing discrimination? Apparently they do . . . in some parts of the Old Dominion. A bill to prevent such discrimination by local jurisdictions in land use or permitting applications passed overwhelmingly in the Virginia Senate this past January before stalling in the House of Delegates. An internet search reveals little history of the bill, introduced by Senator Mamie Locke of the Hampton area, but it has been commonly referred to as the “anti-NIMBY” bill. Given Arlington’s history of creating several thousand Committed Affordable Units, a need for such de jure protection here would be hard to argue.

But can it be argued that a form of de facto discrimination has reared its head at times? And do the delays and compromises it drives reduce the number of affordable units and/or ratchet up their costs?

Among other findings in the newly-released Preliminary Analysis Report of the Columbia Pike Land Use and Housing Study, it is noted that “bonus density offered in exchange for incorporating affordable housing into market-rate developments is largely ineffective due to community opposition to height and increased density”.

Just sayin’ . . .

And speaking of the Pike, the Columbia Pike Charrette is fast approaching—June 24–30. Link here for a complete description of all events and how to RSVP.