Trial begins for Arlington Missing Middle lawsuit

Several plaintiffs accused Arlington County leaders of failing to take correct steps earlier than approving a serious housing zoning overhaul.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The trial has began for the hotly debated ‘lacking center’ zoning reform in Arlington County.

Several plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in opposition to the county to throw out the initiative after it was permitted by board members in March 2023. They argue leaders did not observe correct steps to inform and obtain enter and conduct sufficient research on the long-term impacts.

The modifications to the zoning imply there may very well be permits to assemble extra townhouses, duplexes and different multi-residential items on tons that when required just one house. There may very well be as many as six items on one lot in particular neighborhoods.

Plaintiff Marcia Nordgren testified on the primary day of trial about how she believes the modifications would negatively have an effect on the tree cover surrounding her Military Road, elevate the difficulty of stormwater runoff, improve site visitors and actual property taxes.

County lawyer Noah Sullivan mentioned in his opening assertion how consultants will reveal that the influence gained’t be as extreme as feared. He mentioned with the 33 permits already permitted, solely 4 householders concerned with the lawsuit dwell close by.

The County mentioned potential runoff would solely improve by lower than 1%.

When it involves issues about sewer and water projections, Sullivan mentioned, “There’s no purpose to suppose this shall be a catastrophic occasion.”

“All the plaintiffs can provide is concept,” Sullivan added. “Much of that is simply mud.”

Meanwhile, Gifford Hampshire, the plaintiff’s lawyer, contrasted by saying proof present that the examine’s estimate that solely 19 to 21 initiatives annually was a finest guess with “no science behind it.” Hampshire argued the estimates weren’t correct.

Opponents of Missing Middle helped fill the courtroom together with Dave Gerk of Arlingtonians for Upzoning Transparency.

“You do not know Arlington in the event you suppose in a different way that Arlington would not welcome folks of all persuasions, however this coverage is simply going to tear the neighborhood aside and create unfavourable impacts that we do not want,” Gerk mentioned.

Retired actual property lawyer and longtime Arlington resident Bill Fogarty believes the county correctly notified residents.

Fogarty helps Missing Middle as a result of he says there must be extra housing.

“This goes to return all the way down to the research and sort of a battle of the consultants,” he mentioned.

The trial is predicted to final for 5 days. Depending on what the decide decides, there may very well be an enchantment.

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