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Hundreds turn out to have say on Missing Middle

Unswayed by criticism, Arlington board likely to enact measure this week

Arlington County Board members on March 18 listened to more than 200 speakers, each attempting to sway the five elected officials to a particular point of view on the contentious Missing Middle housing proposal.

“We definitely appreciate you,” County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey said after the hours of testimony for the day were wrapped up.

The comments went about as expected: Supporters of the policy say it will provide more housing options (most but not all speakers have given up the argument that it will lower housing costs, as that largely has been debunked), while opponents say it is a giveaway to developers that will force an urban landscape onto neighborhoods whose infrastructure is not ready for it.

Board members will pick up the process on Tuesday, with final decisions on various components of the proposal slated for that evening and then on Wednesday afternoon. Among the key issue awaiting resolution: When the policy would go into effect, how many properties could be shoehorned into existing single-family lots; parking requirements; and whether there would be a cap on the total number of properties that could be built under the measure in a given year.