Skip to content

Missing Middle combatants head back to court in January

Judge will hear motions from both sides in suit against Arlington County government

The next stop for the lawsuit aiming to block Arlington’s free-range zoning will be in January.

Retired Circuit Court Judge David Schell on Nov. 16 set Jan. 11 as the date for a hearing to review motions from both the county government and residents suing it, all related to his earlier ruling allowing the court challenge to Arlington’s “Missing Middle” housing policies to move to the trial phase.

That hearing will focus on two primary issues:

• A request by residents suing the county for the judge to reconsider his decision blocking them from accessing certain intra-governmental communications.

• A request by the county to allow it to appeal the judge’s decision permitting the court case to continue.

Schell also set the week of July 8-11, 2024, for a full trial on the challenge to changes enacted by the County Board that effectively gutted single-family zoning throughout the county.

Ten property owners earlier this year sued the county government on the issue on a variety of substantive and technical matters. County-government attorneys have contended that the courts should stay out of the matter, a position Schell flatly rejected in October.

Schell, of Fairfax County, was selected to hear the case by the Virginia Supreme Court after all of Arlington’s Circuit Court judges recused themselves from the matter. For 17 years, he was a member of the Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, serving as chief judge for four years. He then served eight years as a Circuit Court judge.