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Letter: A long road awaits Missing Middle legal action

'No one is “winning” the lawsuit until the final court renders its final verdict.'

To the editor: With the Arlington Missing Middle lawsuit coming to trial soon, it is time to reflect on the news coverage of the lawsuit to date.

It seems that whenever a hearing is held on preliminary matters, it is the folks from anti-Missing Middle groups that are being quoted. It is for this reason that I am supporting the newly formed Arlingtonians for Welcoming and Inclusive Neighborhoods (ArlWINs), a coalition of individuals that provides a voice for diverse housing options throughout Arlington.

The motivation for my involvement in ArlWINs can be traced to a postcard I received from Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future in early 2023, when the zoning ordinance amendments were being considered. The big print on the postcard screamed out: “Unlimited density is coming.”

This obviously false statement pushed me off the sidelines, and I have worked with various groups (such as VOICE, the NAACP, the Sierra Club, the YIMBY’s, NVAHA-Arlington and others) in their advocacy efforts to increase the range of housing stock, including support of the Langston Boulevard Plan, and of the Expanded Housing Options Ordinance (EHO).

It is my hope that the Gazette-Leader, and other media groups, can begin to broaden their reporting on the MM lawsuit. Do people even know that the county “won” its motion to dismiss the Planning Commission as a defendant? One wonders why the plaintiffs increased everyone’s legal costs by naming the Planning Commission as defendants in the first place, and then requiring the county government to file a motion to dismiss. Do people even know that on the one claim filed by plaintiffs that was heard by the judge on its merits, the count was dismissed?

Lawsuits are complicated. And in the ebb and flow of decisions by judges (including appellate judges), I always harken back to the wisdom of Yogi Berra: It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

No one is “winning” the lawsuit until the final court renders its final verdict – which could be years away. In the meantime, it makes sense to obtain a broad range of views on the many intricate issues at play.

Bill Fogarty, Arlington