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Arlington Homeowner Alert


The Arlington County Board will vote on Tuesday evening, November 15, on drastic new limits on what you can build on your property.

This proposal would greatly reduce the land area that can be covered by your house, decks, patio, walks, and driveway, and would decrease the value of your property. The Manager has proposed a zoning ordinance to make these changes (Adobe required). Even the Arlington County Civic Federation passed a resolution on October 4 detailing the Federation’s objections to this proposal

The proposal got its start as a way to curtail the construction of grossly oversized monster houses like the notorious 'blue whale' on N. Sycamore Street. Then it morphed into restrictions on so-called "McMansions" that were just slightly larger than neighboring older houses. But now it's completely out of control, and would lower the value of almost every single-family home in Arlington.

You can now build on 56% of your lot, but if the most restrictive options are chosen, you would be severely restricted. Depending on the size of your lot, your house could be limited to no more than 20% of your lot. In addition, three separate options are available for the Board’s consideration. Even some who have been involved in the process for several years find it confusing. How many more people will be needed in the county’s zoning office to handle the ensuing bureaucracy?

If you oppose these unreasonable restrictions on your property rights, you should tell the County Board immediately. You can call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130. You definitely should e-mail them at countyboard@arlingtonva.us. Better yet, speak to the County Board directly on Tuesday evening, November 15. The Board’s public hearing on lot coverage (agenda item 43) will begin shortly after 6:45 pm in Room 307 of Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard. Procedures for speaking can be found on the November 15 agenda.

Not sure whether to speak, or still have a question? Call Tim Wise, ACTA’s president, at (703) 243-8345. And please browse Growls while you are here. If you’re not already a member, please join ACTA, which you can do by clicking on to the PayPal icon to the right.