ALEXANDRIA, Va. (DC News Now) — On Tuesday, Alexandria revealed details of its Zoning for Housing plan, a package of policies the city hopes will address growing affordability and access problems in the housing market.
One of the proposals staff recommended was to eliminate single-family-only zones, which make up about one-third of the land in the city and allow for two-to-four unit dwellings to be built.
The final proposal, which will have to pass a city council vote expected later this year, will determine if certain single-family zones will only be amended to allow two-unit dwellings, while others could allow three-to-four-unit dwellings.
“It is a package of tools to add to our toolbox,” Karl Moritz, the city’s planning director, said.
In addition to that proposal, the city discussed a number of other policy changes, including efforts to reduce parking minimums, especially in areas close to transit hubs and efforts to change more office building spaces to residential areas.
YIMBYs of Northern Virginia responded to the package reveal by saying it “welcomes” the policy recommendations. However, it raised concerns over the lack of a bonus height amendment recommendation. It said that “these incremental proposed changes would be insufficient to address the scale of our city’s housing shortage and affordability crisis.”
Roy Byrd, who led an opposition rally last week, was also critical of the proposal.
“What is the problem we’re trying to solve,” he said. “It was affordable housing and now tonight, we’re told that this isn’t going to move the needle on affordable housing.”
When asked, Moritz said the policies accomplish different things, and will address affordability.
“One issue will help with housing production, which is very important for meeting our supply and demand,” he said. “Others are very much targeted toward housing affordability and making sure that the units that are produced are affordable to people with lower incomes.”