ALEXANDRIA, Va. (DC News Now) — As the City of Alexandria prepares for a series of rezoning community engagement events, some residents take issue with changes to code that would increase population density in residential areas.

City officials will present a proposed action plan on Sept. 5 for its “Zoning for Housing” effort.

While details of the proposal haven’t been shared, the city calls the program “a comprehensive proposal of zoning reforms with the goal of expanding housing production and affordability and addressing past and current barriers to equitable housing access.”

A number of community groups are voicing mounting concern over population potential growth. The Coalition for a Liveable Alexandria, Inc. calls the imminent changes “radical.”

The group is holding a rally on Aug. 28 to “educate Alexandria residents regarding city plans to greatly increase building density through radical changes to the city’s zoning code.”

“We agree that more affordable housing is needed in Alexandria, but remedies should not promote the destruction of neighborhoods, disenfranchise residents, accelerate overdevelopment and fuel gentrification,” Roy Byrd, chairman of the coalition said in a release.

Mayor Justin Wilson shared a series of posts across social media on Sunday, illustrating decades old multi-family units that exist alongside single family homes.

“My point is that not only is that housing compatible, it is entirely consistent with the fabric of these neighborhoods throughout our history,” Wilson stated in a post. “The challenge is that in many of these neighborhoods, the housing that we take for granted, is illegal.”

Meredith Lambke, a recent college graduate, is living with her parents in her childhood home in Del Ray. She said she is “definitely pro-more affordable housing.”

“I don’t know if I could ever afford to live in the neighborhood I grew up in,” she said.

The Zoning for Housing Fall Kick-Off will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Alexandria-Carlysle. It will also be accessible on Zoom.

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