At its meeting on December 16, 2017, the County Board established a Housing Conservation District in 12 areas with market-rate affordable housing. In 2018, County staff will be engaging with the community to develop a series of zoning and financial tools to incentivize affordable housing in these areas.
What is the Housing Conservation District?
- The Housing Conservation District, or HCD, where the County is working to encourage continued housing affordability.
- The HCD is designated on the General Land Use Plan (GLUP), referenced in the Affordable Housing Master Plan, and includes adopted goals, objectives, and mapped boundaries. HCD areas include market-rate affordable housing and are planned and zoned for low- to mid-rise apartment buildings.
- The purpose of the District is to encourage the retention of housing affordability by allowing a context-appropriate spectrum of development, ranging from renovation and addition to infill and redevelopment in exchange for dedicated affordable housing units.
- The 12 areas in the HCD are:
- Lyon Park
- Long Branch Creek
- Leeway Overlee
- John M. Langston
- Waverly Hills
- Spout Run/Lyon Village
- Western and eastern edges of North Highlands
Why was the Housing Conservation District created?
- Since 2000 the County has lost over 14,500 market rate affordable housing. Most of these losses have resulted from rent increases, although redevelopment has also been a contributing factor.
- As established in the Affordable Housing Master Plan, it is the policy of Arlington County to “make every reasonable effort to prevent the loss of market-rate affordable housing,” and to “encourage the construction and preservation of affordable rental housing through land use/zoning policy, financial and technical assistance.”
- It is similarly a goal of the General Land Use Plan to “preserve and enhance existing single family and apartment neighborhoods.”
How will the Housing Conservation District be implemented?
- The HCD will be implemented through amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and “to-be-developed” financial incentives.
- A recently adopted Zoning Ordinance amendment requires site plan approval for new townhouse development within the HCD, allowing the community to review projects for potential impacts.
- Subsequent Zoning Ordinance amendments will focus on incentives that provide relief from zoning nonconforming conditions and possibilities for increased density accompanied by affordability requirements.
- The HCD will be implemented in two phases:
- Phase I November – December 2017. Establishment of the District through amendments to the General Land Use Plan, the Affordable Housing Master Plan and the Zoning Ordinance. This phase completed on December 16, 2017. A schedule of past meetings leading up to adoption of the HCD can be found below.
- Phase II 2018. Phase II will pursue a Zoning Ordinance amendment that would allow minor additions to apartment buildings/complexes and include provisions for affordability restrictions as well as options for additional density through infill, partial- and full redevelopment that would include greater affordability requirements. This phase will also consider a potential tax incentive program, and assess whether the neighborhoods within the Planning Corridors should be added to the District.
The Housing Conservation District Advisory Group has been convened to advise staff on the development of components of phase II of the Housing Conservation District, building on the concepts adopted in the HCD Policy Framework. More information on the advisory group, including meeting agendas and materials, can be found here.
PowerPoint Presentation from the December 16, 2017 County Board Public Hearing
County Board Report for the December 16,2017 County Board Public Hearing
County Board Report for advertisement of public hearings (includes the Housing Conservation District Policy Framework, GLUP amendments, AHMP amendment, and Zoning Ordinance amendments)
Market-Rate Affordable Housing: An Approach to Preservation March 2017 report
MARKS preservation presentation from the June 21, 2016 County Manager’s report to the County Board