PRESS RELEASE: Missing Middle Upzoning Has Nothing to Do with Smart Growth

July 5, 2022.

I’m running for Arlington County Board on November 8, and I’m cynical about the County’s rationale for “Missing Middle,” its plan to upzone single family home neighborhoods with multi-family dwellings.

I’m also unhappy about the way in which the County has dealt with critics of the plan. At a June 18 County Board meeting, Chair Katie Cristol shut down a member of the Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG), who came to testify about the impact of Missing Middle on Arlington’s tree canopy.

According to Cristol, the ATAG member violated the Board’s one speaker per topic rule during public comment. ATAG supporters in the audience were having none of it and roundly booed Cristol as she scolded the speaker.

Actually ATAG’s real offense was mentioning any of the impacts of Missing Middle, including but not limited to:

  • destruction of tree canopy
  • excessive runoff
  • overcrowded schools
  • traffic congestion
  • reduced street parking, and
  • escalating property tax assessments

issues the County itself has either downplayed or avoided altogether.

According to Smart Growth proponents of Missing Middle, including the current County Board and most of its commissions, Missing Middle impacts are trumped by densification of Metrorail corridors, which they claim will slow suburban sprawl along highways in outlying areas.

I don’t like suburban sprawl any more than Missing Middle, but why sacrifice Arlington’s residential neighborhoods on the altar of Smart Growth?

Fairfax County has 13 metro stops to Arlington’s 11 and one third (1/3) the population density. Why aren’t Smart Growth advocates promoting development along Fairfax County’s Metrorail corridors?

The answer: developers will make more of a killing flipping properties here than there, and County Board will lose the tax revenue it intends to capture through wall-to-wall densification of Arlington County.

If anyone still believes the Smart Growth myth about Missing Middle in Arlington County, I have some real estate in Fairfax County I’d like to show you.

In the meantime, if elected I am going to insist upon a thorough assessment of the impacts of Missing Middle upzoning. I will also:

  • Seek immediate tax relief for residents and businesses.
  • Save our parks, streams and tree canopy and stop clearcutting wooded areas on public property.
  • Say YES to real social justice reforms and NO to symbolic gestures.

As an 18-year Westover resident, long-time civic activist and former member of the Transportation Commission, I have both the experience and independence to promote these reforms.

If you share my agenda, then:

  • Spread the word about my candidacy.
  • Donate and/or volunteer.
  • Pick up a “Clement for County Board” yard sign.
  • Help make the “Arlington Way” more than an empty phrase.