“Under current zoning, new low-income housing is relegated to underinvested neighborhoods, concentrating poverty more. Ending exclusionary zoning has to be part of broader housing reform”
Virginia’s election fallout continues, moving from gun confiscation plans to “upzoning.” Upzoning entails overriding local housing zoning at the state level to allow denser housing in the suburbs, including low-income and public housing.
It’s described as Democrats at the state level saying to “not in my backyard” suburbanites, “yes, in your backyard.” The idea is to urbanize the suburbs by packing in as many people as possible while citing the white elitism of suburbs and the need to protect the environment.
Democrats in Virginia may override local zoning to bring high-density housing, including public housing, to every neighborhood statewide — whether residents want it or not.
The measure could quickly transform the suburban lifestyle enjoyed by millions, permitting duplexes to be built on suburban lots in neighborhoods previously consisting of quiet streets and open green spaces. Proponents of “upzoning” say the changes are necessary because suburbs are bastions of segregation and elitism, as well as bad for the environment.
The move, which aims to provide “affordable housing,” might be fiercely opposed by local officials throughout the state, who have deliberately created and preserved neighborhoods with particular character — some dense and walkable, others semi-rural and private — to accommodate people’s various preferences.
But Democrats tout a state-level law’s ability to replace “not in my backyard” with “yes, in your backyard.”
Needless to say, they are not in the least concerned with what the people who live in the suburbs think or want. The state knows best, after all.
The Daily Caller continues:
House Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, a Democrat, introduced six housing measures Dec. 19, coinciding with Democrats’ takeover of the state legislature in November.
“Single-family housing zones would become two-zoned,” Samirah told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Areas that would be impacted most would be the suburbs that have not done their part in helping out.”
“The real issues are the areas in between very dense areas which are single-family zoned. Those are the areas that the state is having significant trouble dealing with. They’re living in a bubble,” he said.
He said suburbs were “mostly white and wealthy” and that their local officials — who have historically been in charge of zoning — were ignoring the desires of poor people, who did not have time to lobby them to increase suburban density.
In response to a question about whether people who bought homes in spacious suburbs have valid reasons, not based on discrimination, for preferring to live that way — including a love for nature and desire to preserve woods and streams — he said: “Caring about nature is very important, but the more dense a neighborhood is, the more energy efficient it is.”
. . . . He tweeted Sunday that that would include public housing. “Important Q about new social/public housing programs: where are we going to put the units? Under current zoning, new low-income housing is relegated to underinvested neighborhoods, concentrating poverty more. Ending exclusionary zoning has to be part of broader housing reform,” he said.
Here’s the tweet:
Important Q about new social/public housing programs: where are we going to put the units?
Under current zoning, new low-income housing is relegated to underinvested neighborhoods, concentrating poverty more.
Ending exclusionary zoning has to be part of broader housing reform. https://t.co/XZZSM7nM8e
— Del. Ibraheem Samirah (@IbraheemSamirah) December 22, 2019
Virginia Republicans are less than enthusiastic.
Tim Hannigan, chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee — in one of the areas Samirah represents — said that urban Democrats were waging war on the suburbs.
“This could completely change the character of suburban residential life, because of the urbanization that would develop,” he told the DCNF. “So much of the American dream is built upon this idea of finding a nice quiet place to raise your family, and that is under assault.”
“This is a power-grab to take away the ability of local communities to establish their own zoning practices … literally trying to change the character of our communities,” he said.
He said suburbs were not equipped to handle the increased traffic, and “inevitably it will just push people to places where they feel they’ll get away from that, they may move to West Virginia to get their little plot of land.”
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