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Arlington County, Va., eliminates single-family-only zoning

Multifamily Housing

Arlington County, Va., eliminates single-family-only zoning

The populous Washington, D.C.-area jurisdiction will now allow densities of two to six units. 


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | April 21, 2023
Arlington County, Va., eliminates single-family-only zoning
Arlington County, Va., eliminates single-family-only zoning

Arlington County, a Washington, D.C., community that took shape in the 1950s, when single-family homes were the rule in suburbia, recently became one of the first locations on the East Coast to eliminate single-family-only zoning.

Lots in the 26-square-mile county that previously were limited to one home will now allow densities of two to six units. The actual number of units permitted on each site will be determined by the size of the lot, with lots larger than 6,000 sf permitted to have five or six units.

The new zoning rules will be phased in beginning on July 1. Arlington will allow 58 permits per year for multi-unit conversion on lots that were previously restricted to single-family construction until 2028. At that point, there will be no limits on new multifamily projects.

Multifamily buildings on formerly single-family lots still must conform to the limits on height, lot coverage, floor plans, and setbacks that were applied to single-family homes. The zoning change is the fruit of a report, the Missing Middle Housing Study, conducted by the county to assess the need for multifamily development.

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