January 25, 2008
Ms. Fran Lunney
Staff Coordinator to Housing Commission
2100 Clarendon Blvd.
Arlington, Virginia 22201
Dear Ms. Flunney:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments regarding the Accessory Dwelling Units proposal that will be the subject of the upcoming County Board Work Session.
The Arlington Heights Civic Association discussed the proposal at our quarterly meeting on January 15, 2008. Unfortunately, the lack of detail, regarding proposed occupancy in particular, made it impossible for the civic association to take a position on the merit of the proposal.
The following motion passed unanimously at our meeting:
"Any consideration by the County Board on Accessory Dwelling Units should also consider the implications of hiring additional inspectors and funding for additional inspections to ensure that Accessory Dwelling Units are and remain within code on a continuing basis."
I have two additional concerns relating to the proposed zoning amendment. Please note that these are my personal concerns, and they should not be understood as the position of the civic association.
First, the Accessory Dwelling Units proposal would include provision for changes in duplexes. The Arlington Heights neighborhood has a significant portion of its density in duplex housing, much of which borders Columbia Pike where increases in density are already envisioned. Parking is already a concern in this portion of our neighborhood. I would urge thoughtful discussion on whether it is appropriate to include duplexes in the ADU proposal.
Second, according to the Sun Gazette, under the existing proposal there would be no square footage limitation for ADUs that are within the main house. If this is true, I am concerned that this will create an incentive to build to the maximum house size permitted in terms of both footprint and height -- so as to allow large ADUs. Under these circumstances, new building or renovations to accomodate ADUs are more likely to be oversized compared to adjacent homes in established neighborhoods. The housing stock in Arlington Heights is mostly from the 1930s-1950s, with modestly-sized homes. If the County Board has sought to create a disincentive to build so-called "McMansions" though restrictive lot coverage, I fear that the ADU proposal could undermine such a policy.
Arlington Heights Civic Association