Sept. 17 PDC Meeting: Residential Studio Units

Could a proposal to increase affordable housing options also have the potential to undermine some single-family residential neighborhoods? That is the topic of an  important PDC meeting, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dunn Loring Administrative Center.

Donna Pesto, of Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning, will discuss residential studio units, a proposed new form of housing that has a maximum size of 500 square feet. The plan has been touted as a way to create affordable housing, but it also has raised deep concerns that it would allow multiple-family housing in some single-family residential neighborhoods.

Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence) is scheduled to attend, and has been invited to speak. Rob Jackson, president of the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations will speak, as will Marlene Blum, an affordable housing advocate. The Dunn Loring Administrative Center is at 2334 Gallows Road, Dunn Loring, VA 22027. IMPORTANT NOTE: THE MEETING IS IN ROOM 108, THROUGH THE FAR-LEFT ENTRANCE. IF THE BUILDING DOOR IS LOCKED, CALL 703 615 7642.

Information about a proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment can be found at this county web page. Specific documents include a county staff report on the proposed amendment, According to an Aug. 27 memorandum, Planning Commission workshops on the plan are scheduled for Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, and a public hearing is set for Nov. 20.

The units would be studios, with no bedrooms, and would be set aside as rental units for lower-income residents. Advocates say more housing options are needed in Fairfax as home prices escalate.

A particular community concern has focused on where the residential studio units would be permitted, and how much additional density would be allowed. According to the staff report, residential studio units would be located on major arterials and collector streets. Under one scenario in the report, a single-family house on a one-acre lot could be converted to 12.5 residential studio apartments, but other scenarios would allow even more intense development.

A Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations resolution has urged that single-family and townhouse neighborhoods be removed from the amendment, and that residential studios only be allowed in areas where higher-density apartments already are permitted.

 

 

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