Virginia Dems May Attempt to Outlaw Suburban, Single-Family Home Zoning, Claiming Elitism

Democrats in Virginia have found a new target – suburban neighborhoods zoned for single family housing and not multi-family housing.

Democrats are calling these zoned neighborhoods “elitism” and want to mix in multi-family and public housing into them.

Delegate Ibraheem Samirah tweeted:

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

DailyCaller reports 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.”

House Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, a Democrat, introduced six housing measures Dec. 19, coinciding with Democrats’ takeover of the state legislature in November.

“Today I introduced six new bills dealing with affordable housing supply and exclusionary zoning practices,” Samirah wrote on Facebook. “The most impactful bill, HB152, would legalize two-unit housing types on any lot zoned for single-family use only.”

“Because middle housing is what’s most affordable for low-income people and people of color, banning that housing in well-off neighborhoods chalks up to modern-day redlining, locking folks out of areas with better access to schools, jobs, transit, and other services and amenities,” he continued.

“Single-family zoning is also the least efficient way to organize communities, leading to a much larger carbon footprint. … I will certainly get pushback for this. Some will call it ‘state overreach.’ Some will express anxiety about neighborhood change. Some may even say that the supply issue doesn’t exist. But the research is clear: zoning is a barrier to more housing and integrated communities,” he wrote.

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.