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Last week's primary results could pave the way for more zoning changes across Virginia

Sales of new homes like this one in Eagleville, Pa., are up modestly, while existing home sales have plummeted amid a housing shortage, record high prices and high mortgage rates.
Matt Rourke
/
AP
Sales of new homes like this one in Eagleville, Pa., are up modestly, while existing home sales have plummeted amid a housing shortage, record high prices and high mortgage rates.

One of the outcomes of last week's primary election could mean zoning changes in your neighborhood.

Single-family zoning was on the ballot in Alexandria and in Arlington, where candidates who supported efforts to legalize more housing were successful. Candidates who backed exclusionary zoning failed. Alex Goyette with the YIMBYs of Northern Virginia says the overwhelming victory of Alyia Gaskins in the race for Alexandria mayor shows the will of the voters.

"And then, on top of that, we had three endorsed candidates advance to the November election," Goyette says. "And so, now a majority of the Democratic ticket in November is going to be YIMBY endorsed candidates, and that's really exciting for us. And I think even more than that, what we saw in Alexandria was just the lack of an electoral backlash."

The same thing happened in Arlington, where the candidate who won last week supported the effort known as Missing Middle.

"And that's why you are seeing results like you saw in Alexandria, where all these political consultants and everyone was telling you that this was unpopular for a long time and then suddenly it's not," says Doug Trumm, publisher of the Urbanist. "We've certainly seen that in Seattle, too, where it was considered a third rail and now it's powering a lot of electoral victories."

Aside from Alexandria and Arlington, Charlottesville and Roanoke have also eliminated single-family only zoning. And the results of the primary might mean zoning reform could be expanding to more jurisdictions across Virginia.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.