September 9, 2015   

On Saturday September 19the Arlington County Board will hold a public hearing
and is expected to vote on adopting the Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP) and on accepting its accompanying Implementation Framework (IF, a staff guidance tool).
Email and letters of support from individuals and community organizations are valuable to the Board in making a decision. Please consider asking the Board to adopt the AHMP. (See below for suggested points to address.)

Your message should be brief, personalized where possible, and sent to
arrive by Wednesday September 16 via  


The AHMP updates the County's long-term affordable housing goals and objectives, first adopted 15 years ago. The proposed Plan reflects 3 years of data-gathering, needs analysis, and community outreach by an 18-member citizen working group and County staff to address Arlington's housing needs and ensure economic sustainability through 2040. (The new Plan when adopted becomes part of the State-required County Comprehensive Plan, integrating housing, energy, and transportation planning, among other elements.)
Don't be confused by misstatements about what the AHMP does.

The AHMP is a policy document---a set of goals and objectives---that will be implemented over the next 20 years or so. It is not a commitment to specific building sites or spending. (In fact, it contains language that allows for review/revision as conditions dictate. And, as is the case now, spending on housing will be determined through the annual budget process.) 
The IF describes existing and potential tools (financial, land use/regulatory, and services) that might be used to achieve Plan goals. (Any new or revised tools will require additional research, development, and deliberation, with opportunity for public input.)

pointsPoints letter-writers may wish to make
. . . are summarized below. Link to a  Word document for more detail to consider for use in your letter.
  • Extend thanks to those who worked on the needs analysis and proposals as well as for the opportunities for public input throughout the process.

  • Acknowledge Arlington's public--private partnership as a model approach to housing development but note that it alone cannot satisfy all of Arlington's housing needs. Note challenges and needs that have increased in the last 15 years.

  • Identify particular Plan objectives (see Plan Appendix A) that you/your organization support. Many area organizations serve populations in need of affordable housing and benefit from a housing mix that serves lower-earning households. 

  • Close with appreciation for Arlington's commitment to housing affordability and efforts to update housing policy to ensure a diverse, sustainable community.