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Arlington County Civic Federation

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Accessory Dwellings

Note: Documents and events are listed most recent first.


  • Arlington County has issued a summary of accessory dwellings provisions passed by the County Board on July 19.

  • Accessory Dwellings: Accessory Dwellings: July 19 vote by the County Board: approved Caregiver suites 5-0; approved Accessory Dwellings, with some modifications, 4-1. The final County Board report with attachments and a summary of recommendations including staff recommendations are on the website.

  • The Disability Advisory Commission met on 6/17/08 and voted unanimously to support the Accessory Dwellling proposal with these recommendations:

    * Increase the maximum size limit for the family suite to 750 square feet, the same requirements as an accessory dwelling. The Commission believes that 500 square feet is too small, prohibits basic accessibility guidelines and access throughout the space by the owner.
    * Include universal design guidelines in the voluntary style guide for owners.
    * In the Family Suite revision under occupants, ensure that the caregiver living in the family suite can provide care for a grandchild, niece, nephew, etc. and not just the children of the principal occupant of the dwelling. Additionally, the regulations should allow occupancy by an extended family member or personal assistant who is unrelated by family ties. The Virginia Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waiver allow extended family to serve as paid attendants.
    * Allow the option to locate the door to the accessory dwelling on the same side of the house as the main entrance, which may be the location that provides the most accessible route to the home.

  • A briefing on Accesory Dwelling zoning proposals was presesnted to the Arlington County Planning Commission on 7/7/08.

  • The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 7:00 pm on Monday, July 7, in the County Board Room, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. The Housing Commission will review the proposal at 7:00 pm on Thursday, July 10 in Rooms 7 E & F, 3033 Wilson Blvd.

    The Arlington County Board will hold a public hearing on these changes to the Zoning Ordinance on July 19. A final County Board report will be released in advance of that meeting.

  • Arlington County staff has expanded the amount of information about accessory dwellings available on its website.

  • Here are the Accessory Dwelling Survey Results and the Accessory Dwelling passed at the June 2008 meeting. The Family Suite provision was 100% supported (Unanimous); the Accessory Dwellings provision was 67% supported and the Enforcement provision was 82% supported.

  • From President Larry Mayer: "May 20 Testimony to County Board on some "technical corrections" - related to the Advertisement of proposed zoning change language for: (1) Changes to existing zoning provisions for Family Suites (related to correcting Caregiver occupancy numbers and Caregiver definitions - consistency with ACCF survey definitions) - Points #1 and #2; (2) Zoning language for the "new" Accessory Dwellings (Correcting "minimum" size of AD consistent with minimum of the Family Suite, to make it consistent with Staff presentation at ACCF May 6, 2008 meeting -- and with ACCF Survey definitions) - Point #3. The Board adopted the suggested changes into the advertisement (although Mayer's "exact" suggested zoning language will be reviewed and modified by the County Attorney to "properly fit" zoning language) -- where hearings on adoption will be held in July (Board projected on July 19).

  • Here are the Accessory Dwelling Survey Results and the proposed Accessory Dwelling Draft Resolution (wording may change) for the June 2008 meeting agenda.

  • May 13 is the deadline for delegates and alternates to submit the AD survey. Delegates may download and print the survey, along with the summary of the staff recommendations, for distribution in their associations. However, all delegate/alternate surveys must be returned no later than Tuesday, May 13 so the results can be collated and used to develop an AD resolution for the June 3 Civic Federation meeting. Mail completed survey to Larry Mayer, 3108 4th St. N., Arlington, VA 22201-1614.

  • County staff presentation at May 6 ACCF membership meeting.

  • At the May 6 Civic Federation meeting, the Civic Federation presented a summary of the staff recommendations for Accessory Dwellings(AD). Delegates and guests will then be asked to complete an AD survey that gathers their opinions about the staff recommendations. Delegate and guest surveys are color-coded and will be tallied separately, a process we have used for past surveys. Each delegate survey must include the delegateďż˝s organization, as only 4 delegates per organization may complete a delegate survey.

    Surveys will be collected at the end of the May 6 meeting. Delegates requiring additional time may complete the survey after the meeting. However, all delegate surveys must be returned no later than Tuesday, May 13th so the results can be collated and used to develop an AD resolution for the June 3rd Civic Federation meeting. Mail completed survey to Larry Mayer, 3108 4th St.N., Arlington, VA 22201-1614.

  • Accessory Dwellings: May 1 was the latest Community Forum on Accessory Dwellings, held from 7 - 9:30 pm in the Washington-Lee High School Cafeteria, 1301 North Stafford Street. The latest County proposal is available or go to County website. and search for "Accessory Dwelling" for a more comprehensive list of documents. Handouts from the meeting: Susan Bell: Accessory Dwelling Proposal; comparison of housing commission and draft staff recommendations; draft staff accessory dwelling issues matrix

  • The Community Forum for the Housing Commission's Accessory Dwelling Proposal is Monday, March 31 from 7 - 9:30 pm in the Central Library Auditorium, 1015 North Quincy Street. For details see invitation. The report with executive summary is also available from the County.

  • 3/25/08: latest timeline for County consideration

  • After our February meeting on the County's proposed Accessory Dwelling ordinance, Martha Moore worked with Susan Bell, the Director of the Department of Community Planning, Housing & Development, and others to produce this set of clarifying questions and answers.

  • From President Larry Mayer: "February 23 Testimony to County Board to request a county attorney opinion addressing a key question: "If the County legalizes Accessory Dwellings, can the County use a permit process to compel homeowners and accessory dwelling residents to submit to unscheduled inspections - or, as some people have asserted, would that violate their 4th amendment protections against search and seizure?"

  • resolution on Accessory Dwelling Units passed 2/5/08

  • Accessory dwelling units - and ACCF actions -- are in the local news: NBC4 on Friday, January 25 and Larry Mayer (toward the end of the video).

  • Current Housing Rules

  • timeline for County Board action

  • 1/8/08 presentation to ACCF Membership meetingon Accessory Dwelling Units



    This page last was revised on: August 19, 2008.





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