Residents sue Alexandria City Council over single-family zoning dispute | #citycouncil

A group of Alexandria residents are suing the city after the Council voted to change zoning regulations. This is similar to the controversial Missing Middle in Arlington.

Roy Byrd, Chair of the Coalition for a Livable Alexandria, is one of several residents taking legal action against the City of Alexandria since the Council unanimously approved the “Zoning for Housing” in November 2023. 

It is a package of changes that allows developers to build multi-family homes on properties that were previously for single-family use.

The City of Alexandria was trying to get this zoning lawsuit thrown out of court, but they didn’t win that fight. Instead, during a first hearing on Wednesday, a judge decided to allow this case to move forward, ruling that there’s enough merit to the complaints.

“It’s good news. We’re happy with that, but at the same time, we’re sad to be here,” Byrd said.

The City of Alexandria says, “housing for all” is the equity component of “Zoning For Housing.” 

It explores the extent of past discriminatory housing policies and their continued impact, especially on people of color and/or low-income individuals. 

However, residents argue the new proposals do not increase affordable housing options and do not eliminate segregationist practices of the past. 

“It’s a solution in search of a problem. It doesn’t solve the problem they reported,” Byrd said.

The lawsuit also claims city leaders failed to properly notify the public about the zoning changes. In addition, no research was conducted to examine the potential impacts.

“We didn’t want to be here. We pleaded with the city to listen to us, to make changes that would satisfy, or at least postpone the elimination of single-family zoning until everything could be resolved and studied a little further,” Byrd explained.

“The City of Alexandria declines to respond at this time, as this matter is in active litigation,” a statement sent to FOX 5 reads. 

“This isn’t the end, this is just the beginning,” Byrd said.

He wishes this could’ve been handled more simply because now the city is using taxpayer dollars to counter this lawsuit.

Lawyers representing the residents have 30 days to provide the judge with more information about how “Zoning For Housing” specifically impacts each individual plaintiff and then this case is expected to go to trial.

FOX 5 will stay ahead and keep you up to date with the latest developments.

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