Fairfax is moving too slow in addressing zoning barriers to more affordable housing options in the county. While many people are shut out of living in Fairfax County because its too expensive, the Planning Commission last week recommended keeping regulatory barriers for accessory living units (ALUs) in place for several more years instead of making it easier for a homeowner to build one now. The Board of Supervisors has a hearing tomorrow and we need your help to show support for more housing options like accessory dwellings in Fairfax!
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ALUs – including backyard cottages and basement apartments – offer less expensive housing because of their smaller size. They can provide a place to live for a young teacher, health aides and other essential workers, your college graduate just starting out, or an older parent. Accessory dwellings can also offer a stream of income, including for retirees on fixed incomes, and can help offset the cost of owning a home.
Fairfax County is proposing modest changes to their ALU policy as part of their Zoning Modernization Ordinance Modernization Project (zMOD). We support:
- The proposal to remove the current age and disability requirement so people of all ages are able to live in an accessory unit.
- Streamlining the process for ALUs within the home by allowing for administrative approval, which includes required building and safety permits.
These are modest changes, but a step in the right direction to expanding housing options, affordability, and accessibility in the county. We hope that in the future the county will remove the 2-acre requirement for detached units because these homes are especially needed closer to transit stations and transit corridors.
You can help show support in two ways:
- Send an email to Fairfax County officials today.
- Sign-up to speak at the virtual public hearing on March 9.