Democrats in Virginia are now seeking to outlaw suburban, single-family house zoning, as having one family growing up in a house is considered racist.
Accordingly, suburban neighborhoods would be disbanded and replaced with multifamily housing units to provide “affordable housing” to everyone everywhere.
Proponents of “upzoning” said the changes are necessary because suburbs are bastions of segregation and elitism, as well as bad for the environment.
Local officials throughout the state might fiercely oppose the measure, as they have deliberately created and preserved neighborhoods with particular character—some dense and walkable, others semi-rural and private—to accommodate people’s various preferences.
But Democrats tout a state-level law’s ability to replace “not in my backyard” with “yes, in your backyard.”
Democrat House Delegate Ibraheem Samirah reportedly introduced six housing measures on Dec. 19.
“Single-family housing zones would become two-zoned,” Samirah said in an interview, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Areas that would be impacted most would be the suburbs that have not done their part in helping out.”
He went on to call the suburban areas “mostly white and wealthy” and that local officials had been continuously avoiding the desires of poor people.
“Caring about nature is very important, but the more dense a neighborhood is, the more energy-efficient it is,” Samirah responded to a question about whether people who bought homes in spacious suburbs have valid reasons, not based on discrimination, for preferring to live that way—including a love for nature and desire to preserve woods and streams.
“Because middle housing is what’s most affordable for low-income people and people of color, banning that housing in well-off neighborhoods chalks up to modern-day redlining, locking folks out of areas with better access to schools, jobs, transit, and other services and amenities,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I will certainly get pushback for this. Some will call it ‘state overreach.’ Some will express anxiety about neighborhood change. Some may even say that the supply issue doesn’t exist. But the research is clear: zoning is a barrier to more housing and integrated communities,” he continued.
“Important Q about new social/public housing programs: where are we going to put the units? Under current zoning, new low-income housing is relegated to underinvested neighborhoods, concentrating poverty more. Ending exclusionary zoning has to be part of broader housing reform,” he tweeted on Sunday, Dec. 22.
There are some major issues, however, that they need to face, including concern over how it will affect crime. As we’ve seen across the country, the more subsidized public housing that becomes available, the more we see crime stats spike.
Tim Hannigan, chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee said it was a complete attack on suburban families and their home lives.
“This could completely change the character of suburban residential life, because of the urbanization that would develop,” he said. “So much of the American dream is built upon this idea of finding a nice quiet place to raise your family, and that is under assault.”
“This is a power-grab to take away the ability of local communities to establish their own zoning practices … literally trying to change the character of our communities,” he said.
He continued by saying that instead of creating bigger communities in the suburbs, it would just push people to move away, leaving historically nice areas in what would become a crime-ridden neighborhood.
“Inevitably it will just push people to places where they feel they’ll get away from that, they may move to West Virginia to get their little plot of land.”
Minneapolis became the first city to eliminated single-family zoning in December 2018, after a push by progressive advocacy groups promoting “equity.” Austin, Texas, and Seattle have also outlawed single-family zoning.