Arlington Republicans campaigned against accessory dwellings. Photo by Blacknell on Flickr.

After hearing numerous arguments by residents against legalizing accessory dwellings, the Arlington County Board passed the proposal, but not without first watering it down further. According to the Sun Gazette, the Board amended the proposal to only allow 28 accessory permits per year (the number planners had estimated people would apply for) and to require an owner to live in the house for a full year before adding an accessory unit.

The plan had already taken many steps to preserve the single-family character of neighborhoods, including requiring owners to live in their houses (so investors would not buy houses to subdivide) and limiting the number of people in a unit to two (in effect keeping lower-income families away from neighbors that don’t want them).

Nonetheless, this very limited accessory dwelling law is a big step in the right direction. “It will benefit the elderly, students and young professionals - it’s going to be good for everyone, I believe,” said supporter Sharon Williams. (Everyone without children, that is.) Opponents, of course, still hate the plan.

Via Ryan Avent.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.