Pentagon lights in Arlington, Virginia.  Image by Brian Allen used with permission.

The following letter was written by Jane Green, who recently moved to Pentagon City. It was first published in ARLnow on October 16. 

As a new resident of Arlington County, I left Sunday’s League of Women Voters Candidate Forum for the upcoming County Board election feeling like a burden to my neighbors.

When responding to questions about the challenges that Arlington faces to meet the demand for housing and to increase capacity for transportation, schools, and other facilities, all three candidates emphasized the negative aspects that come from new young families. Developments increase and rents go up. Trees are cut down. Schools are more crowded.

For those who have lived in the county for a decade or more, new residents are a problem to manage and an obstacle to preserving the neighborhood and community as it has been.

I would rather you see my family as an opportunity. We are ready to put down roots and be engaged in our new home. We love Arlington for its diversity and its convenience. We value the strong civic institutions that bring people together. But by neglecting to adapt to newcomers, the County is only exacerbating the housing shortage and other capacity issues.

Those who vow to “preserve the neighborhood” should remember that they are envisioning a world that doesn’t include my family or the thousands of others like us who are the foundation of a vibrant community. We want to be the future of Arlington, if you’ll let us.