Virginia to Consider Statewide Density Increase Measures

Virginia’s Legislature will contemplate a bill that would permit duplexes in all single-family zoned areas. The move comes after Oregon passed legislation effectively banning single-family zoning in June, and as previously reported on Conduit Street, Minneapolis eliminated their single-family zoning requirement in October.

As states consider ways to increase the availability of affordable housing, proposals have included the addition of duplexes to single-family zoning, and allowing the addition of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to single-family zoned lots. Montgomery County passed legislation earlier this year authorizing ADUs.

Coverage in CityLab provides some insight on the complexity of passing blanket zoning mandates in a diverse state. The bills sponsor, Delegate Samirah is not deterred, stating he is surprised at the level of interest. “There’s people on the right side of the aisle who view it differently but still want to support it. We consider them indirect partners in the process, based on recognizing the political landscape.”

From the article:

The bill, H.B. 152, “would legalize duplex homes—townhouses, cottages, duplexes, and so on—in any place currently zoned for single-family homes,” explains Capps.

While the bill stops short of banning all single-family zones, it does amount to a blanket upzoning. The bill also “leaves questions about siting, design, setback, and other considerations to local governments to decide,”