The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved several zoning changes that could incentivize developers to build more affordable housing units.
The changes, approved at the Saturday (November 16) County Board meeting, modify “bonus density maximums” for site plan projects and alter how the county defines low or moderate income to “provide greater flexibility in facilitating affordable housing.”
Density bonuses are an incentive land use tool regulated in the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance. Currently, density bonus maximums are capped at 25 percent above what is allowed in the zoning district. This means if a developer promises to build affordable housing units, community facilities, open spaces, or environmental amenities with their project, they’ll get up to 25 percent more space to work with.
After much debate — “my head hurts,” commented board member Erik Gutshall — the County Board voted to give itself the flexibility, within the heights specified for each zoning district, to consider added density above the 25 percent maximum on a case-by-case basis.
“Bonus density has allowed us to build hundreds of units of affordable housing across Arlington, and particularly in the transit-rich Metro corridors, without relying on County funding,” said County Board chair Christian Dorsey in a press release. “We believe this new flexibility will encourage developers to add more affordable homes in their projects.”
The revisions have received mixed feedback from developers and civic groups. Jack Spilsbury, the co-chair of the Ashton Heights Civic Association, said the elimination of density caps could “create more boxy buildings, and raise concerns about the preservation of neighborhood characteristics.”
In addition, the Board voted to allow higher income levels for affordable housing when considering new site plans. The County Board currently defines low-or-moderate income for renters as at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) — or about $51,000 per year — and at or below 80 percent AMI — or $68,000 per year — for home ownership.
In 2015, the county officials pledged to create 15,800 affordable housing units before 2040, but have since fallen short of the yearly creation benchmarks. By giving itself the option of considering higher income levels for affordable housing, the County Board hopes to allow the creation of more affordable housing, particularly for those at moderate income levels.
“There is no question that affordable housing is something we are going to work diligently to solve,” said Gutshall during Saturday’s meeting. “But I believe in the long run here, we are going to get to those solutions easier and better by demonstrating to the community that we rely on the planning that it takes.”
The last review of affordable housing bonus provisions occurred in 2001. Earlier this year, the County Board introduced “Housing Arlington,” an initiative for the county’s existing affordable housing program.
The full press release about the bonus density changes is below, after the jump.
Residents Want Second Pentagon City Metro Entrance — “Some longtime residents have spent years agitating for just such a study of their roads and public transit options, seeing a need long before HQ2 was a twinkle in Jeff Bezos’ eye. They’re eager to see an evaluation of how much new density the area can bear, and what solutions could make it easier for Pentagon City residents to get around — perhaps most notably, they’re pressing to see a second entrance for the neighborhood’s Metro station.” [Washington Business Journal]
Pentagon City Mall Seeking Sidewalk Cafe Upgrades — Simon, owner of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, is seeking to make some additions to the sidewalk cafes in front of the mall on S. Hayes Street. Proposed upgrades, to be considered by the Arlington County Board this weekend, include: “light poles, light strings and fencing with tray tops.” [Arlington County]
No, Crystal City Is Not Named for a Chandelier — “According to Robert P. Kogod, the former co-CEO of the Charles E. Smith Companies — which developed Crystal City — the name for the neighborhood’s first building, Crystal House, came first, and the chandelier came afterward.” [Washingtonian]
County Board to Consider Incentives to Keep PBS HQ — “Arlington County Board is considering offering up to $500,000 to retain the Public Broadcasting Service, nearly a year after PBS already committed to doing just that. The Arlington County Board is expected to consider the Economic Development Incentive grant at its meeting Saturday, along with a $450,000 grant to the Incentive Technology Group, which is also staying in Crystal City under a new lease.” [Washington Business Journal]
New Pike Affordable Housing Building Opens — “A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of Gilliam Place, a former church, and its 173 affordable housing units in Arlington Thursday morning. The complex is aimed at helping lower income and special needs families, and… it’s already home for a nonverbal woman living with autism.” [NBC 4, WJLA]
New Scooter Corral in Rosslyn — “Yee-haw!! New ‘Shared Mobility Device’ corral for Rosslyn’s North Moore Street.” [Twitter/@ArlingtonDES]
Live Action ‘Clue’ Planned in Arlington — “Time to solve a murder mystery while taking part in an incredible game and Scavenger Hunt as we bring the game of CLUE® – without a board – to our own backyard!” [Facebook]
Reminder: I-395 HOV Becoming Express Lanes — “The time has come for big change for local commuters: after two years of work, the I-395 HOV lanes inside the Beltway are becoming express toll lanes… The switch over is slated to take place on Sunday, Nov. 17.” [ARLnow]
Arlington’s leaders will be pushing the state to increase its affordable housing contributions more than five-fold as Democrats head to Richmond after taking control of the House of Delegates and State Senate.
The Arlington County Board will vote this Saturday, November 16, on holding a public hearing about the legislative priorities as the General Assembly prepares to convene in Richmond for the 2020 legislative session between January 8 and March 7. The draft document lists a number of priorities Arlington leaders hope its state delegates and senators will also push during the 60-day period.
One priority is calling for Virginia to add $100 million to the state’s Housing Trust Fund in the budget for fiscal years 2020-2022 in a bid to solve the area’s persistent housing squeeze. The fund offers low-interest loans to offset developer’s costs when building affordable homes — a program Arlington’s Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) has pushed to increase funding to since founding it three years ago but failed when Republicans blocked the budget proposal this winter.
In addition to the public hearing, the County Board is also due to discuss legislative priorities during a work session with the county’s state representatives on Tuesday, December 3 from 3-5 p.m. in the Bozman Government Center in Courthouse (2100 Clarendon Blvd).
Increasing the state fund to $100 million would match Lopez’s recommendations. It also comes on the heels of Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol saying the county was “trying to fill a really big hole” when it came to funding local projects like the 160-unit affordable housing building on the site of the American Legion Post 139.
The Virginia Housing Trust Fund contributed $700,000 for that project — an amount dwarfed by the $13,000,000 loaned by the county’s own affordable housing fund to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH).
However, some experts warn that the shortage of affordable housing units could displace hundreds of thousands of D.C. area residents in the next 20 years, including some 20,000 Arlingtonians.
Lawmakers added $5.5 million in the last legislative session, upping the total amount to $9.5 million, reported the Washington Post.
Increasing the funds even more in the upcoming session would also make legislators’ incentive promise to Amazon to contribute at least $75 million towards affordable housing in Northern Virginia over the next five years a reality. Arlington and Alexandria have also pitched the Crystal City-area to Amazon by promising to spend $150 million on affordable housing over the next decade amid concerns that Amazon’s incoming workforce at its new headquarters could spike housing prices.
Amazon itself announced a $3 million donation to affordable housing in Arlington earlier this year, citing the fact the county has “fewer than 25 apartments dedicated for the lowest-income individuals and families who can live independently.”
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is scheduled to introduce his proposal for Virginia’s state budget for fiscal years 2020-2022 on December 17. The General Assembly will then deliberate on the budget during its January session.
Other proposed legislative priorities for Arlington include more state funding for Metro, more local tax authority, additional state funding for school, state funding for the Long Bridge rail project, drivers licenses for non-citizen, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and more leeway for localities to mandate tree preservation on private property.
In one of its first concrete votes under the Housing Arlington umbrella, the County Board will consider a proposal on November 16 to revise its incentive zoning program that gives developers additional density in exchange for community amenities, particularly affordable housing or community facilities.
Within this admirable proposal to increase density, however, is a small but troubling indication that County staff may not trust the market to deliver housing for middle-income households.
Currently, developers can earn up to 25% additional density and up to 6 additional stories by including affordable housing or a community facility in their project. The County staff wants to remove the 25% cap on bonus density, but also eliminate the option to earn additional height.
This means that the County Board could approve buildings with higher density, if the height fits the zoning district or applicable adopted plan. The goal is to encourage more affordable housing and community facilities through site plan developments, while maintaining the height maximums that neighborhoods have come to expect.
The decision to lift the cap on bonus density is laudable, but removing the option for bonus height will not give our land use policies the flexibility to meet current market conditions. Much of Arlington’s land is governed by outdated zoning codes that don’t recognize or accommodate the current housing crisis. This change would perpetuate the “grand bargain” that allows height in narrow Metro corridors but restricts it even in other transit-heavy neighborhoods.
Planning staff want their planning process to take the lead, but this can mean years of work, managed through a community process that over-represents the most affluent, housing-secure residents.
However, more concerning is the less-discussed component of this proposal to modify the definition of “low- to moderate-income” used to determine whether affordable housing in a site plan is eligibility for bonus density. Currently, a project can receive bonus density for housing that is affordable to households making 60% Area Median Income (AMI), or $72,000 for a family of four, for rental units and 80% AMI ($97,000/year) for ownership. Given the emphasis on “missing middle housing,” staff wants to loosen these definitions and explore offering bonus density to projects that offer ownership units affordable to households making up to 120% AMI ($140,000/year).
Arlington County clearly lacks affordable ownership housing for middle-income households, especially those seeking family-sized units. However, the County Board should not use incentive zoning to create housing for families making $100,000 to $140,000 per year. We should allow missing-middle options by-right and let the market provide housing for these relatively affluent households. When we use incentive zoning to achieve housing for higher-income people, we limit the opportunity to produce housing stock that assists lower-income households who are not served by the market.
Expanding the upper income range for zoning incentives tells me that the County may be unwilling to push for market reforms that would make this housing a regular development. Housing for middle-income families is not a gift that developers give us. We should permit the density and housing forms throughout the county that will make this housing profitable to build without any special encouragement. If we can’t get housing for 120% AMI without using these tools, then our zoning is wrong.
Jane Fiegen Green, an Arlington resident since 2015, proudly rents an apartment in Pentagon City with her husband and son. By day, she is the Development Director for Greater Greater Washington and by night she tries to navigate the Arlington Way. Opinions here are her own.
Windy Day on Tap — After a windy night, more gusty winds are expected today. The gusts are expected to reach up to 40 miles per hour locally. [Twitter]
Lions Club Seeks County Lot for Xmas Tree Sale — “Christmas is coming early for the South Arlington Lions Club. Arlington County Board members on Oct. 19 are expected to allow, for the second year in a row, the service organization to use county-government property on South Four Mile Run Drive for its annual Christmas-tree sale.” [InsideNova]
Local Affordable Housing Group Expanding — “A leading affordable housing nonprofit in Arlington County is expanding its operations into Montgomery County, another sign of a growing regional focus on preserving or producing homes that lower-earning residents can afford.” [Washington Post, Press Release]
Earthquake Drill Today — “Participate in the world’s largest earthquake drill [today] at 10:17 a.m… Go to the lowest floor of the building, drop to your hands/knees, cover your head w/your arm, and hold on to shelter.” [Twitter]
VDOT Studying Changes to Route 50 West of Arlington — “The Virginia Department of Transportation is holding a public information meeting Monday, Oct. 21 on a study of potential safety and operational improvements for three miles of Route 50 (Arlington Boulevard) between Jaguar Trail and Wilson Boulevard.” [VDOT]
A new push to redevelop the market-rate affordable Park Shirlington apartment complex in Fairlington will be the topic of a public meeting tonight.
Officials are holding a meeting Wednesday night on the future of the apartment complex at 4510 31st Street S., which has long been slated for redevelopment.
“Learn about the history and County goals of the site, proposed conceptual plans and how the review process will work,” event organizers wrote in a description of tonight’s meeting.
The 293-unit development is currently made up of low-rise apartment buildings built in 1956. Three years ago, the county lent $6 million to developer Standard Property Company and the National Foundation for Affordable Housing Solutions, which pledged to preserve the affordable housing units as the site awaited redevelopment.
The county’s loan expires in December 2020, after which the developers plan to build a mix of “a long-term affordable and mixed-income housing program” on the property, per the county’s website.
Tonight’s meeting will be held nearby at the Trades Center, in the Park Operations Building at 2700 S. Taylor Street, from 6:30-9 p.m. Attending the public meeting is free, but people are asked to RSVP online.
In the event description, officials noted that Spanish translations will be available during the meeting.
Previously, developer Home Properties planned to demolish the existing apartments, replacing them with five mid-rise buildings housing a combined 750 apartments. The project would have required special permission by county officials to exceed the allotted density for the lot, but the developer’s plans ultimately stalled.
The new developers have not yet submitted a site plan, per county records.
A substantial portion of Arlington’s Foxcroft Heights neighborhood is listed for sale for $11 million.
The properties between 901 and 925 S. Orme Street — a block-long row of brick houses bordering Columbia Pike and across from the Sheraton Pentagon City hotel — are touted in the listing as a “tear down” redevelopment opportunity.
It’s currently the most expensive real estate listing in Arlington.
The listing suggests the tiny neighborhood near the Air Force Memorial is primed for “integrated gentrification” with the planned reconfiguration of eastern Columbia Pike with the expansion of Arlington National Cemetery, not to mention Amazon’s nearby HQ2.
“The re-development of 901-925 Block can and will be simultaneous with the planned redevelopment and expansion of Arlington National Cemetery and the most eastern corridor of Columbia Pike, allowing for vast and integrated gentrification of the area,” the listing says. “It is an exceptional opportunity to revitalize and rebuild a part of Arlington County that has remained virtually forgotten for the past 50 years.”
The listing says that a developer should be able to build a five-story residential building, with up to 71 new units of housing, on the 0.75 acre site.
It’s unclear if any of the new apartment units would ultimately be designated as affordable housing, or what will happen to the current residents along Orme Street. Matt McMullan, the president of the Foxcroft Heights Civic Association, said the group has discussed the listing with residents “at a number of association meetings.”
“This is not the first time that gentrification has been broached with the neighborhood, and historically, residents have been divided on the topic,” said McMullan.
The listing’s real estate agent, Barbara Johnson, said she had no comment. The full listing is below.
Amazing opportunity to tear down and build 5-6 stories in prime Arlington County location! Foxcroft Heights is Arlington’s best kept secret, with a location one mile from the Pentagon Metro and Crystal City-Amazon HQ-2, and one stop light to the 14th Street Bridge. Incredible views of Arlington National Cemetery, USAF Memorial, the Capital and the Washington Monument starting on the 3rd floor. Lots & Alley Parcels comprise 32,427 square feet of buildable space. Yield Analysis and Pricing are based upon 5 floors with two levels of underground parking. Total Gross Building Area is 75,578 Square Feet, 71 units ranging 950-1200 square feet, 8814 Square Feet of Open Space, and 77 parking spaces. Commercial Mixed Use on first floor allowed, but Yield is based on Maximum Residential use under the Form Based Code. Call or email for complete package of materials. FYI: If timed correctly, the re-development of 901-925 Block can and will be simultaneous with the planned redevelopment and expansion of Arlington National Cemetery and the most eastern corridor of Columbia Pike, allowing for vast and integrated gentrification of the area. It is an exceptional opportunity to revitalize and rebuild a part of Arlington County that has remained virtually forgotten for the past 50 years.
Images (2-3) via Google Maps
A Ballston church is now one step closer to transforming into an affordable housing complex.
The Arlington County Board unanimously approved a proposal to allocate $3,082,319 to an all-affordable housing project in Ballston that would replace the current Central United Methodist Church building at 4201 N. Fairfax Drive with a new eight-story building and two-story underground parking garage.
Plans of the project include 144 housing units, a number the church raised in July from its original proposal of 119 units. The majority of the planned units are two-bedroom apartments. The building designs also include a new church space with 200 seats, a daycare for 100 children, a pre-school, and office space for a charity.
The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) is developing the property for the church after taking over the project from another developer, the Bozzuto Group. The head of organization said she was “thrilled” to hear that the project was moving forward.
“This is an extraordinary project that will include a new worship space for the church, the return of Kinhaven Preschool, and 144 affordable apartments,” said APAH President and CEO Nina Janopaul said today (Monday.) “We are grateful to the County for its commitment to Arlington’s low-income residents.”
The $3 million funding is the same amount the Board approved for when the church initially proposed setting aside only certain number of units (48) as affordable in 2017, before later deciding to build only affordable units.
With an estimated 20,000 Arlington households at risk of displacement, leaders have recently launched programs, studied zoning changes, regional partnerships, and faced political heat as they’ve struggled to slow the loss of affordable housing stock.
The Board’s approach allows the the county to loan $3 million to the project via its Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF). The same funding mechanism is used for affordable housing projects countywide, including the nearby American Legion redevelopment in Virginia Square.
The Ballston project’s overall financing, including funding from the state, is likely to take another six months to finalize, meaning construction would not begin until after July 2020. In total, the construction is expected to take two years with units on the market by fall 2022.
Previously, some criticized the plan for its potential to disturb the historic Robert Ball Sr. Family Burial Ground underneath the site. (Not to be confused with the Ball Family Burial Grounds on N. Kirkwood Street which also faced uncertainty amid the Virginia Square redevelopments)
Others flagged design issues with the Ballston project’s parking and open space requirements.
The County Board gave its blessing for the overall project in 2017 after designs preserved a portion the cemetery, and an attorney representing the church’s nonprofit leading the development said that crews would examine the site and exhume, examine, and re-inter any remains discovered.
(Updated on 9/11/19) The D.C. area needs 374,000 new homes in the region to keep up with population growth and prevent a Bay Area-like increase in housing prices, according to a new report.
Local leaders will vote on a resolution expanding their housing goals at the next Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) meeting in D.C. on Wednesday, September 11. The vote comes after the Urban Institute’s 130-page report on the region’s housing needs, which predicts 220,000 families could be at risk of displacement if the goals are not met.
Senior Research Associate Leah Hendey, one of the report’s authors, said there exists a “window of opportunity available right now” for leaders to fix the housing unit shortage before it displaces more residents and makes business difficult.
In Arlington, the study noted 20,000 households may be at risk of displacement. Rising housing prices in the wake of Amazon’s arrival combined with the county’s dwindling stock has long worried advocates that lower-income residents could be pushed out.
“The arrival of new businesses, jobs, and residents could intensify today’s housing challenges unless the region’s leaders come together to address them,” noted the report.
“Overall 29% of Arlington residents are cost-burdened,” Hendey told ARLnow today (Friday). “So they’re paying more than 30% of income.”
However, the report also found that many renters could afford higher rents, but chose to live in lower-rent housing units — which likely further exacerbated the affordable housing squeeze for those at lower income levels.
“That didn’t really surprise us,” said Hendey. “People want to minimize their housing costs so they have money for other things.”
The Urban Institute’s data indicates that Arlington would need 9,700 more housing units renting at under $800 a month, and 4,100 units under $1,300 a month, to meet its needs. On the other hand, the report pointed to a surplus in higher-end units: 18,600 more units than needed in the units in the range of $1,300-$3,500 or more a month.
Henley summarized the report’s recommendations for meeting affordable housing needs as a “three-prong framework” to focuses on preserving existing stock, producing more of the right kind, and protecting renter and buyers from displacement.
The authors recommend not just ramping up construction of additional housing stock, but also finding ways to streamline permitting processes and make use of public land and vacant lots.
The report also recommends allowing more multi-family projects on properties zoned for single-family housing, through the use of accessory dwelling units. It found that 73% of Arlington’s residential space is zoned for single-family houses, which is lower than D.C.’s 80%, and Fairfax County’s 95%.
The report itself was funded with grants from the Greater Washington Partnership and JPMorgan Chase.
Earlier this month, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair at Large Phyllis Randall remarked that area residents needed to start understanding affordable housing as meaning suitable housing for the elderly, people with disabilities, and debt-ridden college graduates.
“I want them in the area,” Randall said of her children seeking housing they could afford. “Not in my basement.”
“I think that people view the word affordable housing as only for poor people, or of people with extremely low incomes, but I think that everyone need housing that is suitable for them.” Henley said. “We need the housing market to work for everyone.”
Graph via Urban Institute
The majority of local leaders agree that Northern Virginia needs more affordable housing and bus transit — though they differ on the details.
Local leaders discussed issues ranging from housing to the area’s overall economic health during the Northern Virginia Regional Elected Leaders Summit co-hosted by several local chambers of commerce at George Mason University’s Arlington campus earlier today (Monday).
Arlington Board Chair Christian Dorsey said he was working with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to develop a “policy overlay” to help guide affordable housing across the region.
“We have one,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. “It’s just entirely not deliberate, not coordinated, and not successful.”
Wilson and Dorsey both said that each jurisdiction has its own issues — like zoning for accessory dwelling units — but a guiding document could help align governments’ goals to fill the region’s growing housing need. One problem leaders believe is better solved together is how to build affordable housing that’s accessible to public transportation.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Penelope Gross said the skyrocketing price of housing near Metro stations bars the people who most need access to Metro from living nearby. Dorsey agreed that building affordable, transit-accessible housing was an important regional priority, and a better idea than building housing away from transit.
“We can’t just continue to grow housing and then try and build the supports with transportation infrastructure to meet where we built the housing,” said Dorsey. “That’s stupid.”
Phyllis Randall, Chair at Large of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, said she has tried to explain to constituents with kids that the people who benefit from affordable housing includes recent college graduates.
“I want them in the area,” she joked of her own children. “Not in my basement.”
Outgoing Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart, the only Republican on the stage Monday, was also the lone dissenter in that conversation. He pointed out that Prince William held a “disproportionate” share of affordable housing in the region, but still could not build enough because of restrictions on breaking up large, multi-acre lots that local leaders refused to amend.
“We need to let the private sector solve this problem,” he said.
Metro, Buses, and Shutdowns
Dorsey, who also sits on the WMATA Board of Directors, told the audience that the transit agency expects to conclude its Blue and Yellow line shutdown in Alexandria on time. That was welcome news for Alexandria’s leaders.
“It has been a difficult summer,” noted Wilson, who said that the silver lining of businesses hit hard by the shutdown is that more residents have been using the public bus system than ever.
Due to growing ridership this summer, the mayor announced Alexandria will extend its water taxi service to the Wharf through the December. The water, he said, was the region’s largest “untapped resource” when it came to transit development.
Gross and Dorsey both echoed support for more bus transit to help move more people and alleviate the region’s traffic woes, with Dorsey saying he wants “to see the attention to Metro’s buses that is paid to rail.”
Local affordable housing non-profit Wesley Housing Development Corporation is staffing up as it prepares to take on more projects.
“We’re at about 100 employees in total,” said the nonprofit’s President Shelley Murphy. “This time last year we were about 80ish.”
Most of those employees have been added to the nonprofit’s property management team, which manages buildings throughout Northern Virginia. The rest of the new hires have been added to Wesley’s real estate department (around 10) and a housing stability team (3) that connects tenants with social services to help them stay housed.
One big project in Arlington that necessitated new hires was Wesley’s redevelopment of the Red Cross site at 4333 Arlington Boulevard in Buckingham. The planned mixed-income community, dubbed The Cadence, will feature 97 affordable apartments and 19 market-rate townhomes. Murphy expects to break ground on the project next year.
Recently, the nonprofit added a senior project manager and a senior construction manager to the Buckingham development, as well as a real estate development associate, per a press release earlier this month.
Previously, Wesley also developed a 12-story, mixed-rent rate Union on Queen building near Rosslyn.
Today, Murphy said Wesley owns 2,000 affordable housing units across the region, with about 690 units located in Arlington.
“By adding three new team members to the real estate development team, we will be well-equipped to continue addressing the affordable housing crisis in this region,” said Murphy in a statement.
While Wesley officials did not mention Amazon’s forthcoming HQ2 in Arlington as an impetus for its growth, the new headquarters is expected to exacerbate the county’s longstanding struggle to replenish its affordable housing stock.
Amazon announced last month that it would donate $3 million to local affordable housing and support services. Additionally, the tech and retail giant would match employee donations to local housing nonprofits — including Wesley — up to $5 million through the end of September.
When it comes to Amazon, Murphy acknowledged HQ2 speculation has raised property values and rents which could make her work more difficult. But overall, she said the company’s arrival portends good things for the county.
“The fact is that the 25,000 jobs that they’re adding over the course of 10 years are the same jobs that we lost with BRAC a few years ago,” she said, referring to the thousands of jobs Arlington lost due to Department of Defense restructuring that started in 2005.
In her opinion, the heated debates over Amazon’s potential to shrink Arlington’s affordable housing stock have been healthy for the community.
“All the sudden, our leadership is talking about it, they’re investing in it, there’s a regional conversation,” said Murphy, who commended the Arlington County Board for investing in housing projects and supporting a variety of affordable housing initiatives.