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Failure to Launch for Virginia’s Two-Family Zoning Bills

by Nena Perry-Brown

Last month, Virginia House Delegate Ibraheem S. Samirah filed two bills which would effectively end single-family zoning in the state. Barely a month later, those bills were rendered dead on arrival.

This morning, members of the state House's Land Use Subcommittee unanimously voted to shelve the bills, which were intended to facilitate development of "middle housing". 

House Bill 151 sought to permit one by-right detached or attached accessory dwelling unit (ADU) per single-family house, including guest houses, converted garages, basements, and attics. House Bill 152 sought to amend the state code to allow two residential units on any lot zoned for a single-family dwelling.

WAMU's Ally Schweitzer reports that Delegate Samirah plans to reintroduce the bills next session, and the potential remains for the Virginia Housing Commission to study the matter.

"The idea of legalizing middle housing is brand new to Virginia, and I know that with another year of organizing we can get it done," Delegate Samirah tweeted. "Today was not the end of our push to end exclusionary zoning, it was just the beginning!"

Oregon is currently the only state with a law on the books which enables by-right construction of a second housing unit on single-family lots. 

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/failure-to-launch-for-virginias-two-family-zoning-bills/16372