To the editor:
In the most recent “City Hall Watch” column, the author takes a divisive and off-the-mark approach of characterizing the Zoning for Housing debate as one between “long-term residents” and of “special interests” and “activists.” It appears that any residents in support of zoning changes to improve housing availability and affordability must belong to some outside activist group or be “young adult newcomers.” This is obviously not the case.
The author would be surprised to meet me – and thousands of other long-time residents and homeowners well above age 40 – who want more affordable housing in our neighborhoods, right where we live, and who reject the status quo of city-wide divisions along income and racial lines.
I wholeheartedly support Zoning for Housing/Housing for All because doing away with single family-only zoning will help ensure that the pernicious legacy of redlining, here and in countless other zip codes across the country, no longer needs to be a barrier for achieving socioeconomic diversity. Less expensive housing in our wonderful city will enhance life for our residents, not cause harm.
I’ve been a resident here for more than 13 years and a homeowner for more than half that. My one school-age child is in public school. I’m also on the steering committee of Grassroots Alexandria, a homegrown group of long-time city residents. I’d like to note that we have an annual budget of zero and receive zero outside funding. We drive the agenda ourselves. We are not a “special interest.” Voices of all residents matter, not just those of “long-term residents.”
If, like me, you support expanding housing opportunities, please make your voice heard before the November 28 Council vote. If you reject the proposed changes, but support improving housing availability and affordability in Alexandria, then I ask – what are your solutions?
-Kevin Brady, committee member, Grassroots Alexandria