Missing Middle Housing Study


July 2023 Update

Expanded Housing Option (EHO) Development will be available starting Saturday, July 1, when EHO Permit applications launch in Permit Arlington. 

In March, the Arlington County Board adopted Zoning Ordinance and General Land Use Plan amendments associated with the Missing Middle Housing Study. The amendments allow for EHO development of up to 4-6 units per residential lot—if certain conditions are met. As of July 1, 2023, EHO development is permitted in R-5, R-6, R-8, R-10 and R-20 zoning districts. The adoption also caps annual EHO permits at 58, distributed by zoning district.

To coincide with the launch of EHO permits, the County has created a new webpage with information on EHO development standards and how to apply for a permit, as well as frequently asked questions, a permit tracker, and resources for both homeowners and potential applicants. 

Learn More

Phase 3

Update: On March 22, 2023, the Arlington County Board adopted expanded housing options:
     Read the news release
     View Highlights of the Adopted Amendments to Expand Housing Options(PDF, 97KB)
     Read the approved zoning text
     Read the staff report for the March 18 County Board meeting

In 2020, the County began its Missing Middle Housing Study (MMHS) to explore how new housing types could address Arlington’s shortfall in housing supply. After two years of public engagement, the MMHS has reached its third phase

From September to October 2022, the Arlington County Board hosted 3 Information Sessions (Housing Development and EconomicsHistory and Future of Housing Zoning and Policy, and Planning and Growth) and 20 Community Conversations regarding Missing Middle Housing(PDF, 420KB). Participants had the opportunity to learn, listen, reflect, and share their perspectives with County Board members and neighbors to inform the MMHS process. During each session, comprehensive notes were taken without attribution to any of the participants. View the notes

The Planning Commission's Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) and Zoning Committee (ZOCO) reviewed draft zoning text and General Land Use Plan amendments in the fall of 2022. This review process resulted in many changes and new options, leading up to public hearings with the Planning Commission and County Board on a request to advertise in December and January.

On January 25, the County Board authorized public hearings to be held in March on proposed Zoning Ordinance and General Land Use Plan amendments. The advertisement sets the parameters for what the Board can consider in March. 

Following public hearings on March 6 and 8, the Planning Commission recommended adoption of the proposed Zoning Ordinance and General Land Use Plan amendments. The County Board held a public hearing on March 18.

Phase 1

During Phase 1 (Oct. 2020 – Fall 2021) of the Missing Middle Housing Study, the study team relied on community engagement to identify priorities and concerns related to expanding housing supply and choice in Arlington and to determine housing types to study in Phase 2.

Community engagement took the forms of an online kick-off event, a virtual dialogue on the study’s Research Compendium, a virtual listening tour, and two online feedback opportunities.

View Expanding Housing Choice: The Missing Middle Housing Study Phase 1 Report



The Missing Middle Housing Study will explore how new housing types could help address Arlington’s shortfall in housing supply and gaps in housing choices. 

The study, which began in the Fall of 2020, is envisioned in three phases. Anticipated outcomes include:

  • A shared understanding of the problem
  • Options for County Board consideration
  • Policy/regulation changes to enable new housing types
  • Identification of issues for further study

The study is one element under the Housing Arlington Land Use Tools Initiative.

House with sketch of arrows with question mark between them

What does "missing middle" really mean?

“Missing middle” is a commonly-used term that refers to the range of housing types that fit between single-family detached homes and mid-to-high-rise apartment buildings. Examples include duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, and more.

Learn more.
hands sticking sticky notes on window

Process, Scope, & Timeline

View the scope, anticipated outcomes, and timeline for the study, and understand how they were developed and refined.

Learn more.


Community Partners

Community partners help to facilitate broader study participation through the use of their own communication networks.

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Housing impacts everyone. Join the study.

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All meeting materials, presentations, and other study documents will be posted to the project website.

View study documents.