Multi-family study shows most apartments considered problems are 30-40 years old

Posted by Henry, on Wed September 18 2013 at 08:11 PM

In a companion to a single-family housing survey presented to the City Council in June, Arlington planners recently updated council members on the age, condition and location of the city’s multi-family housing stock.

Arlington residents’ pronounced aversion to apartments is perhaps a reaction to overbuilding in the 1970s and 1980s, when there were far fewer restrictions and development standards. Apartments built in that period are frequently cited by opponents of new multi-family housing – even in downtown and near-university areas where additional is a key to maintaining the business environment – as a reason to oppose any new multi-family construction anywhere. A majority of the city’s apartment complexes were built in that period.
While apartment development is concentrated in North and East Arlington, it exists to some extent all over the city. Units constructed after 1990 have higher quality materials, better maintenance and have been less of an objection than those built earlier.
A concern related to multi-family development was the number of housing vouchers – subsidies from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development managed by the city’s housing authority – distributed around the city. Recipients – the poor, disabled and elderly – receive a subsidy than can take to any landlord willing to accept the voucher for all or a portion of monthly rent. Almost 30 percent of the city’s 3,646 vouchers are for single-family housing, while the remaining 2,566 are for multi-family housing. Almost half of all vouchers for any kind of housing are currently issued to disabled or elderly residents, according to the city’s housing authority.
The full presentation is posted on the chamber’s web site at

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