The bill, which would cover the entire state, doesn’t prohibit the construction of single-family homes, but would allow for more middle-housing such as cottages and duplexes.

A Virginia legislator wants his state to be the latest to take aim at single-family zoning to address the state’s growing housing crisis.

Ibraheem Samirah, a newly elected Virginia state delegate who represents Northern Virginia just west of Washington D.C., was part of a blue wave that gave Democrats control of both the legislative and executive branch of the state for the first time in more than two decades. Last week, Samirah introduced a bill that would allow development or redevelopment of zoned single-family homes into middle-housing residential units, commonly known as townhouses, cottages or duplexes.

“Such structures shall not require a special use permit or be subjected to any other local requirements beyond those imposed upon other authorized residential uses,” the bill reads. “Localities may regulate the siting, design and environmental standards of middle housing residential units, including setback requirements, provided that the regulations do not, individually or cumulatively, discourage the development of all middle housing types permitted through unreasonable costs or delay.”

The bill explicitly does not prohibit the construction of single-family dwellings in areas zoned to allow single-family dwellings, which Samirah took to Twitter to further explain.

Virginia is the latest state to follow the recent trend of allowing for the up-zoning of single-family homes as a way to increase the amount of available housing in an inventory-starved market. In August, Oregon passed a quartet of bills, including one that would eliminate single-family zoning in certain cities that met a designated population threshold.

In October, the Minneapolis City Council eliminated single-family zoning. 

Proponents of missing middle housing argue that it represents a more diverse range of home sizes and price points, which leads to greater affordability and neighborhoods that can accommodate greater diversity.

Email Patrick Kearns

Are you ready for what the industry holds in 2020? Inman Connect New York is your key to unlocking opportunity in a changing market. At Connect you will gain insight into the future, discover new strategies and network with real estate’s best and brightest to accelerate your business. Create your 2020 success story at Inman Connect New York, January 28-31, 2019.

Agenda | Speakers | Past Connect Videos

Thinking of bringing your team? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy tickets together. Contact us to find out more.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription