Opponents of the effort to establish an Arlington County finance agency for low- and moderate-income housing said this week they are "appalled at the cynical disregard for the will of the voters."

A referendum seeking voter approval of a housing authority was defeated by a margin of nearly 11,000 votes in the November election.

Since then, several county board members and state legislators have said they will support legislation to create a housing finance agency when the Virginia General Assembly meets next month. The board and the legislative delegation have scheduled a public work session on proposals the legislators will take to Richmond, including measures to establish a housing finance agency and to extend the scope of Industrial Development Authority bonds for low- and moderate-income housing.

Arlington's stock of low- and moderate-income housing is dwindling rapidly because of deterioration and condominium conversions, say the finance agency proponents, who also say they want only to create an agency that could issue tax-exempt bonds to pay for housing. The agency would not be authorized to operate public housing, they said.

Opponents of the November referendum cited a fear of a large, bureaucratic housing authority that would build and operate public housing projects.

At a press conference this week, opponents calling themselves the Concerned Arlingtonians for Housing charged the county board with "blatant disregard for citizen participation."

The group charged that county board member Ellen Bozman, who asked county staff to explore ways to establish a housing finance mechanism, "is trying to get some form of a housing authority in through the back door."