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Community invited to attend virtual event on the Montgomery County Planning Board’s Attainable Housing Strategies recommendations on December 13, 2021

December 9, 2021

Attainable Housing Strategies
Planning Board to hold next Attainable Housing Strategies work session on January 27, 2022

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is holding a virtual meeting to present the Montgomery County Planning Board’s Attainable Housing Strategies recommendations to the community on December 13, 2021 at 7 p.m. During the meeting, which will be held on Microsoft Teams Live, Montgomery Planning staff will also share next steps for the initiative, as well as hold a question-and-answer session via chat after the presentation. Advance registration is required.

Register for Community Meeting #4: Attainable Housing Strategies Planning Board Recommendations.

“The issue of diversifying our housing types and increasing housing choice continues to be critical to our county’s future,” said Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright. “The Planning Board and Planning staff have carefully considered a menu of options to provide to the Montgomery County Council to address this. I encourage all current and future county residents to attend our virtual meeting to learn about these recommendations.”

The Attainable Housing Strategies effort launched at the direction of the Montgomery County Council on March 4, 2021 to “consider zoning reforms that would allow greater opportunities for Missing Middle Housing in Montgomery County.” Since that time, Montgomery Planning staff have reviewed zoning and planning policies and conducted community outreach to come up with a comprehensive strategy for providing options for residents to find homes at the right sizes, locations, and price points for their needs in Montgomery County. During the Attainable Housing Strategies work sessions, Planning staff have presented their recommendations to the Planning Board on developing tools that can encourage the creation of a more diverse range of housing typologies.

The virtual event follows the Planning Board’s sixth Attainable Housing Strategies work session held on December 9, 2021. During the session, Montgomery Planning staff presented the draft Attainable Housing Strategies final report to the Board. The draft report includes a summary of the Board’s recommendations from previous work sessions, as well as technical appendices that provide further background on how the Board reached these decisions with Planning staff analysis.

The Planning Board will hold its seventh work session on January 27, 2022. This session will focus on the specific zoning modifications that would implement the recommendations identified in the report. This will be included as an additional appendix. Planning staff will also provide an appendix on how other jurisdictions have addressed similar efforts before the report is finalized.

Community members can watch the work session online via live stream on the Planning Board’s website. The community is invited to submit written comments to the Planning Board via email at mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.

The final report will be transmitted to the Montgomery County Council in early 2022 following final County Council action on Thrive Montgomery 2050.

About Attainable Housing Strategies

Attainable housing offers more diverse types of housing beyond single-family homes and large apartment buildings. This effort includes Missing Middle Housing, which refers to a range of building types that are compatible in scale, form, and construction with single-family homes, but offer multiple housing units. Attainability in housing is the ability of households of various incomes and sizes to obtain housing that is suitable for their needs and affordable to them.

As noted in Montgomery Planning’s recent Montgomery County Housing Needs Assessment, county residents have a wide range of housing needs related to size, transit access, and price, yet almost half of the homes in Montgomery County are single-family houses. The Attainable Housing Strategies initiative aims to identify viable housing options for existing and new residents at the right size, location, and price point for their needs. This is critical as Montgomery County will need to increase its housing supply to meet the demand of an estimated 200,000 more residents by 2045.

Strategies to implement Missing Middle Housing are a major part of this effort, as are opportunities for new housing around transit stations, within transit corridors, and near activity centers across the county. The Attainable Housing Strategies effort, as part of Montgomery Planning’s Equity Agenda for Planning initiative, also helps to create more equitable, mixed-income communities. More details on the Attainable Housing Strategies initiative, including Frequently Asked Questions, can be found on Montgomery Planning’s website.

Graphic showing housing scales.Small scale: House-scale duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, accessory dwelling units 2-2.5 stories. Medium scale: Stacked flats apartment buildings (three stories), townhouses 3-4 stories. Large scale: Mixed-use Live/work buildings, stacked flats, small apartment buildings (four stories) 4-5 stories

To inform development of recommendations, Montgomery Planning provided the community with multiple opportunities to provide feedback. Videos and presentations from three community meetings and four Housing Equity Advisory Team (HEAT) stakeholder meetings are available on the Attainable Housing Strategies initiative website. Montgomery Planning also provided office hours on April 9, April 27 and on June 3, held a Twitter “Housing Day” on June 14 and ran a social media campaign requesting community members to share their #MyMoCoHome stories. Additionally, Montgomery Planning staff have met with several community and other organizations to discuss the Attainable Housing Strategies initiative.

About the Equity Agenda for Planning

Montgomery Planning recognizes and acknowledges the role that our plans and policies have played in creating and perpetuating racial inequity in Montgomery County. We are committed to transforming the way we work as we seek to address, mitigate, and eliminate inequities from the past and develop planning solutions to create equitable communities in the future. While it will take time to fully develop a new methodology for equity in the planning process, we cannot delay applying an equity lens to our work. Efforts to date include

  • Developing an Equity Agenda for Planning. The Planning Board approved Equity in Master Planning Framework, and staff is working on action items.
  • Prioritizing equity in Thrive Montgomery 2050. Community Equity is one of the three priority areas of our county General Plan update, Thrive Montgomery 2050.
  • Focusing on equity in upcoming plans. Equity is a central focus of the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan, the first master plan to launch since Montgomery County’s Racial Equity & Social Justice Act passed. All upcoming plans and studies will have an equity focus.
  • Created an Equity Focus Areas mapping tool and developing a Community Equity Index. Equity Focus Areas in Montgomery County have high concentrations of lower-income people of color, who may also speak English less than very well. Montgomery Planning developed this data-driven tool to identify and map these areas to assess potential racial and social inequities and produce master plans that will foster more equitable outcomes for communities in Montgomery County. The Community Equity Index will expand on the previous Equity Focus Area analysis, creating a more robust, diagnostic tool providing additional detail of critically selected neighborhood characteristics relevant for equity analysis countywide.
  • Viewing management and operations through an equity lens. Our efforts are not limited to the master planning process. Management and operational functions like communications and human resources are developing approaches, tools, plans, and training to ensure that we look at everything through an equity lens.