Community meeting scheduled for June 2 on Attainable Housing Strategies initiative

May 27, 2021

Exterior two story brick house

Community members are invited to attend the virtual meeting where Montgomery Planning will present initial recommendations on helping to solve the county’s housing crisis

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), will host a virtual community meeting as part of the Attainable Housing Strategies initiative on Wednesday, June 2 at 7 p.m. The meeting will include a presentation of the preliminary recommendations on ideas and potential policies to help solve the county’s housing crisis, as well as an opportunity for attendees to ask questions. RSVPs are required for the community meeting. RSVP for the June 2 Attainable Housing Strategies community meeting.

Initial Attainable Housing Strategies initiative recommendations include:

  • Allowing by right house-scale duplexes and triplexes in certain zones everywhere and quadplexes closer to transit if they conform to a pattern book. The pattern book will give guidance on massing, scale and design to ensure these housing types blend in among single family homes.
  • Creating a new optional method of development to encourage consolidation and development of duplexes, cottage courts, townhouses, and small multiplexes and apartments near transit, along our growth corridors, and near the county’s centers of activity.
  • Supporting more corridor-focused master plans to evaluate options to enable development of larger/higher density townhouses, stacked flats, and apartments along select growth corridors.

Review the short Attainable Housing Strategies initiative explainer in English and in Spanish.

After the June 2 community meeting, staff will work to refine these preliminary recommendations before presenting the recommendations to the Montgomery County Planning Board on June 24. The public will have the opportunity to provide comments to the Board at this time on this initiative. About Attainable Housing Strategies

The Attainable Housing Strategies effort was 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 has been reviewing zoning and planning policies and conducting 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. 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, fourplexes, courtyard apartments, bungalow courts, and 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 apartment buildings (four stories) 4-5 stories

To inform development of recommendations, Montgomery Planning is providing the community with multiple opportunities to provide feedback. Videos and presentations from previous community meetings and Housing Equity Advisory Team (HEAT) stakeholder meetings are available on the Attainable Housing Strategies Initiative website. In addition to the June 2 community meeting, Montgomery Planning is providing office hours on June 3, “Housing Day” on June 14 and the #MyMoCoHome stories social media campaign.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 and Attainable Housing Strategies

In April 2021, the Planning Board approved and transmitted to the County Council its draft of Thrive Montgomery 2050,the update to Montgomery County’s General Plan. The General Plan is the county’s long-range policy framework for guiding future land use and growth for the next 30 years.  The County Council is holding a public hearing on the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Planning Board Draft Plan on June 17 and 29. In many ways, Attainable Housing Strategies represents the first opportunity to implement elements of Thrive Montgomery 2050.  The Planning Board draft of Thrive Montgomery 2050 recommends policies and actions to support the production of more housing, including a wide range of housing types and sizes to meet diverse needs. These policies and actions include:

  • Expand opportunities to increase residential density, especially along major corridors and in locations where additional housing can assist in the development of Complete Communities.
  • Facilitate the development of a variety of housing types in every part of the county but especially in areas near transit, employment, and educational opportunities. Support creative housing options that promote racial and economic diversity in every neighborhood.

Next Steps on Attainable Housing Strategies

  • June 2, 2021 – The third and final virtual Attainable Housing Strategies community meeting will take place at 7 p.m. RSVP to attend.
  • June 3, 2021 – Montgomery Planning staff will hold virtual office hours where community members can sign up for a time slot to ask staff questions on the Attainable Housing Strategies initiative. RSVP to attend.
  • June 14, 2021 – Montgomery Planning will host “Housing Day” through a Twitter townhall with Housing Planner Lisa Govoni taking over @montgomeryplans. Join the conversation and give your comments on the county’s housing needs and opportunities.
  • June 24, 2021 – The Montgomery Planning Board will hold a virtual worksession, with comments from the public, on the Attainable Housing Strategies initiative. Sign up to testify 10 days before the meeting.
  • July 2021 – The Planning Board will potentially hold additional worksessions and transmit the recommendations to the Montgomery County Council.

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 on the Equity Agenda for Planning 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.
  • Equity Focus Area Analysis. Montgomery Planning identified and analyzed the Equity Focus Areas of the county and developed a mapping tool that will guide planning efforts to foster more equitable outcomes for communities in Montgomery County.
  • 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.
  • 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.