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Local Housing Targets Project

In early 2018, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) noted the need to provide a sufficient supply of housing to reduce strains on the transportation system caused by workers commuting to jobs in the region from communities located beyond its boundaries. TPB analysis determined that additional housing in the region would significantly improve transportation system performance, particularly if those units were strategically located in Activity Centers and near High-Capacity Transit Stations.

As part of the initiative, local housing and planning directors worked together with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) to determine that the region needed an additional 75,000 units beyond what was forecasted by 2030 to address the region’s housing shortage. They focused on the amount, accessibility, and affordability of additional units needed.

The County Council is now seeking to refine the effort to identify local housing targets for smaller geographic areas in the county. Montgomery Planning will develop, with Planning Board and County Council input, new unit and affordable housing targets for 22 Planning Areas. This project is being developed in collaboration with the Planning, Housing and Parks Committee of the Montgomery County Council and Montgomery Planning.

About the Local Housing Targets project

The Local Housing Targets project allows both community members and countywide decision makers to better contextualize and understand the housing shortage at a more local level—and to drive strategies that help us meet the housing goals.

Like Washington, D.C., Montgomery Planning is now taking a deeper dive into the countywide housing target and looking at how to apply that target in different areas throughout the county, using 22 planning areas, Montgomery Planning will develop housing targets for smaller areas, for both new units and affordability.


To keep the effort simple, Montgomery Planning staff used metrics that have previously been created or used to guide or analyze county growth patterns. The resulting methodology involves an index focused on five factors: Thrive Montgomery 2050 Growth Area, Household Forecast, Zoned Residential Capacity, Activity Center Density, and a Premium factor.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 Growth Area

The concept of corridor-focused growth is a fundamental organizing element for Thrive Montgomery 2050, as it recognizes not only that intensively developed centers of activity and preservation of land both play a vital role in our quality of life but that neither pattern can exist without the other. Three growth contexts were identified in Thrive Montgomery 2050:

  • Corridor-Focused Growth. Encompasses the most developed part of the county with highest-density population; should have the highest share of new growth.
  • Limited Growth. Contains the mainly suburban residential communities where limited, organic growth is envisioned to meet localized needs for services, provide a diverse range of housing choices, and increase racial and socioeconomic integration to achieve Complete Communities.
  • Rural Areas and the Agricultural Reserve. Will continue to be dedicated primarily to agriculture, rural open space, and environmental preservation; can absorb some growth as agriculture evolves and existing residential communities’ needs change over time.

For this factor, the index targets growth within the Corridor-Focused Growth area with a smaller emphasis on the Limited Growth area.

Household Forecast

In June 2023, MWCOG adopted the Round 10.0 Cooperative Forecast. The forecast is based on an analysis of data from a variety of sources, including local development, population and economic trends, models of the region’s population and economic base, and published state and federal statistical resources. The new Montgomery County forecast is available for different time intervals between 2020 and 2050, and at a geographic scale that matches the Planning Areas used for the Local Housing Targets project. As such, index points were allocated to each Planning Area based on its share of the Round 10.0 2020 to 2030 household forecast.

Zoned Residential Capacity

As part of Thrive Montgomery 2050, Planning staff prepared a Residential Development Capacity analysis that estimates the total residential development that may be built in Montgomery County based on existing zoning and master plan recommendations. The analysis, which serves as a baseline estimate of current residential capacity in Montgomery County, also accounts for market trends, zoning rules and existing policy decisions. For the Local Housing Targets project, the analysis was updated to include recently completed master plans (like the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities plan) and used in the index to place an emphasis on areas where our master plans call for growth.

Activity Center Density

This factor relies on the Downtowns and Town Centers identified in the 2023 Pedestrian Master Plan, which are based on master plan visions, land use, and zoning. Downtowns are envisioned as Montgomery County’s highest intensity areas including central business districts and urban centers. Town Centers are similar to Downtowns but generally feature less intense development and cover a smaller geographic area.


The premium factor focuses on Planning Areas that have a high share of their land in a Corridor-Focused Growth area but have seen little recent housing growth. Planning areas that have more than 40 percent of their land in the Corridor-Focused Growth area but have built less than the county’s average density of new units since 2013 (excluding the Agricultural Reserve Planning Area) received additional points in the index calculation.

Transit Quality

This factor measures the quality of planned transit service. It tallies the area in each Planning Area within one-half mile of each Metrorail, light rail, and bus rapid transit station and applies a weighted value to each station type, with Metrorail stations receiving the highest index points and bus rapid transit stations receiving the fewest points.

Pipeline Contribution

This factor captures the potential impact of the current unbuilt pipeline to contribute to 2030 housing targets. It reflects the share of the housing pipeline that was built or permitted in the preceding six years.

Next steps

  • Council resolution adopting the local housing targets.
  • Ongoing discussions, including with community and industry stakeholders, on how to best achieve the local targets.
  • Incorporate local targets in master planning and policymaking efforts.

Sign up for the Montgomery Planning Housing eletter to get the latest on this project and other housing policies.

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • November 2019
    The Montgomery County Council signed on to MWCOG’s housing goals through a resolution that called on the county (including the cities of Gaithersburg and Rockville) to increase its share of housing built by 10,000 above the forecasted amount of 31,000 household units.
  • March 27, 2023
    Montgomery Planning staff presented to the Council’s Planning, Housing and Parks (PHP) Committee an overview of existing conditions Planning Areas in Montgomery County. View the Council staff report | Video
  • July 10, 2023
    Montgomery Planning staff presented to the Council’s PHP Committee on the proposed methodology to reach Local Housing Targets. View the Council staff report | Video
  • July 20, 2023
    Montgomery Panning staff presented to the Montgomery County Planning Board on the proposed methodology to reach Local Housing Targets. Staff report | Video
  • March 13, 2024
    Montgomery Planning staff presented an update on Local Housing Targets to the PHP Committee. Staff Report
  • June 6, 2024