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Council approves Councilmember Nancy Floreen’s legislation to increase the number of affordable homes in Montgomery County

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Councilmember Floreen says, “Bill 34-17 modernizes our MPDU program so it can provide even more affordable homes to meet our ongoing and growing demand”

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 25, 2018—On July 24 the County Council approved legislation introduced by Councilmember Nancy Floreen, Chair of the Planning Housing and Economic Development Committee, to increase the supply of affordable homes. This bill is the first effort in 13 years to update the County’s rules for the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) Program. Bill 34-17, Housing – Moderately Priced Dwelling Units – Amendments, adds tools to increase the number of homes that are affordable for families with moderate income.

The County’s MPDU law changed the housing landscape when it became law in 1974. However, the County’s development patterns and housing industry changed throughout the years. Councilmember Floreen’s bill adds needed flexibility to this landmark program to bring it in line with current needs.

Bill 34-17 makes several changes to the County’s MPDU law.  The legislation creates a new requirement for new housing developments between 11 and 19 homes to make a payment to the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF). It also broadens the authority of the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) to accept Housing Initiative Fund payments in lieu of including MPDUs in a development.

Experience has shown that the County can achieve more MPDUs, in certain circumstances, if affordable homes are provided in different locations. The funding can be used to strategically increase needed rental units in place of condominiums with unaffordable fees. Restrictions apply so that the off-site housing remains in the general vicinity of the original development. These new sources of revenue will support the County’s efforts to increase affordable units for the residents who need them the most.

Bill 34-17 would authorize the Director of DHCA to calculate the MPDU obligation by square feet, if the result is more homes or homes better sized to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income residents.

“We know and understand the increased demand for affordable homes within the County,” said Councilmember Floreen.  “Bill 34-17 modernizes our MPDU program so it can provide even more affordable homes to meet our ongoing and growing demand.”  

“As co-sponsor of the bill, I’m pleased with its passage today as our county needs to continue to improve and expand our supply of affordable housing while providing the flexibility needed to truly meet the various needs of our residents,” said Councilmember Craig Rice.

Bill 34-17 also removes obsolete provisions and provides several technical changes to the MPDU law. In addition, the legislation confirms the Council’s authority to increase the required percentage of MPDUs on a community by community basis during each master plan review.

Master plans guide development and land use in the County.  The Council reviews, revises and approves master plan recommendations made by the Planning Board.  Currently County law requires 12.5 percent of housing developments to be MPDUs, but, in some areas, the Council has determined that 15 percent is a more appropriate minimum requirement.

Councilmember Floreen’s bill contains many other provisions designed to update the MPDU program, make it more responsive to the needs of today’s residents and, most importantly, produce more homes for families.

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Release ID: 18-203
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926