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Press Releases - County Council

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 2, 2024

From the Offices of Council Vice President Stewart and Council President Friedson

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 2, 2024Today the Council approved a zoning measure sponsored by Council Vice President Kate Stewart and President Andrew Friedson that would allow the construction of multifamily housing on properties used for religious assembly or private educational institutions.  

“Today, we took a step forward to address our affordable housing crisis in the County,” said Council Vice President Stewart. “The FAITH ZTA provides a creative approach for faith-based institutions and private educational institutions to put their land to use to support their mission and the broader community, by removing barriers and facilitating a quicker, less cumbersome process for them to build housing.  I am deeply grateful for the support of all my colleagues and to the residents and advocates who came together and worked to pass the FAITH ZTA.” 

Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 24-01, also known as the Facilitating Affordable Inclusive Transformational Housing (FAITH) ZTA, will remove barriers to the creation of affordable housing and provide reasonable flexibility in the development standards for multi-unit and townhouse living on properties associated with faith and educational institutions.  

“This ZTA allows us to partner with our county’s faith institutions in a new way, providing new tools for mission-based institutions to fulfill mission-based work,” said Council President Friedson. “We can’t combat the housing crisis alone; we need everyone at the table rolling up their sleeves. This measure will allow faith-based and educational institutions to live their values by supporting and building affordable housing on land they already own and control. It’s a win for congregations and it’s a win for affordable housing.” 

Projects will qualify under the FAITH ZTA if dwelling units meet one of five affordability thresholds defined in the zoning measure. These projects will be reviewed as a conditional use by the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings. 

"We are called to build what Martin Luther King, Jr. called a “beloved community” where everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger, and hate. Religious communities of faith are equipped to participate in building such communities. AIM supports the FAITH ZTA because it expands our tools to serve all communities in the county." 

AIM is a broad-based collective of local communities encompassing elementary school parent groups and faith institutions. 

“Habitat for Humanity is grateful to lead sponsors Council President Friedson and Vice President Stewart and to the full Council for their support of the ZTA and their dedication to ensuring all Montgomery County residents are safely and affordable housed. This exciting ZTA facilitates partnership between mission minded groups and will allow us to provide more affordable housing in communities across the County,” said Sarah Reddinger, vice president of community development for Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland. 

"The FAITH ZTA provides faith communities another tool and opportunity to do the work we have always done; building beloved community by rising to the meet the most pressing challenges faced by our neighbors. More importantly, it opens up creative opportunities for those communities to address challenges like aging infrastructure, accessibility challenges, and environmentally unsafe buildings so that these vital services we are already providing our community aren't interrupted,” said Pastor Will Ed Green of the Silver Spring United Methodist Church. 

The FAITH ZTA received supportive testimony from housing advocates including Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland, Montgomery for All, Montgomery Housing Alliance; groups focused on older adults like AARP; faith institutions and organizations like AIM, and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. 

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Release ID: 24-122
Media Contact: Cindy Gibson 240-620-8571, Cecily Thorne 301-910-0610
Categories: Andrew Friedson, Kate Stewart