On December 5, WDC President Fran Rothstein testified before the County Council in support of two bills that would increase the supply of stable, affordable housing in Montgomery County. Bill 34-17 would revise the County’s Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit program (MPDU) to allow the County Council to increase the MPDU requirement to 15 percent for developments of 20 or more units and to grow the Housing Initiative Fund, which the County uses to create affordable and low-income rental homes. Bill 38-17 would promote mixed-income neighborhoods by increasing the rental MPDU requirement to 15 percent in areas where the FARMS rate is 15 percent or less.
The Maryland State 2018 legislative session begins January 10, 2018. During this session, WDC’s Advocacy Committee will submit testimony in support of State bills that address WDC’s six priority Issue Areas: Aging, Affordable Housing, Children and Youth, Criminal Justice, Health, and Working Families.
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Testimony in Favor of County Bill 34-17
Housing – Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU) – Amendments
December 5, 2017
The Board of Directors of the Woman’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County strongly supports revisions to the moderately priced dwelling units (MPDU) program (enacted in 1973), as proposed by Bill 34-17. We urge you to vote in favor of this bill. We want to ensure that all Montgomery County families and individuals can secure affordable and adequate housing.
We support this bill because it would make the MPDU program more responsive to the needs of County residents, provide new housing opportunities, produce more homes for families and support a growing workforce. This bill would authorize the County Council to adjust the base requirement for MPDUs from 12.5% to 15% as part of a Master Plan approval for housing developments with 20 or more units at one location. This bill would require housing developments with less than 20 units to make a payment into the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF), which we support because proceeds from HIF add to the County’s ability to create affordable rental homes that are large enough for families and located where they are needed. This bill would also authorize the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) to calculate the MPDU obligation by square feet, if the result is more or better sized homes for low- and moderate-income residents.
These changes are needed to provide more housing for at-risk families and to replace the loss of existing affordable housing in the County. Although we would prefer the MPDU’s base requirement to be 15% throughout the County because the need is so great, this bill is an important step toward achieving this goal.
We support allowing certain developments to make a payment into the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF) instead of creating on-site MPDU’s if condominium fees are unaffordable, while requiring that the off-site location remain in the vicinity of the original development. We also support the bill’s provision that when the DHCA Director allows fewer or no MPDU’s to be built in a development with more than 20 but fewer than 50 units in one location, the applicant must make a payment to the HIF based on the square footage of MPDU units that would have been required. We also support this bill’s provisions that a tenant may remain in his/her MPDU for the lease term, notwithstanding a change in income eligibility, and that an MPDU purchaser may also retain ownership notwithstanding a change in income eligibility.