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Zoning Changes Would Allow Transit-Oriented Multi-Family Development in Montgomery County

Montgomery County, Maryland wants to put its zoning where its transit is—it's just the latest in a string of transit-oriented land use reforms for the famously suburban county.
December 9, 2020, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Bethesda, Maryland in Montgomery County.
Jon Bilous

"Two new [Montgomery County] bills would allow multifamily housing near Metro stations and protect renters in transit areas from price gouging," reports Briana Adhikusuma.

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando is expected to propose zoning change to "allow multifamily housing on R-60-zoned residential property within a mile of a Metrorail station," according to Adhikusuma.

"The structures would have to be within the building height, lot coverage, setbacks, minimum lot size and minimum parking requirements allowed in an R-60 zone."

Moreover, additional flexibility will be offered within a half-mile of transit stations, including Missing Middle Housing options, according to the article. Jawando is calling the effort the "More Housing for More People" initiative. The Silver Spring Downtown Plan, as discussed in public hearings in the county during June of this year, also calls for Missing Middle Housing.

More Housing for More People would realign Montgomery County relative to the transit-oriented development incentives found in the counties around Washington, D.C. The effort is just the latest attempt at land use reform in the county. In October, the county council approved a tax incentive for high-rise developments on Metro station properties. In August of this year, the county ended a development moratorium, and in .

In addition to the zoning changes, Jawando is offering additional legislation "to protect renters against rent gouging in transit areas," reports Adhikusuma. More details on that legislation can be found in the source article.

Planetizen shared news this week of Montgomery County's work on a new general plan, called Thrive Montgomery 2050, which, still in early planning stages, calls for more priority on housing supply and Missing Middle Housing as affordability tools in addition to a new approach to the integration of land use and transportation planning.

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Published on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 in Bethesda Magazine
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