Council Overrides Veto of More Housing at Metrorail Stations Act

The County Council has overridden County Executive Marc Elrich’s veto of a bill that would exempt 100% of the property tax for a project built on property leased from WMATA at a Metro station in the county.

Bill 29-20, the “More Housing at Metrorail Stations Act,” which will take effect in January 2021, would apply to the construction of new high-rise development that includes at least 50% rental housing and be in effect for 15 years.

The bill, which was introduced by Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Andrew Friedson in July, was passed on October 6 with three amendments:

  • Requires that 25% of the moderately priced dwelling units be reserved for individuals with incomes at 50% or less of the area median income
  • Mandates that 25% of the workers on each project be county residents, and
  • Creates a Dec. 31, 2032 sunset date for the legislation.

Currently, WMATA does not pay property taxes on that land, though a property tax can be levied against a lessee using it for a private purpose. According to Metro, station properties in the county have the capacity to deliver at least 8,600 units of housing.

Developers would continue to pay impact taxes, and residents living in the housing would pay personal income taxes.

“Montgomery County has a lot riding on getting high-rise development going at our Metro stations,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer in a council press release. “To fight climate change, this is exactly the kind of location where we should have as much housing as possible. To promote economic development, we need new housing and jobs around the station areas, and these high-rise buildings should help catalyze the market. Our housing market is not producing enough new housing and that is creating affordability problems for young and working families and putting rent pressure on market affordable housing. With the potential for more than 8,000 units of housing, these measures should help us take a big stride towards our regional housing goals.”

The Council’s veto override was passed by a 7-2 vote, with Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Large) and Council Vice President Tom Hucker (D-District 5) voting no.

Screenshot of Councilmember Riemer from County Council YouTube recording of a July press conference introducing Bill 19-20

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