Owners of property near Metro stations zoned for single-family homes only would be allowed to build other types of residential housing under legislation introduced yesterday by Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Large).
Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-07, R-60 Zone – Uses and Standards “would allow owners of R-60 zoned property located within 1 mile of a Metrorail station to build duplexes, townhouses, and multi-family structures within the current R-60 lot coverage, building height, setbacks, minimum lot size, and minimum parking requirements,” according to the council staff report.
The ZTA would only apply to lots less than 25,000 square feet and would not regulate the number of units that could be built.
In addition, the amendment would eliminate infill lot coverage limits for projects on R-60 lots, currently 35%, within ½ mile of a Metro station, along with reducing the parking requirements for such projects.
“We know that we have significant affordable housing challenges here in Montgomery County, in the region, in the state,” Jawando said in a press conference about the ZTA.
The change would allow for what is often called “missing middle housing” to be built on these lots.
“MMH is typically a two- to four-story multi-unit housing. It includes a variety of structure types, such as smaller townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, quadraplexes, or small apartment buildings that are in walkable, transit-accessible neighborhoods,” the staff report reads.
Jawando also cited recent reports of significant increases in housing prices when discussing the ZTA.
“[Rising prices are] another example of why we need significant and many different solutions to the challenges that we’re seeing, to make sure that all of our residents have access to safe, environmentally friendly, affordable and transit-oriented housing where they can get to their jobs and earn a living for their families,” Jawando said. “That’s what ‘More Housing for More People’ is about.”
The phrase Jawando used refers to the ZTA combined with another bill he introduced yesterday.
Bill 52-20 – Landlord-Tenant Relations – Protection Against Rent Gouging Near Transit “would set standards regarding rents charged within 1 mile of rail transit stations, and within 1⁄2 mile of bus rapid transit stations” with certain exceptions, according to the council staff report.
Landlords of regulated properties would be allowed to raise rents by an allowable amount once a year, or bank that increase for use in a future year.
“The combination of ZTA 20-07 and Bill 52-20 can provide a win-win situation for all: Tenants, landlords and the environment,” Jawando said in a press release. “If we truly want to provide “More Housing for More People” in Montgomery County, we must continue to look for innovative ways to increase affordable housing and the overall housing stock while protecting our renters from displacement.”
Council public hearings for both items are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Graphic from Councilmember Will Jawando