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SILVER SPRING, MD-The Montgomery County Council approved a new measure that will require developers to increase the number of units designated affordable housing in Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Grosvenor, White Flint, Twinbrook, Shady Grove, Glenmont, Wheaton, and Silver Spring–basically neighborhoods in which Metro Stations are located.

The measure, called the Workforce Housing Bill, sponsored by Councilman Steve Silverman, mandates that 10% of market-rate housing in areas near these stations must be work force housing. An estimated 2,500 affordable housing units are expected to be added over the next 20 to 30 years as a result of this program.

The new requirement of developers will apply to subdivisions of 35 or more units for a control period of 20 years for sale units and 99 years for rental units. These regulations are to be applied on top of the existing affordability housing requirements in Montgomery County, the Moderately Priced Dwelling Units Program, or MPDU. The difference between the two programs is that the MPDU is capped at a family income of $60,000. The new regulation expands that window to a family income of $110,000. “Basically it will require developers to set aside another 10% of units as affordable housing,” Silverman tells GlobeSt.com.

For instance, under the current regulations a developer must set aside 13 units in a 100-unit building as affordable housing. With these new regulations, assuming the development is in an affected zone, the developer will have to set aside another 9 units, specifically for the Workforce Housing Measure, or 22 units altogether. The measure is set to go into affect on Dec. 1. Silverman says that all pending projects in the affected areas have been grandfathered in.

Elizabeth Davison, director of Montgomery County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs, tells GlobeSt.com that execution of the new measure will be patterned after the MPDU program. “The planning commission will set the requirements and work out such issues as height and density.” Some parts of the bill, she says, give developers greater flexibility in these requirements as well as a decrease in the amount of greenspace required. She says the execution regulation draft will be completed by the end of the summer.

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