DHCD Reports on Local Government Fee Waivers for Affordable Housing

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has released a report detailing the efforts of local governments to waive or reduce building permit and impact fees for lower income housing projects.  House Bill 742/Senate Bill 281 of 2008 authorized or clarified the authority of local governments to waive or modify building permit, construction, impact, and rehabilitation fees for affordable housing projects.  The bills also required DHCD to report to the General Assembly by October 1, 2010 on which local governments exercised this authority.  The bill provisions sunset on September 30, 2011.

 DHCD conducted two surveys, one for local governments and one for affordable housing developers.  The local government survey was emailed to each county and the 10 largest municiplaities.  Sixteen local governments responded.

 The two surveys identified that ten local governments have waived fees for projects since 2008, five local governments have variations of fee waiver authority in place, and two local governments are currently considering local fee waiver authority.

The local governments that have waived fees for projects are Cecil, Kent, Calvert, Anne Arundel, Talbot and Somerset Counties as well as the Cities of Baltimore, Cumberland, Westminster, and Princess Anne. Though projects were not identified, Montgomery County waives impact fees for Moderately Priced Dwelling Units as well as certain other affordable housing units. In addition, the City of Laurel and the City of Salisbury have authority in place to waive fees but have not had affordable housing projects come forward to date. The City of Hagerstown identified that the City waives fees but only for government entities and Frederick County identified that it recently suspended a fee waiver program due to budgetary constraints. The program provided a 0% deferred loan for certain building fees.

Respondents from Harford County and Queen Anne’s County stated that they are considering adopting policies, programs, or procedures to waive building, permit or impact fees for lower income housing.

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