Howard County Council Holds Work Session on Affordable Housing

The Howard County Council held an affordable housing work session centered on a joint set of recommendations presented by The Columbia Downtown Housing Corp. and the Columbia developer Howard Hughes. The recommendations were endorsed by the county’s Housing Commission and included a range of affordable housing options as well as encouragement for the county council to explore increasing density and decreasing parking requirements for new developments.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

While the recommendations encourage the council to look at a bonus density as well as a decrease in the parking spots required to accompany new developments, both suggestions requested by Howard Hughes, Columbia Downtown Housing Corp. members didn’t take an official position on either of the topics, which they said were outside the realm of their expertise. The current cap for downtown development is set at 5,500 units; Howard Hughes has asked for an additional 1,030 units – all 180 of the section 8 voucher units plus 850 units, affordable and market rate, from the five tax credit projects proposed within the boundaries of downtown Columbia – to be exempt from that total. If the suggestion is adopted, downtown Columbia would grow by 6,350 units.

The developer is also hoping to decrease parking ratios for studio and one-bedroom apartments from 1.65 spaces per unit to 1.1 spaces per unit.

Carl DeLorenzo, policy director for County Executive Allan Kittleman, told council members that the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning is working on a fiscal impact study as well as taking a look at the parking ratio recommendations and an update to the people yield study, which determines the school accommodations that would be required based on population growth.

Overall, DeLorenzo said, the administration feels the recommendations will help “integrate Howard County’s workforce into this community.”

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun.