Counties Call for Locally Applicable and Efficient Solutions to Affordable Housing Issues

On Tuesday, Leslie Knapp testified in front of the Environment & Transportation Committee in opposition to HB 1045 Land Use – Comprehensive Plans – Housing Element.

HB 1045 would require counties to address affordable housing issues in a new comprehensive plan element that is expensive, too specific, and too subject to short-term change to include in a plan. MACo believes that counties should be able to target these issues in a manner that is the most applicable and efficient for them.

From the MACo Testimony:

The bill’s requirement that counties include a “plan” to address the need for affordable housing and the impacts of gentrification is incompatible with the “big picture” nature of a comprehensive plan. It is a visionary document that sets the long-term growth and land use goals of a local government. The plan is general in nature and does not provide the level of detail found in a zoning ordinance, water and sewer plan, or similar document. The bill’s provisions are akin to these separate instruments.

Additionally, comprehensive plans are typically updated every 10 years and the update process is both costly and time-consuming. The bill would require a county to undertake an onerous amendment process to comply with the bill’s requirements. All counties currently address housing issues in a manner that works best for them.

For more on 2019 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.