Montgomery Weighs Changes to Residential Construction Moratorium Policy

Yesterday, the Montgomery County Planning Department presented new policy recommendations to the County’s Planning Board that would relax most  residential housing moratoriums. 

In July of 2019, Montgomery County instituted a one-year residential development moratorium for areas in the county where schools had enrollments exceeding 120 percent of their capacity. The moratorium has affected roughly 60 square miles around nearly 30 schools. As the policy approaches its sunset, the Planning Department has submitted its recommendations to the Planning Board. Included in the recommendations is the creation of School Impact Areas, and the relaxation of moratoriums.

The new School Impact Areas:

Greenfield Impact Areas: Areas with increased student enrollment due largely to increased growth in predominantly new single-family housing.
Turnover Impact Areas: Areas where student enrollment growth is low, largely due to turnover of existing single-family housing.
Infill Impact Areas: Areas with increased growth of predominantly multi-family units, which generate few students on a per-housing-unit basis.

Under the proposed changes, residential development moratorium would only exist in Greenfield Impact Areas, and moratoriums in other areas would be lifted. The changes are an effort to recognize the regional differences within Montgomery County and update the county’s policy to address the housing supply need. According to the Department, many families with school age children move into already existing housing options, which a new housing development moratorium does not address.

From coverage in Bethesda Beat:

During a Planning Board meeting on Thursday, county planners said the current moratorium policy slows the county’s ability to fill its housing supply gap, impacts housing affordability, hinders economic development and does not solve school crowding problems.

The Planning Board will have a public hearing June 11 to discuss the changes. For more information and to sign-up to testify, visit the Planning Board’s page.

Useful Links:

Montgomery County Growth Policy Public Hearing Draft

Planning Board Briefed on Major Changes to County Growth Policy