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Montgomery County Greenlights Development, Eliminates Residential Moratoria in New Growth and Infrastructure Policy

November 17, 2020

Every four years, the Montgomery County Council adopts an update to its policies governing growth, development, and the Montgomery County Planning Board’s administration of the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance which regulates the adequacy and timing of public facilities needed to support new development. This year’s update, adopted on November 16th, included a significant policy shift concerning residential development in the County.

Plagued intermittently by localized residential development moratoria, including where new housing is most desired from a smart growth perspective, the Council recognized the policy’s negative impact on the County’s unmet housing needs, including affordable housing, and eliminated moratoria County-wide as a growth control measure. The Council adopted other changes as well, including how public school demands will be measured, which are collectively intended to provide greater certainty and to remove barriers to private investment in the County.

Included among the changes:

  1. County neighborhoods will be classified into School Impact Areas, termed Infill or Turnover Areas, based on the area’s recent and anticipated growth to evaluate public school needs based on accurate student generation data;
  2. The “black box” of how school impacts are calculated and school needs determined will be opened to a more transparent process and methodology;
  3. Residential moratoria will be replaced with a tiered Utilization Premium Payment required of developers based on levels of school overutilization;
  4. Motor vehicle adequacy will no longer be tested in Metro Station and Purple Line Station Areas; and
  5. Bioscience facilities will be exempt from local area transportation review for the next four years.

The Council also approved a number of changes in its tax policy which include various incentives in desired growth and investment areas, credits and exemptions.

For more information on the Council’s actions, please contact Shulman Rogers Land Use attorneys, Todd Brown or Nancy Regelin.