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Montgomery County Planning Board Continues Work on Attainable Housing Strategies

October 11, 2021

At its October 7, 2021 meeting, the Planning Board held one of its final work sessions on attainable housing strategies for the County.  Over the past several months, the Planning Board and its staff have worked on new housing concepts to be included in a zoning text amendment for the Montgomery County Council’s consideration.  The Council had previously directed planning staff to review and analyze housing options in the County.

At Thursday’s work session, the Board endorsed concepts including a new optional method of development for attainable housing in certain single-family zoning classifications.  This form of development would allow increased density and a greater variety of building types, including duplex, triplex, quadplex, small apartment buildings (19 or fewer units), and a new type of housing called cottage court housing. Development under the new Attainable Housing Optional Method (AHOM) would require Planning Board approval of a site plan and would be subject to mandatory design guidelines to be adopted by the Planning Board.

The AHOM would be permitted in the R-90 and R-60 Zones abutting transportation corridors in the County that are planned for future Bus Rapid Transit service and along Connecticut Avenue and River Road inside the Beltway.  The BRT Corridors are:

  • Georgia Avenue
  • MD 355
  • New Hampshire Avenue
  • Old Georgetown Road (North Bethesda Transitway)
  • Randolph Road
  • University Boulevard
  • US 29
  • Veirs Mill Road

The proposed densities under AHOM would vary for each zone.  In the R-90 Zone, the proposed allowable density would be 9 units per acre.  In the R-60 Zone, the proposed density would be 12 units per acre.  Development will also be subject to an average unit size within the development of 1,500 square feet (Staff had recommended an average unit size of 1,200 square feet).  Individual units might be larger or smaller, but the average unit size must not exceed 1,500 square feet.  The purpose of this requirement is to assure smaller sized dwellings with, in theory, more attainable housing prices.

A link to the Planning Staff report can be found HERE.

The next Planning Board work session will be in early November, where staff will present a draft zoning text amendment which incorporates these concepts.


For more information about this issue, please contact Todd Brown at