Proposed Zoning Measure Introduced to Promote Housing Near Transit Hubs

Courtesy @Andrew_Friedson on Twitter/X

From the Offices of Council Vice President Andrew Friedson, Councilmember Kristin Mink and Council President Evan Glass: “Montgomery County Council President Evan Glass, Vice President Andrew Friedson, and Councilmember Kristin Mink were joined by housing affordability and transit advocates today to announce the introduction of a zoning measure that would promote car-free living and the development of more affordable housing near transit hubs by reducing parking requirements.

“Montgomery County is experiencing a housing shortage, and we must adopt meaningful reforms to address this crisis,” Council President Evan Glass said. “According to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, it costs between $70,000 to $100,000 to build each underground parking space that is required for new development in our urban areas. Reducing parking near transit is a commonsense approach that will make housing more affordable, help us reach our housing goals, and move us toward a more sustainable, green future.”

If adopted, Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 23-10, Parking, Queuing and Loading – Calculation of Required Parking, would encourage the development of housing, including affordable units, near transit corridors and would help Montgomery County reach its climate goals by taking cars off the road.

“This commonsense reform abandons outdated, government imposed, one-size-fits-all policies of the past and embraces modern, market-based approaches to address our housing and climate goals,” said Council Vice President and Planning, Housing, and Parks Chair Friedson. “We shouldn’t impose unnecessary costs on desperately needed housing that contradicts our environmental goals and our interest in building more livable, walkable communities.”

The proposed zoning measure would eliminate parking requirements within a half-mile radius of a Metro and Purple Line station and within a quarter-mile radius of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations and generally amend sections of the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance as it relates to parking, queuing and loading of vehicles near transit.

“This bill does not take away existing parking. It simply allows future, transit-oriented residential construction to right-size parking – to include only the amount of parking the market actually needs, rather than a blanket government-imposed minimum,” Councilmember Mink said. “Minimum parking mandates are outdated policies that create wasted space, needlessly increase the cost of housing, incentivize increased car use and run counter to both our housing and climate goals.”

All Councilmembers have cosponsored the zoning measure. The full staff report can be viewed here. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 16, 2024.”

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