The Montgomery County Council met Tuesday, Feb. 5. Notable outcomes from the meeting include changes in the process for adding an accessory apartment, more employment opportunities for disabled people, and considerations for affordable housing in county capital projects.
County Eases Rules for Accessory Apartments
The Montgomery County Council passed a zoning amendment and bill Tuesday that will make it easier for homeowners to add an accessory apartment to a single-family home, The Washington Examiner reported.
After almost 10 years of policy discussion, homeowners who want to add a small apartment for an aging parent, a caretaker or a renter can now do so in 90 to 110 days, versus a process that previously took a minimum of five to six months, The Washington Post reported.
Residents opposed to the change were concerned it might lead to overcrowding of neighborhood schools, according to The Washington Post, but "county officials said they believe most apartment occupants will be single adults who either can’t afford the region’s expensive housing market or who don’t want to maintain a home."
County Council Passes Disabled Hiring Bill
The Montgomery County Council "unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that requires the adoption of regulations permitting the noncompetitive appointment of a qualified person with a severe developmental, physical or psychological disability to a county merit position," The Gazette reported.
The bill, pushed by Councilman Phil Andrews, was designed with two purposes, according to The Gazette's report:
- To make Montgomery County a model employer of qualified people with disabilities
- Help to reduce the high rate of unemployment among the severely disabled
Council Approves Affordable Housing Assessment Bill
The bill, proposed by Councilman Roger Berliner, is meant to encourage the county to provide more affordable housing on its own land by pairing "new library facilities with three or four floors of affordable housing for seniors," according to the report.
Berliner cited an example in Alexandria, VA, in which a housing project was built atop a fire station.