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County Council: Eased Rules for Accessory Apartments, Disabled Hiring Bill Passes and More

Notable outcomes include eased regulations for accessory apartments, passing of the disabled hiring bill and evaluation of potential affordable housing locations.

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."

Read the full story on The Washington Examiner.

Read the full story on The Washington Post.

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:

  1. To make Montgomery County a model employer of qualified people with disabilities
  2. Help to reduce the high rate of unemployment among the severely disabled

Read the full story on The Gazette.

Council Approves Affordable Housing Assessment Bill

The Montgomery County Council passed a bill Tuesday to evaluate whether affordable housing can be added to new capital projects such as libraries or fire stations, BethesdaNow.com reported.

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.

Read the full story on BethesdaNow.com.

TaL February 07, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Glad to see that the Council continues to be dedicated to making the slum housing problem in Wheaton-Glenmont worse. Thank you!
Commentous February 07, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Actually, TaL, this won't really change a thing about Wheaton. We already have a ton of unenforced group homes, low income housing, and foreclosures/short sales (look at Realty Trac to see how Wheaton neighborhoods in the Highland school area compare to the areas south of the mall). This new regulation probably affects a small number of houses annually in the Wheaton area.
TaL February 08, 2013 at 01:15 AM
Oh, I know, I lived about 3 blocks North of Highland for the past 10 years.....Once the bottom fell out of the no-doc/sub-prime market things have gotten slightly better, but this just makes it easier to legalize what is already there. I already have 2 rooming houses on my block, and Code Enforcement cant do anything about it because Jose, Juan, Jesus, and Jorge are all "family" and entitled to pack the place to the rafters. I did catch them with a 2nd kitchen and entrance once and that got ripped out under the old laws, but they would just get a permit under the new one it seems.

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