I testified at a public hearing on February 26th in support of Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-01 that loosens the requirements for increasing the production of ADUs in Montgomery County.
Our county has large areas of single family detached zones with homes that are unaffordable to many. Oftentimes, restrictive zoning policies lead to segregated neighborhoods and schools. We believe that broadening ADU requirements is one small step to encourage more socio-economically integrated communities and help reduce the structural segregation in the county.
Like much of the United States, Montgomery County is facing a housing crisis. Finding healthy and affordable housing near jobs and transit is extremely difficult for many.
It is our belief that Habitat is in a unique position to help solve the affordable housing crisis by building accessory apartments, also known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). ADUs are separate apartments either within, attached to, or detached from a main unit. Think English basements, garage apartments, and small backyard cottages.
Habitat strongly supports Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-01 which was recently introduced to the Montgomery County Council. This ZTA would make it easier for homeowners to build ADUs should they choose to do so.
Habitat’s repair and weatherization program has helped hundreds of owner-occupied homeowners improve their quality of life and help reduce energy bills. Many of these homeowners could benefit from the extra income stream that an ADU would provide. Extra income would allow the homeowner to remain in their home and their neighborhood while providing funds to help maintain the property.
ADUs provide homeowners with more flexibility in how they utilize their own property as their family needs change. ADUs provide:
- More affordable yet separate housing for returning adult children or grandchildren
- More affordable yet separate housing for aging parents or grandparents
- More affordable yet separate housing for adults with disabilities
- More affordable yet separate housing for lower income families in need of homes
- Extra income for those who’ve lost a job or are on fixed income
- An opportunity for young families and millennials to purchase homes because of the additional income source
Moreover, ADUs provide many environmental, social and economic benefits to our community. ADUs have a relatively small environmental impact and are typically built around public transit. The new bill maintains lot coverage restrictions, limiting the size of any addition or backyard cottage so as to protect storm water management. ADUs also encourage multigenerational housing and socio-economically integrated communities.
Communities across the US and the World are embracing ADUs as an innovative and flexible way to increase housing stock while allowing homeowners to best utilize their own homes.
Zoning Text Amendment 19-01 would make it easier for homeowners to build ADUs in a thoughtful manner by:
- Allowing detached ADUs on lots less than 1 acre but still maintaining current lot coverage standards
- Allowing ADUs to be built with new homes or in homes newer than 5 years
- Eliminating minimum distance restrictions between ADUs
- Requiring 2 off-street parking spaces rather than 3
- Providing a waiver process on off-street parking spaces that allows for feedback from neighbors
- Keeping the owner occupancy requirement
- Keeping the restriction that no more than 2 unrelated adults can reside in the ADU
- Permitting only one ADU per property and disallowing any other rentals on property if an ADU is present
- Maintaining ban on short term rentals (AirBnB) for ADUs
Want more information? Check out some of the resources below.
Don’t want to fill out our form? You can email the council directly at County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov.
Thank you for your support and consideration.