Council Creates Program to Add Affordable Housing Units

In an effort to create more affordable housing in Montgomery County, councilmembers on Tuesday created a county payment in lieu of taxes abatement program. It enables the county to negotiate agreements with rental property owners to reduce property and other taxes if the property owner commits to providing housing that low-income residents can afford.

“There is a regional housing shortage. This county is becoming unaffordable,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer.

The County Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) exemption establishes a 100% payment in lieu of taxes for a housing development owned or controlled by the Housing Opportunities Commission or a nonprofit housing developer with at least half of the dwelling units affordable to households earning 60% or less of the area’s median income.

“This legislation is designed to bring more certainty about county support to affordable housing providers as well as help affordable housing providers successfully compete in a fast-moving market,” Riemer said in a news release. “With the legislation, mission-driven housing providers looking to buy a building will know that a share of their financing will be secure. The Purple Line corridor is a great example of a location where this could be especially helpful.”

According to council members, this law will provide assurance to those who want to purchase a property but are not positive they would receive county help to purchase it and then offer affordable units. Now, if a building comes on the market, a nonprofit would have the confidence to bid on it as quickly as a large building company, according to councilmembers.

“We must act aggressively to address the housing affordability crisis in our County and in our region,” Councilmember Andrew Friedson said in a news release. “Government alone cannot provide enough affordable housing to serve our residents’ needs. This measure builds on our partnerships with nonprofit affordable housing providers to add certainty and lower the costs of building new, quality affordable housing so more people can live in and be part of our community.”

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