Councilmembers Want Property Tax Exemptions for High-Rise Developers at Metro Stations

Left to right: Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Hans Riemer.

Montgomery County Councilmembers want high-rise housing at Metro stations.

Councilmember Hans Riemer held a press conference at the Forest Glen Metro Station Monday to discuss Bill 29-20, which would offer private developers payment and exempt them from property taxes for 15 years if they build high-rise buildings on Metro property. The housing must be at least eight stories high. 

“If there’s one place that we can all agree we want as much housing as possible, it is on top of a Metro station, and yet we’re not getting it,” Riemer said. 

“There is a regional housing shortage, and this is a solution that has regional potential. If you talk to WMATA, you will learn there is very little high-rise housing anywhere in the Metro system on top of stations.”

Riemer said Metro modeled out the housing potential for every station in Montgomery County, and projected that about 8,600 units could be built, including around 1,300 under county affordable programs. He said that most Metro stations are surrounded by surface parking lots and parking garages. 

“Do we want these sites to be places for parking or we want these sites to be places for people?” said Councilmember Andrew Friedson, who is co-leading the bill with Riemer. 

“Every Metro site is a gateway into the communities in which they’re located. And what do you see when you enter a gateway? Here you see a bunch of cars. How much better to see a lot of people? How much better to see activity? How much better to see the places where people live, where they recreate, where they socialize…?” he said. 

This bill will be introduced before the county council on Tuesday, and Riemer hopes it will pass early this fall.

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