ROCKVILLE—On Oct. 15, Montgomery County Councilmember Evan Glass introduced legislation that would allow housing impact fees to be collected from newly rebuilt homes and for the funds to be donated to schools and affordable-housing initiatives.
The Housing Impact Fairness Act, which Glass introduced to the full council during a regular meeting of the county council, would ensure that teardown-home projects and renovations are included in county impact fees. The revenue generated from the fees would go toward increasing school capacity and offering more resources for affordable housing programs.
“(This) legislation will close the teardown loophole here in Montgomery County, so that all-new residential development contributes to our growing infrastructure needs,” Glass said in his opening remarks. “The Housing Impact Fairness Act will add an estimated $5.7 million in revenues for school construction and $4.3 million for our affordable housing initiatives every year.”
He explained that there is a record number of students currently enrolled in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), which is putting a burden on schools that are already aging and in need of repairs.
“At the same time, Montgomery County is facing an affordable housing crisis,” he said. “According to the Metropolitan Council of Governments, 23,100 units of affordable housing, low-income housing, will need to be built in Montgomery County over the next decade alone.”
Glass noted that the issue of affordable housing in the area has a big impact on young professionals who work in the area but cannot afford to live in it as well.
According to Glass’ office, Montgomery County has issued over 2,000 demolition permits of single-family homes since 2010, which do not contribute to impact fees collected on newly built homes. The Housing Impact Fairness Act would apply existing legislation to teardown projects.
“Had these fees been applied to the 2,000 homes that received demolition permits over the last decade the county would have brought in an estimated $100 million to help support our growing impact and infrastructure,” Glass said.
He explained that when housing units like apartments, townhouses and houses are built from the ground up, the impact of those units is assessed and then charged. However, homes that were torn down and then essentially rebuilt from the ground up are exempt from the impact fees.
He also noted that on average in Montgomery County, homes that are torn down were built in 1948 with 1,700 square feet and sell for $700,000.
“The new home that replaces it is approximately 4,200 square feet and sells for $1.75 million,” Glass said. “These are new homes with new pipes and new nails, new roofs and new foundations. There should be no confusion that newly rebuilt homes are in fact new and that they should be treated like all other new homes here in Montgomery County.”
Councilmember Will Jawando is currently a co-sponsor of the legislation.
“When we talk about affordable housing, we need to preserve, protect and expand more affordable units. So, this is important not only for the money it adds, but it’s also important for our school capacity,” he said. “This is about fairness; this is about all types of housing being treated fairly.”
Ali Daniels, math teacher at Eastern Middle School, explained that her school and others like it could really use the revenue from the Housing Impact Fairness Act to deal with issues like cockroaches, vermin and overcrowding.
“The teaching and learning conditions at my school are, frankly, unacceptable,” she said. “We would be able to move forward with our building’s reconstruction and provide over 1,000 students (in) over five different programs in our school the learning environment they deserve.”
According to Glass’ office, a public hearing on the new legislation is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.