On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the Baltimore Regional Fair Housing Group and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council sponsored a bus tour of housing created through local inclusionary zoning ordinances in Howard and Montgomery Counties. Organized by the Innovative Housing Institute, the tour featured local experts Stephanie Killian, who manages affordable housing programs for Montgomery County, Rob Goldman, executive director of the Montgomery Housing Partnership, and Kelly Cimino, who manages the Moderate Income Housing Unit program for Howard County. The tour was followed by a roundtable discussion over lunch where we were joined by Howard County Housing director Tom Carbo and state Delegate Stephen Lafferty.  Both will occur June 4, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, beginning and ending in Ellicott City.

The tour and discussion drew 24 people, including 11 representatives of four local governments in the region and 13 representatives of private housing and planning and nonprofit advocacy organizations.

Studies prepared by some of the nation’s most trusted institutions show that access to opportunity through a quality residential neighborhood is a primary driver in a family’s success. In addition, recent enforcement activity in the courts has emphasized the role of local zoning in meeting the duty to affirmatively further fair housing. Inclusionary zoning ordinances require the creation of affordable housing units as part of new market-rate development, compensating developers with additional development capacity or other mechanisms.

The group toured three examples of successful inclusionary housing programs in Central Maryland:

  • Solaire Metro Apartments: An apartment building in the new Ripley District next to the Silver Spring Metro Station with 295 apartment homes. 44 of the apartments (15% of the total) are Moderately Priced Dwelling Units.
  • Montgomery Housing Partnership MPDU Program: Montgomery Housing Partnership is a private developer that has created many rental and home ownership opportunities using the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) program. Our tour stopped by the Darcy Green Townhomes in Silver Spring.
  • Ellicott Crossing Townhomes: A homeownership community in Ellicott City that utilizes Howard County’s Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) program to allow residents making up to 80% of the area median income to purchase a home of their own. On the way to Ellicott Crossing we drove by Howard County rental communities with MIHU units: Orchard Meadows at North Ridge and the Alta at Regency Crest senior community.

After seeing these examples, we met at Howard County’s Roger Carter Community Center for a roundtable discussion of inclusionary zoning experiences and discussion of next steps. The Baltimore Regional Fair Housing Group will be scheduling a follow-up meeting to this tour as well as another tour in spring 2015.

Contact Dan Pontious, Housing Policy Coordinator with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, at dpontious@baltometro.org or 410-732-0500 x1055 with any questions or if you are interested in participating in follow-up events.

The Baltimore Regional Fair Housing Group thanks the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program grant that makes this tour possible.

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