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  • Writer's pictureWTOP News

DC area needs more housing. So why might Prince George’s Co. cap new permits next year?

A proposal is moving through the Prince George’s County Council that would limit residential building permits in 2024 — and more severely in areas beyond the Beltway and designated transit areas.

The resolution is being sponsored by Council Chair Thomas Dernoga and is backed by four other members of the Council. If approved, it would cap the number of new building permits that could be issued in 2024 at 2,800 dwelling units total. But 2,100 of them would have to be inside the Beltway, or within a mile of Interstates 95 and 495.

Dernoga said it’s about promoting “smart growth,” as the county’s Plan 2035 — passed in 2014 — intended.

“Even though that’s the policy, it has not been implemented,” Dernoga said. “Actually, we’ve been sprawling all over the place, which has put us behind in road construction — we’ve got road congestion all over the county. We’ve got fire stations we don’t have money to build, we have schools we don’t have money to build.”

He said his idea is similar to one that’s been used in Howard County for decades. But the building industry is raising alarms about this concept.

“That priority area that he’s mentioning, it is very challenging to build there,” said Lori Graf, who heads the Maryland Building Industry Association. “That’s the reason the numbers are somewhat low. Because we can’t build there. It’s very challenging. There’s a lot of added expenses.”

She said the county can do more to make it easier to build in those parts of the county, whether it’s reducing the amount of red tape that has to be cut in order to start building or reducing impact fees in those areas the way Montgomery County has.

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