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Letter to the Council: This legislation does not match the direction our county should be headed

Dear Chair Ivey and Committee Members:

We are writing to express our strong opposition to CB-052-2023, which would seek to implement a two-year moratorium on townhome and townhome related developments in certain areas of the county.

Despite the best intentions of the Council to address issues of infrastructure concerns and attracting more retail businesses to the county, this proposal will do the opposite and deter investment in Prince Georges County. Banning townhomes removes an affordable housing option for many first-time home buyers, young buyers, and seniors who, are either looking for an entryway to homeownership while also building generational wealth or looking to downsize to a product requiring less upkeep. Limiting housing options will only exacerbate our housing crisis.

In addition, it will not help the county achieve its smart growth and transit-oriented development goals, which include amenities and mixed-use development around metro stations. A mixed-use development that includes townhomes creates the density the Council is looking for to attract more commercial growth in the county.

Neighboring jurisdictions are moving away from “single-family only zoning,” to encourage more mixed development, including townhomes, to address “missing middle” housing. This legislation does not match the direction our county, ranked as a top economic hub in our state, should be heading in. Most recently in Virginia, a policy was enacted to create more options and affordability through creative zoning and incentive to build out their own “missing middle.” Townhomes, duplexes, and other multi-unit options are part of a critical continuum that creates affordability.

Moreover, limiting construction to only transit-oriented areas does not guarantee that builders and developers will opt to build around these areas. Building around transit areas is more expensive for builders and developers than in non-transit areas, and they are not incentivized to build in these areas. The higher price tag to build in these areas means that these homes will cost prospective buyers more money, making them less affordable.

For these reasons, we reiterate our opposition to CB-52-2023 and respectfully ask that we slow down the implementation to have further discussion on how we can work together to address sprawl and infrastructure concerns, while also continuing to meet the housing needs of residents, protecting our economy, and safekeeping our prosperous future.

Thank you for your work on this issue and for considering our request at such a pivotal time for our county.


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